With a little NASA-inspired ingenuity, TAXA Outdoors takes camping to a level that is “out of this world.”
TAXA Outdoors founder and CEO Garrett Finney was a senior space architect for NASA prior to joining forces with TAXA Outdoors President Divya Brown to turn their passion for the outdoors into a successful business. TAXA manufactures what Brown refers to as “mobile human habitats (MHH).” These state-of-the-art mobile camping modules provide some of the conveniences of home while remaining true to the nature experience.
COVID-19 has increased the demand for camper-trailers because many people want to get away from home and other people. This has also meant an increase in business for the company and a need to move to a larger facility in December 2020. So, TAXA has recategorized the building located at 7930 Blankenship from a distribution facility to a 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
“We are 95% made in the United States and we have grown to 70 employees here in Houston that are actually manufacturing the habitats,” Brown said. The company ships MHHs throughout the country to dealers for sale to retail customers.
The company, established about 10 years ago, began with the production of its original model, The Cricket. This model sleeps two adults and two children and features TAXA’s NASA-inspired design with integrated plumbing and electrical system. The TAXA inventory consists of three additional models, all named after insects — the Tigermoth, Woolly Bear and the largest module, Mantis.
“We are not trying to be a house on wheels but want to get people out in nature,” explained Brown.
You will not find full home entertainment systems in an MHH. On the other hand, some of the units there include additional sleeping space in rooftop tents.
When selecting a new, larger business location, Brown said, the company selected Spring Branch for a variety of reasons.
“The beauty of Houston is there are pockets of cultural areas. We really liked that we saw, that this area is going to have huge growth. It has all of the elements, you have great infrastructure, great roadways, a lot of the businesses, you have neighborhoods nearby,” she said. “It is just one of those places that it is near to the city, actually, and we were really happy about that. We did not want to go far out because of all of the benefits of working and living in the city but we also wanted to have enough space to grow.”
Connecting to the community is important to the company, too. TAXA is including a multi-use community space for educational events.
“We have an advocacy program about getting people out into nature, so we want to allow groups that maybe don’t have the access to these sorts of products to have the opportunity to see and learn about outdoors and nature. We want to remove any socio-economic or cultural barriers. I come from a family of immigrants, and although I had access to resources, my parents never took us camping,” she said. “I understand not being aware of the outdoors and camping, so one of our big missions is to transform the way people live, play, and work outside and part of that is removing barriers. We are trying to encourage people to be outside because of all of the mental, physical and wellness benefits around it.”
Also, the facility will eventually house mental and physical wellness programs for employees. There will be yoga classes as part of the company’s commitment to a holistic healthy work environment. Completion of an MHH gallery, community space and the employee area is set for April.
Staying true to CEO Finney’s vision, the company will continue its commitment to sustainability and quality.
“The modules are lightweight, not requiring a huge vehicle to pull it. Made of high-quality materials, we don’ anticipate it ending up in a landfill. Calling them travel trailers or pull trailers is kind of diminishing the thought that Garrett put into it, in that it is really trying to get you to connect to nature in a more thoughtful way,” according to Brown.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the TAXA units scheduled to be complete for 2021 are already sold.
–by Jessika Leal