Behind the Brand: Benji Wagner Of Poler

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posted by James Willmott

Focusing on the development of perfect goods for both action sports and traditional outdoors adventures, the creative team at Poler specialise in bringing the world something for all exploration compadres. Operating out of Portland, Oregon, the brand covers everything from sleeping bags to tents and backpacks, and have quickly built a reputation for the go-to brand for everyone and anyone’s next holiday adventure.

Meet Benji Wagner, the brainchild and current Creative Director of Poler and find out more about their workplace, his ultimate adventure plans and how the brand first came to life.

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You started Poler with your pal Kharma Vella in 2011. What’s your current role?
I am the Creative Director.

Where are you based?
Portland, Oregon.

Describe your workspace.
I have a 10×10 foot office with the usual stuff. I am pretty messy and have a cluttered desk.

Walk us through a typical day at Poler HQ?
Honestly I am not sure there is a typical day?! Ha. We have so many things brewing that it’s always a new day!

Describe the Poler team in 3 words…
Versatile, Funny, Dedicated.

Give us a brief history of Benji Wagner.
I am the oldest of 6 siblings. Before Poler I was a photographer and filmmaker. I have an adopted son and and two daughters and have been married 10 years. I live in Portland and love it here.

What do you get up to outside of Poler? We know you like to skate and are also a keen photographer?
I love movies, modern literature, and food culture among other things. I don’t skate as much as I used too, but it will always be a part of my life. I love getting outside with my kids and swimming in rivers, riding bikes and having fun.

Describe your ultimate adventure?
I would like to ride adventure motorbikes around the world for a couple years with my wife once my kids are off to college.

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What first made you decide that you wanted to start up an action sports/outdoors based company?
I felt that the internet had created a massive generation gap and there was an opportunity to connect with and inspire the next generation in a way that I didn’t see anyone doing.

Were you always outside growing up?
I was really lucky, my dad is a really adventurous soul. He took us out constantly, whether it was to a National Park or just down the street, we were always doing something active.

What will we see you wearing from the latest clothing collection?
I’m really excited about our High and Dry bag collection. They are tougher than anything we have made and feature wet/dry compartmentalization inside as well as splash proof exteriors. I think they are great for adventure travel and we are really stoked on how they came out.

Where is the last place you have travelled?
Manila.

Walk us through the steps when deciding what products to implement?
Well, we try to balance having classic everyday stuff like beanies with innovative products like the napsack. It’s important to me that our stuff has a pragmatic aspect as well as hopefully looking cool.

If you could have any icon wear Poler, who would it be and why?
Werner Herzog because he is a living legend and embodies the spirit of adventure and diving head first into the unknown.

What is one message Poler want to send to the world?
I would like to disrupt peoples idea of what the word ‘outdoor’ means. Surfing is a great example. No one talks about it as an ‘outdoor’ activity for some reason, but I think it is one of the most beautiful ways man has ever interacted with the natural world.

What’s next for Poler?
We’ve just launched our ‘Pendleton’ Bag and Tent collection and some other surf product and we have a great team backing us including Trevor Gordon, Mikey Detemple and Ryan Burch. Stay tuned!

See the new Pendleton Collection:
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Pendleton Cooler
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Pendleton Backpack
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Pendleton Tent
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POLER