Things I Can't Live Without: Paul Taylor
BY John Fried
When you've got eight chainsaws, what else could you possibly need?
Occupation: Head monkey (he's the founder; he can call himself what he likes) of Arborwear, a line of rugged clothing and gear designed for professional tree climbers and other outdoorsy types.
Age and home: 35; Newbury, Ohio.
Annual revenue and employees: $1.3 million; 5.
Turning over a new leaf: This business was born out of a 40-foot tumble from a red maple in 1997. Taylor, who was a professional arborist, spent a lot of his recuperation time thinking. Mostly about pants. He thought it would be great to blend the rugged durability of professional work clothes with the high-tech design and comfort of rock-climbing gear. A year later Taylor sold his first batch of pants at a trade show for outdoor gear in Ohio. Now Arborwear's broad line of apparel also includes shorts, jackets, and T-shirts with Taylor's motto: "Protect your crotch. I can't stress that enough."
Smarty pants: Taylor puts his own touches on the Arborwear website and catalogs. Next to a photo of a shirt, for instance, he writes, "I wore this a year and a half before marketing it. Yours will smell better, I bet."
Chain saw contingency: The best advice Taylor ever got? "Never sell my chain saws," he says. "I know that if I'm in a financial crunch, I can always knock out a couple of tree jobs and bring in some bucks." Though he hasn't needed the saws lately, when he was getting the company started Taylor bartered tree work for marketing, printing, and legal work.
Cold Roses by Ryan Adams, $14:
"When I'm on a 16-hour flight to Asia or working late, I listen to this over and over. I like the thoughtful lyrics and driving instrumental work."
Husqvarna 385XP chain saw, $800:
"I bought my first chain saw when I was 14. My mom drove me to the shop. Now I have eight, but I'm partial to my Husky. It's got a lot of power and a sharp chain."
Endurance by Alfred Lansing, $14:
"When I first read this book about Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, I realized I was a wimp. I've often turned to it for inspiration in challenging times."
Gibson Earl Scruggs banjo, $4,500:
"The theme from Deliverance livens parties, but folks get squirrelly when I say they 'sure got a purty mouth."
... and What I Covet
Refurbished Stearman biplane, $200,000:
"My wife says I would kill myself, and she's probably right. This was used to train fighter pilots in World War II and has no fancy computers. The person flying it does all the work."