To me, Mathews is a household name. Matt McPherson and his archery company, Mathews, live by their own set of rules, building some of the best archery gear on the planet. If it has the "Mathews" name on it, rest assured it is good stuff.
It’s hard to imagine that what began as a humble bow company with only two employees has grown into the largest bow manufacturer in the world. However, that is exactly what Mathews Inc. has done. Although the road to where they are today hasn’t been easy, the philosophy, passion, and principles behind the Mathews brand has helped shape a once unknown into perhaps the most recognizable name in the bow industry, all in just 21 short years. Mathews Inc. is also the only bow company to ever make Inc.’s Top 500 list of fastest growing companies (1998 and 1999). In 2010, they produced their 1 millionth bow. Today, thanks to a recent 56,000 sq. ft. expansion, the Mathews headquarters has swollen to over 200,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing power.
Using state of the art equipment, Mathews handles all aspects of its bows. This includes research, development, manufacturing, finishing, and lifetime-warranty service. This vertical integration leads to faster bow production, stricter standards, flexibility, and quality control. The result is a bow and a shooting experience unlike any other on the market.
Mathews Inc. founder, Matt McPherson, began building bows at a very young age. His passion actually came as a result of his mother’s unwillingness to allow guns in the home as a means of hunting. Therefore if Matt was going to hunt, then he had to do it with archery equipment. Matt was approximately 6 years old when he made his first stick bow and 13 years old when he made his first compound. In 1973 he submitted the first published recurve compound bow ever, which appeared in the December issue of Bowhunter Magazine.
Matt McPherson started making recurve and compound bows beginning in the 1970’s. After many years and various cam designs McPherson decided to take one of his newest innovations, the Inner Cam and start McPherson Archery. The McPherson Brand paved the way for the High Let-off Revolution. Bows were taken from an average of 50% let-off to a remarkable 75%, making it easier for archers to draw and hold more weight. The company was later sold in 1989. This decision eventually led to the most innovative cam design in archery history and what is known today as the largest bow manufacturer in the world — Mathews Inc.
In 1992 Matt McPherson took his idea for a new cam design and started Mathews Inc. This small company was born in Austin, Minnesota with just two employees — Matt and Joel Maxfield. McPherson had one major advantage that set Mathews apart from other bow companies — the single cam. His design for single cam technology, the SOLOCAM®, made Mathews bows lighter, faster, quieter, and powerfully accurate, thus revolutionizing the archery industry and how many thought a bow should function and perform. The Solocam was touted as the greatest innovation of the 90’s by a great deal of industry insiders.
This radically new cam design provided many advantages over the dual cam system, which dominated the market. The single cam produced less noise, recoil, and vibration at the shot and didn’t come with the synchronization problems that plagued the dual cam design. It also proved to be more accurate and forgiving with a solid back wall and required less maintenance than any 2-cam design.
Marketing and advertising also played a huge role in the early success of Mathews Inc. This was simply due to the fact that Mathews advertising had to educate the consumer about technologies never before present while at the same time showing consumers why Mathews products were superior to what was currently on the market. This aggressive marketing, combined with products that actually worked and were second to none, resulted in Mathews quickly rising to the top and becoming the number one archery company in the world.
However, despite this, perhaps the most significant advantage is that of Matt McPherson himself. More specifically, his principles and how they carry over into his philosophy as a businessman and a leader. For Matt, when it comes to building a bow the most important thing is the shooting experience. In an industry that focuses on faster, lighter, and smoother bows, making the shooting experience a pleasant one isn’t always easy. However, it is the desire to do so that keeps Mathews at the forefront of innovative bow design and shooter enjoyment.
Mathews Inc. currently employs a staff of nearly 400 people and operates three local facilities to a diverse line of archery equipment, bow components, and accessories for authorized retailers all over the world. Their success is founded on the commitment to three steadfast core values — innovation, integrity, and impact. These core values shape the daily decisions and actions of all company employees. Matt McPherson has stated, “Nothing else is more important to me than that our company and employees live out our core values on a daily basis. Our employees are committed to exhibiting these core values in all aspects of their daily work, and management is committed to supporting their personal and professional growth as they do so.”
When one looks deeper at the man and the philosophies behind the company it comes as no surprise why Mathews has become the largest bow manufacturer in the world. As Matt McPherson explains, “For us, the person who has already purchased a Mathews bow comes first. Most companies focus on getting new customers to buy their product and put existing customers second. However, we believe in putting those who have already made an investment in our product first. They’re part of the family, and once someone becomes a part of the Mathews family we do everything we can to make sure they are happy. If someone has a problem with our product, we do our best to resolve the issue within 24 hours, if possible.”
Ask anyone who has ever owned a Mathews and you will be hardpressed to find an unhappy consumer. Whenever issues do arise they are taken care of quickly by a customer service department that is second-to-none. McPherson believes that his way, the Mathews way, is the right way. “We definitely believe that our model is the right model. It’s hard to argue with the facts, and the reality is that we are the highest grossing bow company in the world. If we have the smallest distribution and are the highest grossing company, we must be doing something right.”
Just as the company has evolved and grown, so have the products it has produced. Starting with the very first Mathews bow, aptly named the Solocam Standard, to the company’s latest flagship model, innovation and cutting edge design have become synonymous with the Mathews line. In 1994 Mathews introduced the Z-Light. Weighing in at just over 3 lbs., the Z-Light brought a dramatically lighter and shorter bow to the bowhunter. Not only was the Z-Light lightweight, it was fast! Heavy bows that could double as a boat anchor and were comparatively slow quickly became obsolete.
Throughout the years, Mathews has introduced some of the most innovative technologies in the industry. These include: the First Carbon Cable Guard (1994), Zebra® ZS Twist Bowstring (1994), the 3.5 lb., 300' per second, 83% let-off Ultra-Light (1995), Even Tiller, Dual Feed Single Cam (1995), Parallel Limb Design (1996), High Efficiency — High Speed Cam Geometry (1997), Perimeter-Weighted Technology™ (1997), StraightLine, Dual Feed Single Cam (1998), Harmonic Damping System™ (2000), String Suppressors™ (2002), Industry First: Angled Roller Guard (2002), V-LOCK™ Zero Tolerance Limb Cup System (2003), SlimFit InLine Grip (2004), SE Composite SlimLimb Design & SphereLock Pivoting Limb Lock System (2007), Mathews Exclusive Lost Camo (2008), Mathews Reezen 340' per second, 80% let-off, The McPherson Series Monster™ and Monster XLR8™ Dual Cam Bows, Advanced Vectoring Cam System — AVS, QUAD VLock Limbs, Harmonic Stabilizer, Power Retract Down Force Arrow Rest, String Grub (2009), Grid Lock Riser Technology, Reverse Assist Roller Guard, Focus Grip, Monkey Tail (2010), and the Harmonic Stabilizer Lite featured on the Mathews HeliM (2012).
The all-new, 2013 Mathews Creed is more than just a bow, it is a belief system. Since its inception the Creed at Mathews has not changed or faltered. They strive to create the best shooting experience with cutting-edge design and industry leading technology. As a result shooters can expect the same from this year’s flagship bow. In fact the new SimPlex cam on the Mathews Creed is the smoothest-drawing, high performance Solocam the company has ever built. However, the Creed is more than just a bow. It is the culmination of a man, a company, and a belief system that has managed to accomplish some astonishing feats over the course of 21 years. It is a legacy of innovation.