Don’t know much about History….
The Bearclaw name actually started before opening up. Our founder moved to California in 1997 and experienced a 5.5 earthquake within a month. So, he started making furniture that wouldn’t get toppled with a little rocking around. He even put hand holds in the side of the book cases, but instead of just 4 little holes, he decorated them a bit and came up with the Bearclaw logo.
But a lucrative job in computers overshadowed dreams of a furniture company for several years. However, in early 2000, he’d find a new way to combine tinkering with his long love of fire. He was talked into spinning fire. Naturally he made all his own tools.
His first tool was a changeable wick staff (from practice to fire). But shortly afterwards had invented his own form of fire sword. (All too soon, he’d discover he was not the first to invent one) But several versions later, and a lot of requests from friends to make their tools, he was ready to open the doors.
An ever-building list of local customers combined with the first wave of the Dot-Bomb, provided the perfect opportunity to take the leap into self-employment. So, our doors officially opened up at Burningman 2001, and we were taking credit cards online by late 2001.
Our first order of business was to shake things up a bit. There were concerns about opening up “yet another” fire tool company and the resulting wave of poi spinners that would ensue. You see, at the time, this wide variety of fire tools was not available. Online buyers were limited to juggling clubs, poi and staves.
So, we sat down and put together a large line of fire tools. We introduced fire fingers, fire hoops, fans, hybrid wicks, spinning clubs, swords and multi-wick poi in that first offering. Later, we’d introduce floggers, whips, more fans, collapsible staves, and a wide array of safety gear.
Now, we [still] don’t claim to be the very first to build these things, but we do believe we introduced them first to the fire community at large. And we’ve watched as others leapt from our shoulders and launched companies of their own. Some taking our design ideas and improving, some going in completely different directions (and some just copying).
But we have stayed at the front of the pack with constant innovation, thorough product testing, and speedy customer service. We may have hit our share of speedbumps, but dilligence, ingenuity, and honest service has carried us this far. And, we hope, well into the future.