It is hard to believe that this year, Mathews Archery is 25 years old. It seems like not long ago, Mathews was the new kid on the block; the exciting new company everyone was watching grow at a breakneck speed. Today, Mathews Archery is still innovating, still pushing forward, and for many people in the archery industry, still a company everyone loves to watch and see what they will come up with next!
By the time most companies turn 25 years old, they are no longer exciting to watch. The innovation is gone. In many cases, the company has changed hands, and the fire that ignited the brand has been put out, or at the very least, nothing more than a smolder. This is not the case with Mathews Archery. It is still the largest grossing bow company in the world. The man who started the company 25 years ago is still leading the way. Matt McPherson loves the archery industry and continues to strive to build jaw-dropping bows that excite target shooters and bowhunters.
I recently interviewed McPherson for this article. Like every other time I have interviewed him in the past 17 years, his archery knowledge and knowledge of the industry leaves an impression on me. Over the course of the interview I asked him many questions about the history of Mathews, how he believes they got to where they are today and why they are still number one. His answer boils down to one thing: innovation. “Since the day I started this company, my goal has been to be an innovator. Today, just like 25 years ago, as a company we are always looking to push the envelope. One of the reasons we have stayed on top in this industry is because we have brought some exciting things to the market. The Solocam was certainly ground breaking, but some of our other innovations have been important to our success. One of the most notable is parallel limb technology. In the 1970s, I saw that the cylinders on BMW motorcycles were opposing each other and canceling out vibration. I decided to add that same innovation to a bow. Harmonic dampening and perimeter weighting were birthed out of that concept. It’s all about getting energy out of phase. All of these innovations help remove vibration, which of course provides a better shooting experience for the archer,” McPherson explained.
Another thing that has helped Mathews Archery stay on top is their bows are extremely efficient. “Our bows store a lot of energy and are easy to pull. Bowhunters want a bow that is user-friendly and one that is fast and packs a punch. Our bows have some of the highest efficiencies out there. The Reverse-Assist makes the bow more user friendly. It makes drawing the bow easier. It makes a 70-pound bow feel like you are pulling less weight,” McPherson added.
“As technology has advanced over the last 25 years, Mathews Archery has strived to take bow design to the next level. The goal of Mathews has always been to build a bow that was fast and forgiving. Also, Mathews has aspired to build a bow that produced speed and provided a great shooting experience for the archer. It is no secret that bow companies have taken advantage of the technology out there and as far as building a fast, more efficient bow, there isn’t much more that can be done. Our bows are pushing 90% efficiencies, leaving little room for improvement in the areas of speed and efficiency. We try to focus on the quality of the build and creating bows that are fun to shoot and that look great. There are always going to be little things we can do to bows to make them more fun to shoot, but as far as efficiencies go, we’re about there. Bows are in a place much like guns and cars. There have not been many technology changes in these categories over the last ten years but people still buy new ones. Now it is about the look and the experience. People don’t buy a fast car so they can get to work faster. It is about the look and the experience. That is where we are. It is about building bows of super high quality, that look cool and are enjoyable to shoot,” McPherson noted.
At many bow companies, engineers are constantly coming and going. One of the keys to Mathews’ success over the years is the fact that Matt McPherson is still the chief engineer. He still does the majority of the engineering on new models of bows. “I just turned 60 years old. I am still designing the bows but more and more, I have some younger guys that I am training to do more of the engineering. The engineering of bows is what I like to do most, but I realize at this point in my life I need to train other guys so they know how and why I do things the way I do,” McPherson stated.
Another thing Mathews has done well since the beginning is market their brand well. It is hard to believe that Mathews started in a garage and today is an industry giant. From the beginning, McPherson wanted to build bows that were bowhunter friendly and state-of-the-art. “We have always strived to build top-of-the-line bows and send a marketing message that resonates with bowhunters and archers across the world. I have a great marketing team here, and we have a very loyal customer base. We talk to customers all the time where the dad, mom and the kids all shoot Mathews. We were one of the first companies to work hard at getting the entire family involved in archery. We were the first to build high end bows specifically for women. We have always strived to promote archery as a great family sport. In turn, our customers have been extremely loyal to us. We wouldn’t be where we are without loyal customers.” McPherson expressed.
When Mathews Archery was founded 25 years ago, the goal was to build the best bows possible and sell a few thousand a year. The goal has been surpassed. Today, Mathews Archery sells thousands and thousands of bows every year. In turn, Matt McPherson has been able to bless his employees and their families, and ministries all over the world. Mathews is proof the American Dream is still alive. Hopefully 25 years from now, Mathews Archery will still be going strong and Matt McPherson will still be designing innovative bows that archers everywhere love to shoot.