J.A. Gear started in 1987 when I met Annette Piccirillo. We were both living in Missoula at the time. I was cutting golfbags for Sun Mountain Sports. Annette is a skilled seamstress, and found a job at Sun Mountain as well. We began dating -- and soon started making gear together. Our friend Roger coined the name “J.A.,” for Jim and Annette.
After Annette and I spent a winter skiing deep powder in British Columbia, she was offered a job at Cindy Owings Design in Bozeman (no longer in business). I continued designing and creating my own gear and started contract sewing for Simms Fishing Products and Dana Design (among others), both based in Bozeman.
Annette is a renowned theatrical costume designer and also specializes in making custom wedding dresses and altering designer gowns. We have both always enjoyed the outdoors and love Montana for the skiing, biking, hunting, climbing, and hiking. Our daughter Ruby was born in 1999, she's only added to the fun and craziness of the family, but has so far stayed away from the sewing machines.