Hi, my name is Chris Lang and I’m the founder of Organ Mountain Outfitters. You can find me every Saturday at the Las Cruces Farmers Market at our booth where Organ Mountain Outfitters really first began in July of 2016. When folks find us online or at the Farmers Market, the first questions they usually ask are “Who started this?" and "Why?".
I’ll start with the why, and then maybe you’ll understand the who. I started this company in my garage with my family - my wife Kerry, who was born and raised in Las Cruces, my beautiful daughter Sadie and my spunky little son Levi - as a way to help bring our community together and give back at the same time.
In Dona Ana County 25% of all households live in poverty. This is an astounding number but nothing that I wasn’t familiar with. As a child, I was raised in poverty in the Indian Territory of Northeast Oklahoma. We were surrounded by the beautiful land of the Ozarks, but my family and I lived without running water, electricity and other basic needs that others often take for granted. Where some may have sulked about their circumstances, I spent my time swimming in creeks, climbing bluffs and hiking the rolling hills of the country. The Cherokee tribe took our family in and taught me about the land, how to speak their language, and their beautiful tragic history. These moments taught me something important; poverty didn't define a life. My eyes were opened to building communities and respecting the land given to us.
So as I stood in the lunch line at school, I would shudder at the thought of walking past the payment lady who would always hand me a note or tell me aloud with my friends around that I had a balance due. I knew my parents would never be able to pay (we were rolling pennies for gas money at home) and with embarrassment, I would sit down to eat my lunch. That feeling has never left me and when I read an article in the Las Cruces Sun News written by Damien Willis that a local business man was donating to the balance of the reduced lunch program, I knew that’s how I wanted to give back to the community. After talking with my wife about this idea we were both on board with donating a portion of Organ Mountain Outfitters sales back to the Las Cruces Public Schools. The article had explained that 40 cents a day on the reduced lunch program is all it took to feed a child. So we decided to feed a child for one week. We would take $2 of every t-shirt sold and give it back to our community.
So now let’s talk about Las Cruces. Our community. As mentioned earlier, my wife was born and raised here and her parents were local business owners and have served our community for over 30 years. She left to go to college in Oklahoma City where I was also attending college playing basketball and baseball for a small university. We met and we fell in love, and by happy coincidence I had actually visited Las Cruces a few years earlier and fell in love with the mountains; it was the most picturesque city I had ever seen. So there we were, swept off our feet, married in Cloudcroft, and soon moving back to Las Cruces where we would start our little family. I worked for a local furniture company for the first four years in Las Cruces before I had the idea of starting my own company, which eventually came to fruition in the form of a creative agency called LNG. I was able to turn my passion for marketing, photography, and filmmaking into a business that was nominated for Business of the Year twice within the last five years, and we've since worked with brands - both big and small - from around the world. When it comes down to it, we’re a small creative team that loves telling stories. And that’s how Organ Mountain Outfitters began.
I admittedly fell hard for Las Cruces. I fell in love with the people, the food, and really the mountains. I would take trips at night to the mountains to look up at the stars and sit and contemplate the things that all of us worry about in our lives. I would take photos to capture the moments and bring them back home to comfort me in times that I needed strength, love or just a sense of home. I had many friends who lived here who also needed strength, love and just the basic sense of knowing someone cares for them as well. So one late night in September of 2015, I took the silhouette of the mountain range from one of the photographs I had taken, and designed the Organ Mountain logo with my wife. We carefully thought through all the details of the company. What products would we offer? In which marketplace should we start? How do we tell others and spread the word? So on July 9, 2016, we set up a small booth at the Las Cruces Farmers Market and Organ Mountain Outfitters was officially born. We managed to bring our community together and give back at the same time. And that's what Organ Mountain Outfitters is all about.
Thank you for your support, we hope to grow with you and our community!