INTERVIEW: David Johnson Wood
Original article and credits: Vents magazine
Hi David, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m doing great, thanks. We’ve just returned from Naxos, Greece. My team was leading a 60 hour Spartan Extreme Endurance Race at the birthplace of Zeus! Now we are preparing for our new global VOG (VIRTUS OUTDOOR GROUP) launch on Nov 10th at VOGstore.com.
After having enlisted in the Marine Corps and having studied philosophy and religion – how did you go from this to clothing design?
It’s truly been a divine journey. I was asked right at graduation from the University of Tennessee to do sensitive liaison work in SE Asia. This fell right in line with my background as an SRIG Marine (Surveillance Reconnaissance Intelligence Group), so I jumped at the opportunity and immediately moved to Hong Kong as my base of operations. Once on the ground and working through a plethora of diverse landscapes, I began sourcing and converting work. This put at the forefront of the newest tech in fabrics and craftsmanship. Fast forward 12 years in Hong Kong, and it’s been a platform to launch multiple companies from.
How did your tenure time on the Marines get to influence your passion for this?
I was deployed in every kind of terrain imaginable; the gear I was given was terrible; it added unneeded stress on an already tense environment. I’ve always wanted to improve the gear I was issued and create something that could be used by the warrior and extreme athlete alike.
How did you eventually come up with the idea for VOG (Virtus Outdoor Group)?
My partners and I designed VOG (Virtus Outdoor Group) for the elite warriors that needed fully functional gear that can be used on all-terrain, easily packable, silent, and made with the strongest materials. We also designed and patented our own digital camouflage for every landscape we’d served in.
VOG designs are for the military but also for athletes – which one actually came first? Did you see the market for one was a bit too niche, and that made you want to expand?
We started as a tactical company, but our love for the extreme endurance races and great outdoors quickly brought in a growing line. At the end of the day, we wanted to design fully functional gear that lives and breathes the adventure with you, like a kit to advance your experience.
How much of the technology of one do you tend to use on the other?
We treat our garments down to that molecular level, so the thread is fully treated before the construction of the garment even begins. This ensures that it’s treated and functional for life. All tech crosses over as we are all extreme athletes and need the same treatments for our evolutions.
What’s the testing process usually like?
We test the garments in-house on ourselves, pushing it to the extremes, and always test at redline. We work hand in hand with active-duty operators and extreme athletes to maintain integrity with everything we bring to the market. We also license our fabrics and camouflage to companies than align with our core values and mission.
How much of your own experience goes into the making and design of these products?
I was deployed in every environment as a MARINE. I’m also an extreme athlete, so my background and my team’s backgrounds are the authentic story of our brand. VIRTUS is Latin for Warrior Virtues, so we bring our honor and integrity into everything we do. Being a fully vertical company, we maintain that integrity from sourcing, manufacturing, design, marketing, and distribution.
What would you call the most challenging aspect of running a business as VOG?
The most challenging aspect is the ability to remain flexible with new demographics while staying focused on our core mission. Fortunately, we are partnered with warriors cut from the same cloth that share our values; hence, we are able to cross-pollinate and keep innovation at our forefront no matter the new demographic.
Where can people buy this? Is it available for everyone?
We launch in 32 countries this Nov 10th (Marine Corps Birthday) on VOGStore.com. You’ll also be able to purchase through a number of retailers and e-commerce platforms. Follow us on Instagram @virtus.outdoors .
What else is happening next in David Johnson Wood’s world?
I will be filming a series of extreme endurance evolutions called ‘The Path’ with my Navy Seal brother, Marc Lonergan Hertel, and traveling nonstop with VOG and our partners at Spartan Race (Spartan Extreme Endurance) Leading global endurance challenges called ‘The Agoge.’
David’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidj_wood/
Original article at https://ventsmagazine.com/2019/11/07/interview-david-johnson-wood/