Ex-PE Guy Launches a Briefcase Company - Ask Me Anything!

I've been on and involved with this site since its inception. It's been a sort of guide to me since I was a junior in college - it helped me break into banking and then PE. I've tried to give back over the years and am writing this because I think I can give back in a unique way, one that will be particularly interesting to anyone who has ever given thought to a side business or read the Four Hour Work Week. To that end, let me explain:

Today, I launched a collection of military-inspired briefcases and wallets under a brand called Matador

I launched it through an ongoing fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. I have finalized prototypes and am taking pre-orders and donations in order to fund initial inventory orders and jump start the business.

My bags and wallets are well made, have a bold style that's still at home in an office, and sell for substantially less than competing brands. I think they're particularly helpful for junior guys (like myself) given their look and price points, so check out the campaign and spread the word to friends and colleagues: Here's the direct link: http://igg.me/at/Matador

Given the amount of discussion on WSO about starting a business or a side hustle, I thought I could briefly walk through the steps I took to take Matador from idea to launch. I'm more than happy to take any questions you guys have about the products, the process, or anything else in here or via Private Message:

The Idea

The idea for Matador came about when I was shopping for a new briefcase while I was still working in PE. I love the look of ballistic nylon and think the higher-end brands do a great job making stylish bags that are super functional (lots of pockets, super durable, etc.) That said, the fact that brands like Tumi and Briggs & Riley charge $250, $300, and more for their bags seemed nuts to me.

I did some digging into what else was out there and found myself let down. A lot of value brands are inexpensive but don't look so hot. Plus, I didn't want to be the guy carrying around the cheapo bag to board meetings when my bosses looked like bosses.

I've always been into fashion and accessories. And I spent three years working in an aerospace & defense investment banking group, so I got a ton of exposure to people involved in and around the military. Not to mention, my Grandpa was a paratrooper in WW2 and a good buddy of mine is in the Marines.

So, I set a goal to create a line of well made briefcases that sell for affordable price points and incorporate subtle military-inspired style elements. Bags that look great if you're going into a board meeting, an office, or anywhere else work takes you without costing an arm and a leg.

A Quick Note on Ideas

Now, let me be clear. I'm not interested in doing business for the sake of doing business. And while I've always wanted to start a little something of my own, I knew I wouldn't really dive into something unless I was really interested in it. Like many of you, me and my friends have tossed around ideas for apps and websites and what not. But, at the end of the day, I just don't give enough of a shit to devote hours and hours at night and on weekends to some random app and, frankly, I don't know anything about computer programming so what use would I be? Sure, an app or site can be rolled out and iterated quickly, but only if you actually know how to program (or care to learn). It's just not for me.

To be clear, I don't think I'm changing the world or putting man on the moon here. In fact, I sort of detest when people make their work out to be something it's not. Nor am I going to pretend that I have some sort of magic code on "what life's all about." Why? Because life is about whatever you want it to be and it would be total bullshit for me to tell you that any one path is better than any other.

With that said, my aim was to hit a specific pain point with a solution while creating products that I feel passionate about.

In short - you don't need the world's most brilliant idea, you simply need an idea that is achievable within your means, has a real market, and is something you're truly willing to devote a lot of time to. Because it requires a lot of work.

Step 1 - Taking the Idea from Paper to Physical Prototypes

Now that I had my idea and I felt passionate about it, I started sharing it with a ton of people. There is literally no reason to keep an idea like this a secret, especially when you're dealing with physical products. Is someone really going to steal your idea? Especially if it takes this much work and can't be coded over a weekend, most definitely not.

Even if you have an easily duplicated idea, unless the person you tell cares enough to devote substantial time to it in their off-hours, you're going to be fine. Getting feedback > the chances of someone running with your idea.

If anything, people were excited to hear what I was working on and to provide feedback as I moved through the process.

This stage is when the hard work really began. Anybody can sketch ideas on the back of the proverbial napkin, but how does someone who spent five years in finance cranking on models and memos make a briefcase?

Step 2 - Refining the Idea

I brainstormed a huge list of everything I liked about competing products in the market and why I liked them. What features were essential? What would I change if I could start from scratch? How would I incorporate tactical styling elements without losing the professional touch? I sketched out some ideas, shared them with friends and others, and refined my sketches while I began Step 3.

Step 3 - Finding Manufacturers

This takes a substantial amount of work, but is worth it once you find the right suppliers. I knew I wanted a manufacturer that made military and tactical gear (i.e. bags, vests, jackets, etc.), so that helped me narrow down my search.

I used Alibaba to search for overseas suppliers and ThomasNet to search for domestic manufacturers. My focus here was on capabilities, turnaround time, minimum order quantities, and cost. After a lot of hours spent on phone calls and writing emails, I narrowed the field to four companies.

Two companies were domestic and two were foreign. The final step to supplier selection was having each company make a prototype of one of my products. It pains me to say it, but this is where the overseas manufacturers shined - they were faster, more responsive, and simply did a better job. I wasted a lot of time trying to work things out with the domestic suppliers, but that's water under the bridge.

Now I had my suppliers selected, so I was ready for Step 4.

Step 4 - Finalizing my Products and Preparing for Launch

I worked extensively and intensively with my two manufacturers to refine my products through the prototyping process. My aim was to have a small but well-rounded collection of products to launch my brand with.

As I worked through that, I continued to solicit feedback to help make sure I wasn't missing anything obvious or turning out a crap product. A quick example of how feedback improved my products comes into view in my backpack. It was suggested to me that I add a slot to the back of the bag so it can slide over a luggage handle. Not only is this super practical, but it adds a cool look to the back of the bag.

Now that the products were coming together, I began looking at options for launch:

Option 1 - Buy inventory up front with my own cash and do a slow rollout

Option 2 - Do a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund inventory with pre-orders and further prove out the concept

I decided to go with Option 2 as it allows me to get things going much quicker, prove out the concept, and make a splash at the same time. After much deliberation, I chose to go with Indiegogo. It's the exact same concept as Kickstarter but with some additional benefits. I'll touch on this a bit more in another post as I think it warrants its own discussion.

Step 5 - Launching Matador

All of my work brings me to where I am today. Launch Day.

I've been preparing anyone and everyone I know along with a number of blogs and influencers that my campaign is coming online. Now the final push begins to sell some products and bring this thing to life.

My campaign runs through March 10th (35 days total). It's going to be a mad rush and I'd love for each and everyone of you to share it with your friends and colleagues. http://igg.me/at/Matador

Other Notes:

The Logo: Matador's logo was designed through a logo design contest on 99Designs.com. I had specific ideas as to what I was looking for and ended up with a really competitive contest. An additional benefit is that I now have a reliable graphic designer who does work for me on the side whenever I need it (mockups, logo tweaks, etc.)

The Campaign Video: The video was a ton of work, but I think it was worth it. Some of you might recognize my mug from a few webinars I've done for WSO. For those that haven't met me (online or otherwise), hi! As for the production of the video, I'm blessed to have a good friend who makes commercials for a living, so he was able to help me out. That said, there are a lot of production companies that can work on these sorts of videos for a good price (and they do great work).

A Brand Website: I'm putting the final touches on a very simple brand website to complement my campaign page. Should I hit my funding goal and get everything going, it'll be transformed into a full-fledged e-commerce store. While it's good to plan this sort of thing, I've got to take things one step at a time.

Facebook: Go ahead and Like Matador's Facebook page Share it with friends! There are also some more photos of my products on the page that you can check out.

Anyway, that ended up being a bit longer than I had intended. I hope you enjoyed reading it and I hope you like my campaign!

I'm more than happy to take any questions at all about what I'm working on or any general questions at all about the process of starting a company that makes physical products.

So go ahead and Ask Me Anything!

Comments (140)

Feb 3, 2014

One question. Why briefcases? I thought that wasn't part of the Valley MO.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Feb 3, 2014
heister:

One question. Why briefcases? I thought that wasn't part of the Valley MO.

Haha, I actually laughed out loud when I read this. I've only been to SF once, won't be back anytime soon. That said, I had the greatest burrito of all time while I was there.

Feb 3, 2014

Fuck. I hit you with shit dude when I was trying to SB you. Can someone nullify this for me?

This is a great write up and I am happy TheKing did it. I've been lucky enough to talk with him as the process has been going and he has been ever so kind to tell me about the travails involved in starting something up like this. A really great first person perspective on what it takes to go from concept to actual product.

I plan on getting some of this gear and I hope some of you do also. WSO community coming together to help someone who has given so much.

Feb 3, 2014

Really dig the Garrison bag, cool concept!

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Feb 3, 2014

Agree, love the Garrison look - picked one up! I hope WSO will do it's best to help one of the most helpful members in its history.

Notice the Silver Banana Rankings to the right? even though The King hasn't been as active lately (due to this work), you can see he still sits comfortable in 8th place all time, even with all the bananaflation going on lately :-)

Thanks my man and good luck hitting the $25k! Off to the races!
-Patrick

    • 2
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Feb 3, 2014

Looks slick, best of luck TK!

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Thanks, D M. It's all about eyeballs, so feel free to share on your social networks and like the Facebook page. Goes a long way towards making things happen.

Feb 3, 2014

Crowdfunding is something that's always been really interesting to me. Why did you choose Indiegogo over kickstarter?

Feb 3, 2014

I'm going to go over this at greater-length in another post, but I'll give a quick reply for now:

1.) Lower fees while providing the exact same platform. With Kickstarter, you pay a fee to KS for the platform and a fee to Amazon for handling payments. Indiegogo is more economical. And, again, it's the exact same thing.

2.) Less red tape. I'll get into this in another post, though.

Hope you like my project!

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Feb 5, 2014

I'm probably out of the loop, but I didn't know about Indiegogo until I saw your thread here. I think Kickstarter probably reaches a bigger crowd (it's quite international) - so it might be worth the additional fees/hassle? Though I imagine you probably did the researched to weigh the pros and cons accordingly. Also, Kickstarter has done a ton of mid-tier and luxury bags. Like this one which has seen some success: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/venque/venque-fine-bags-made-with-innovative-fabrics?ref=48hr and this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mijlo/a-better-backpack-sustainable-design-sustainable-f

Feb 3, 2014

Curious how you plan to market your products broadly in a targeted way, aside from word-of-mouth type exposure. Like, if I didn't read WSO and didn't know someone who knew of these bags, how would I come to be aware of their existence?

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for the comment. That's definitely the challenge. To that end, it becomes something of a chicken vs. the egg problem.

--I've reached out to a shit-ton of blogs and websites making my pitch. The hit rate for replies is pretty low, but if you can get one one or two big blogs (i.e. Gear Patrol, Cool Material, The Awesomer), you can really move the needle.

--Talking to a friend of mine who ran a successful campaign for a coffee maker product, it's way easier to get picked up by a notable blog or two after a week or so. This is especially true if you have any traction at all.

To some degree, it is a war of attrition, but one or two breaks can go a long way. So, I've got to keep tackling every possible avenue.

And, at the end of the day, I realize that I'm not making the Pebble watch. But, I think there's legitimate value in quality business briefcases that have a distinctive style and sell for less than $160.

Feb 3, 2014

Is it impossible to get it on a shelf of a store? Especially in the city?

Feb 3, 2014

Way to go, good luck man!

Feb 3, 2014

love the idea! good luck

Feb 3, 2014

Nice work, I just bought.

One other thing for the future...if you were to create a watch strap out of that ballistic nylon on the outside and leather on the inside, like you have on the wallet, I would buy that as well. You'd need to price it around $30-40 and the materials would probably be 1/5 that of the wallet (probably even less leather). A lot of people buy these watch straps to change the look of their watch and they're always looking for something a little different and well made.

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Feb 4, 2014
DickFuld:

A lot of people buy these watch straps to change the look of their watch and they're always looking for something a little different and well made.

I think this is a key comment. This material looks awesome and I would definitely buy a Nato-style watchband using it.

Looks great overall! Still deciding which item I like best before contributing.

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for the input. If you've got any questions, feel free to post them here or shoot me a PM.

Also, check out our Instagram page for some extra photos of the interiors and what not: http://instagram.com/matadorsupply

Hope that's helpful.

Feb 3, 2014
DickFuld:

Nice work, I just bought.

One other thing for the future...if you were to create a watch strap out of that ballistic nylon on the outside and leather on the inside, like you have on the wallet, I would buy that as well. You'd need to price it around $30-40 and the materials would probably be 1/5 that of the wallet (probably even less leather). A lot of people buy these watch straps to change the look of their watch and they're always looking for something a little different and well made.

Thanks a ton, dude. Appreciate it.

Actually thought long and hard about the watch strap. Also thought a bit about a belt as well. On the watch strap front, the biggest issue is that you can already get one (and it isn't pricey). DaLuca Straps, for instance. I'm a big fan of changing up my watch strap, so I hear you on that. If I thought I could differentiate a bit more, I probably would do it, though.

Feb 4, 2014

I agree. Lots of my friends buy multiple canvas watch straps to give pop of color to obnoxiously match a ridiculous outfit, but this ballistic nyon looks badass and would work perfectly for watches. Awesome idea @DickFuld.

Feb 4, 2014

You can try selling it on Etsy.com.

For a look on dedicated briefcase makers, see www.brenthaven.com.

Feb 4, 2014

Respect for doing this.

Feb 4, 2014

Checked out your product, and am actually very impressed. Just one question ... to me it seems like a fancy/business brand. When it comes to wallets and accessories, brand recognition matters. We have a portfolio company that used to get killed by its main competitors, which baffled us because our product was half the price and better quality.

After some strategic sessions we hypothesized that because the market we were operating in was very prone to a type of 'snob effect' (golf), price would tend to indicate quality. We doubled the price, without any change in quality, and sales went through the roof and we quickly became market leaders.

I may be completely off on this one, but perhaps pricing should be higher? At least eventually maybe .. or have two ranges. I mean this as a compliment because I think your product looks really nice. Also, I know nothing of the design/fashion industry, so it's more of a question than a comment.

Anyway, let me know when you ship to South Africa !

Best of luck !

Feb 3, 2014

Hi Orkid,

First off, we'll defnitely ship it to South Africa, you've just got to pay an extra fee for international shipping as there are more bells and whistles to deal with (and it's pricey to ship from the US to non-North American countries).

On the other front, I know what you are saying completely. The reason why I stuck with the more competitive pricing is because of two reasons:

1.) Value brands already exist, I just don't think they do a very good job at all in terms of how they look and feel

2.) I think this mindset has shifted considerably with the advent of online-only brands. Companies like Bonobos and Everlane have made cost a part of the equation while still supplying awesome goods.

Anyway, glad you like the products.

Feb 4, 2014

These look great. Got more shots of the inside (pockets, straps)?

Feb 3, 2014

I should've put this up in the initial post:

http://instagram.com/matadorsupply

That has some shots of the pockets open so you can get a sense for what the interiors look like. Plenty of room and plenty of pockets. Each of the two briefcases also has a "newspaper pocket" on the back where you can toss things in without having to unzip at all.

Had to make a few hard decisions when I made my Indiegogo page that were budget related (hi-res, high quality professional style shots cost a bit of dough, but make for a more professional site).

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Feb 4, 2014

Nice job, a document wallet would be a cool idea for those that travel a lot!

Feb 4, 2014

Looks excellent, good luck!

I would love to buy a ballistic front pocket wallet if/when that comes out. I have a habit of creating "Costanza wallets", so I've made the switch to front pockets for now.

Feb 4, 2014

Thanks for doing this! Really interesting. Sb'd. Couple things...

1) It would be interesting to hear about some of your costs, if you don't mind. Specifically, cost of creating the prototype with each manufacturer.
2) When presenting the idea to the manufacturers, what kind of "sketch" did you give them to go off of? Something you drew out with approximate dimensions, or did you have something professionally made?
3) Can you go into more detail surrouding your selection of the manufactuer? How did they differ in terms of minimum orders, cost, etc. Definitely interested to hear about the minimum order quantity & cost to produce/ship/etc.
4) Which pricing option did you choose on 99designs and how many logo designs did you pick from?
5) Some people think it's gimmicky, but after you prove the concept, you should go on Shark Tank!

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Feb 4, 2014

@TheKing - I snagged one today... I think this venture is going to do very well! Wishing you much continued success... To all you monkeys out there who are always posting threads on which briefcase to get and are stuck in the frustrating limbo between Kenneth Cole and JW Hulme... This is a legit option at an unbeatable price point.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

@Poff:

I'd quote you, but hte commenting system appears to be a bit off today. Here's my reply:

1.) I won't get into precise specifics here. But, I'll say that the prototyping costs are much greater than the per-unit-cost of each item in a production order. Typically, you can plan to spend around $300 - $500 for a prototype, but keep in mind that this will differ based on what you're making. The biggest investment, really, is the time. It takes a while to go back and forth and shipping from Asia takes a while as well.

2.) Funny you should ask and great question. I actually spun my wheels a bit working with some professional CAD artists, which was a total waste of time. Ended up more or less doing my own drawings with detailed measurements and using similar items out there as references. It was a lot of work, but it helped make the process more streamlined since I knew exactly what I wanted and could refine after getting a first cut made.

3.) Lots of leg work and back and forth emails and calls. Alibaba is really useful for finding manufacturers and lists a lot of useful information, then you can contact them directly and figure out if they'll work. There's a ton of different factors that go into it, not just cost, so you need to make sure you find someone that fits your needs. I had pretty specific desires so I was able to look up a solid list of 30 - 40 manufacturers and narrow down from there based on my criteria. Did take a couple months though, to be honest with you.

4.) I don't recall the exact contest I used, but I had three stages to downselevt to a winner and saw a TON of designs. I'm thrilled with the one I ended up with.

5.) Oh dude, if I hit my goal and then some, I'd go on Shark Tank in a heart beat. Shit would be awesome!

Now feel free to make a donation ;-)

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014
TheKing:

@Poff:

I'd quote you, but hte commenting system appears to be a bit off today. Here's my reply:

1.) I won't get into precise specifics here. But, I'll say that the prototyping costs are much greater than the per-unit-cost of each item in a production order. Typically, you can plan to spend around $300 - $500 for a prototype, but keep in mind that this will differ based on what you're making. The biggest investment, really, is the time. It takes a while to go back and forth and shipping from Asia takes a while as well.

2.) Funny you should ask and great question. I actually spun my wheels a bit working with some professional CAD artists, which was a total waste of time. Ended up more or less doing my own drawings with detailed measurements and using similar items out there as references. It was a lot of work, but it helped make the process more streamlined since I knew exactly what I wanted and could refine after getting a first cut made.

3.) Lots of leg work and back and forth emails and calls. Alibaba is really useful for finding manufacturers and lists a lot of useful information, then you can contact them directly and figure out if they'll work. There's a ton of different factors that go into it, not just cost, so you need to make sure you find someone that fits your needs. I had pretty specific desires so I was able to look up a solid list of 30 - 40 manufacturers and narrow down from there based on my criteria. Did take a couple months though, to be honest with you.

4.) I don't recall the exact contest I used, but I had three stages to downselevt to a winner and saw a TON of designs. I'm thrilled with the one I ended up with.

5.) Oh dude, if I hit my goal and then some, I'd go on Shark Tank in a heart beat. Shit would be awesome!

Now feel free to make a donation ;-)

Thanks for the detail...so it sounds like the start-up costs here to get the concept up and running was ~$5,000-$10,000 but also a shitload of time :-)

We'll get this up on the home page soon!

Feb 3, 2014

If you do go on Shark Tank, partner with the FUBU guy, not the home shopping network/QVC lady. She'll cheapen the brand. Or go with Mark Cuban because he's a badass.

Unrelated: have you thought of doing targeted Google ads? They can be as cheap as you want.

    • 1
Feb 4, 2014

Very cool wallet look. Definitely will pick one up.

Feb 3, 2014

I'm curious about Indiegogo / Kickstarter companies...does [email protected]"TheKing" or anyone else know typically how these companies do if they are able to raise a successful campaign for the first run or production?

I think it would be interesting to see what the median company (from the successful raises) is doing now, say 1, 2 years after a successful campaign...obviously, there are a lot of variables and variance here, but are 80% staying in business? 20%? Are they run as side gigs or the ones that reach their goal, are they usually run full time?

Does anyone know if Indiegog or Kickstarter ever does reports like this (ie not just cherrypicking success stories)?

Thanks!

Feb 3, 2014

@yeahright:

Agree with you big time. I'm not opposed to paying a little bit of dough to bloggers to cover me. I started reaching out before I launch and am doing my follow-up now.

If anyone has any close relationships with bloggers of note (or otherwise) that is looking for some easy content, let me know.

The more eyeballs the better. I believe in the products and the concept like there's no tomorrow, but getting the word out is not easy.

Feb 4, 2014

This is a great idea! Best of luck TheKing!

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Feb 4, 2014

That backpack is sick, I'll definitely be buying one when I get paid in a few weeks--it's a shame I'll have to wait till May

Feb 4, 2014

I may have creamed myself seeing the wallet. Take my $50.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014
karypto:

I may have creamed myself seeing the wallet. Take my $50.

Now that is what I call a testimonial...visual notwithstanding

Feb 3, 2014

@ishouldbstudying:

The good news is that you won't be charged until the end of the campaign and ONLY if I hit my goal. So, feel free to order away whenever. Today if you're feeling generous ;-)

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Feb 4, 2014

I like that wallet as well as Dick's idea

Feb 4, 2014

+1

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

Feb 3, 2014

@Going Concern

The issue with getting it on store shelves is that I need inventory first. I'm trying to go the direct-to-consumer route and need the funding to get that initial production order covered. Hence the Indiegogo campaign. Let's say it makes more sense to sell to online and offline retailers, I could go down that path if it makes sense. But, I think there's legitimate room for an online only brand of business accessories of this sort. I sort of think of it as being akin to an Everlane, but with a specific market and a different stylistic element.

@Dick Fuld and @rufiolove

I definitely gave the watch strap a lot of thought and it's defintiely something I would look hard at offering should this all progress forward. Part of my thought process at this stage was to keep things tight and cohesive, if that makes sense.

Best Response
Feb 3, 2014

I actually completely agree with the strategy. Watch bands are more niche, which is why I mentioned trying it in the next phase. The reason I think it would work is that I have never seen the integration of ballistic nylon and leather as nicely done as in your wallet. I have nylon, 'carbon fiber', and leather (obviously) watch straps already. Basic nylon watch straps look cheap (and are). It's hard to put your Jaeger or IWC on a simple nylon strap without a little bit of irony. But, if it was high quality nylon backed by leather, I think it could be professional or casual. Just my opinion, but what do I know, I was just the CEO of a global investment bank.

You could even make it reversible, which would be super cool. You could charge a premium for that and it would be a new concept (at least to me).

Best of luck.

    • 2
Feb 3, 2014
DickFuld:

Just my opinion, but what do I know, I was just the CEO of a global investment bank.

Appreciate the comment and the insight. I quoted this part because it's a top-5 comment I've ever read on the site. Simply incredible. Great stuff.

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Feb 3, 2014
DickFuld:

It's hard to put your Jaeger or IWC on a simple nylon strap without a little bit of irony.

Yeah I know what you mean...I got a Breitling recently (60mm face) and I didn't like the strap it came with so I crafted my own out of some orange yarn, pretty stylish. I just tie it around my wrist like I tie my shoelaces. Little hiccup today as the knot came undone and my timepiece went tumbling into three feet of new york slush. Had to spend 45 minutes fishing it out. Thankfully I managed to ameliorate that problem by reinforcing my strap with a few pieces of scotch tape (just for extra sturdiness). So long story short, I guess what I'm trying to say is that any new strap ideas would have to compete with homemade product lines, such as my yarn based solutions.

Feb 4, 2014

TheKing, I just bought your wallet. Looks awesome and best of luck

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Feb 4, 2014

This is excellent and inspirational. Great job on the product. Looking forward to more stories about the process.

Feb 4, 2014

@TheKing Great to see someone going and making shit happen (many just talk about doing it....)
One question, how do you compare to Lexdray? Your products are quite similar I believe. Both in terms of style and materials used.

Feb 4, 2014
nauprillion:

One question, how do you compare to Lexdray? Your products are quite similar I believe. Both in terms of style and materials used.

Right off the bat - the pricing isn't even comparable. Lexdray messenger bag runs you ~$300.

I'm in for a wallet. Looks badass.

Feb 4, 2014

@duffmt6 @TheKing I just checked out the indiegogo campaign... my bad

Feb 3, 2014
nauprillion:

@TheKing Great to see someone going and making shit happen (many just talk about doing it....)

One question, how do you compare to Lexdray? Your products are quite similar I believe. Both in terms of style and materials used.

Lexdray is a great brand, but it's very pricey. Their backpacks run for nearly $400. You can buy two of my backpacks and a wallet for that price. And their styling is quite a bit different. I'm aiming for a more militaristic look fused with traditional business styling and I don't sacrifice quality.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Feb 3, 2014

yeah, can't tell you how many people talk about starting something vs. the few that actually Execu|Searchte and do it. No matter what happens, that deserves applause :-)

Feb 4, 2014

+1

I am also a huge fan of simple military style apparel, especially jackets. I've never taken much interest in brief cases but am really considering snagging one of these when the tax return comes in. Good luck!

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014
moneymogul:

+1

I am also a huge fan of simple military style apparel, especially jackets. I've never taken much interest in brief cases but am really considering snagging one of these when the tax return comes in. Good luck!

Thanks for the kind words. Just note that the campaign ends on March 10th and you wouldn't be charged until the campaign ends and unless the campaign is successful. Waiting till after tax day means you'll have to wait until we've got a full-fledged e-commerce store up.

If you like the products and think you'd like to own one, definitely put in an order during the life of our Indiegogo campaign to ensure you get one in May. If you've got any questions about the products at all, feel free to ask them here or PM me directly.

Feb 5, 2014

What does the outside of the wallet feel like? I really would not like a plasticy feeling.

Feb 3, 2014

@mongoose -

The outside of the wallet is really smooth feeling. Not plasticky at all. Same material as we use on our briefcases and backpack. The best part is that it's also super durable while still being smooth to the touch.

@yeahright -

The name took a ton of consideration. I toyed with a bunch of names that were more related to the end-product and used the word "Tactical" and things of that nature. But, to me (and others), it seemed too contrived and sort of corny. Matador came up during a brainstorming process and I liked it because it captures a number of things:

1.) It makes me think of someone who is in control and faces things head-on

2.) It has hints of the military aspect to it, without directly sounding like some sort of call sign

3.) It also helped with the logo. The three triangles in the icon look awesome and if you look at the negative space, they form an 'M' which I think is pretty solid

Feb 4, 2014

20%!!! I hope you hit the target!

    • 1
Feb 5, 2014

Not sure I see a pure play here, but I like the entrepreneurial spirit.

Are you familiar with Bonobos?

If you don't reach your funding reqs, are you willing to fund the difference yourself?

Feb 3, 2014

@Solidarity -

Appreciate your kind words. I'm very familiar with Bonobos and have bought a few things there. I'm wearing a pair of their jeans right now.

If I don't meet my goal but come reasonably close, I've got a back-fill. If it's distant, I'll probably take a different approach and self-fund something like two of the products and use a different approach going forward.

That said, knock on wood. I'm working at getting some press coverage which is the hardest part. A couple breaks in that regard can go a really long way.

Feb 3, 2014

@Kanon -

I'm going to write up a post on issues with Kickstarter. But, the biggest issue is that their review process is incredibly opaque and they really don't communicate well at all. I was asked to make some pretty strange additions to my page that would've detracted from the overall quality of the products and the pitch. It was a frustrating overall experience.

I think they are a crap shoot to a large degree, because there are some REALLY sketchy projects on there that get cleared and no real way to communicate with anyone, unfortunately.

Feb 5, 2014

Sorry if you already talked about this (I only skimmed the thread, so hopefully I'm not repeating a topic) but have you tried reaching out to popular blogs that cover bags & accessories, or maybe something like Styleforum or AskMen or Ask Andy About Clothes? If you can get some of the guys that are credible reviewers with high volume of readersto positively rate your product and point to the Indiegogo campaign, I think that could help. Two of the KS links I posted were bags that got exposure on blog sites.

If I google Matador bag - I'm not getting anything. I had to google a very specific phrase 'Matador briefcase' or something along those lines to get to the link. Having different avenues of exposure would help...

Unrelated point to Patrick - WSO is doing something weird whenever I write the word s e a r c h. (I had to put in spaces because it keeps changing it to not only a weird link, but the word itself becomes 'Execu|Searchsearch'

Feb 3, 2014

@Kanon -

Yeah, I've done a cold reach out to a ton of blogs and sites like the ones you specifically mentioned. That's the bulk of the work right now is getting any coverage I can. As soon as basically anyone of note picks it up, it'll make a huge difference.

If anyone knows people at any blogs at all, I'd love some help getting an intro. It's a shit ton of work to build a relationship without already having a connection of some sort.

Feb 5, 2014

Good luck! Unfortunately I don't know anyone in that field, but a friend of a friend who had an online shirt business was able to get Andy from Ask Andy to review their shirts. I think the general idea is - reach out to him by email, offer to give him some bags to check out, and ask if he could be so kind to review.

You could also consider reaching a wider market via Bonobos which sells other brands' bags and accessories? Unless you don't want to go through another line in the merchandising chain and retain more direct control over your customer base early on.

Feb 3, 2014

@Kanon -

I'm sort of between a rock and a hard place, is the problem. I only have basically one finalized prototype of each bag, so I can't really give them out all over the place for people to review them. I'm trying to get some of the review blogs to compromise with me to get some extra publicity, but they can be pretty strict. I respect their integrity on one hand, but also could use the hand, haha.

That's the other thought I have. I really do believe in the product and the concept, and if direct to consumer just doesn't work and some retailer wanted to sell my bags (and was willing to do it via pre-order), then I'd be happy to go down that path. But, not before trying a direct-to-consumer model.

At the end of the day, I'll go where the money is or I won't ever have a legitimate business, if that makes sense.

Feb 5, 2014

WSO Vice President, Data
@JustinDDuBois

    • 1
Feb 5, 2014

one of the best AMAs around

Feb 5, 2014

I had to come out of hiding to +1 TheKing on this.

All the products look great. I'm undecided between the Flagship and Outpost.

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks Ether, appreciate it.

Both bags are great, so you can't really go wrong. But, if you want some extra shots of each, here are some photos from the Instagram feed:

Flagship:

http://instagram.com/p/jIRKe_oh9T/
http://instagram.com/p/hT_Hs2oh1b/

Outpost:

http://instagram.com/p/g0g-9zoh-Y/
http://instagram.com/p/g0jNk2ohyC/

If you've got any questions, let me know for sure.

Feb 6, 2014

So you left PE to start your own bag business? Nice bags btw, love it.

Feb 6, 2014

excellent read!

Feb 3, 2014

@fivestarworld -

Ha, not quite that simple. I've got a day job that pays the bills and I help run the Mentors program here on WSO. This is very much a project in my off-hours that I'm trying to get off the ground. Gotta be smart about it while I work on a passion.

Thanks for the complement on the products. I'd love any shares or contributions. Pre-orders aren't charged until March 10th and are only charged if we hit our goal.

Feb 3, 2014

Just bought my bag! Looks great, excited to get it.

Feb 7, 2014

love stories like this. best of luck to him

Feb 7, 2014

Will be picking one up, looking for a new briefcase and I dig the look. Great job

Feb 3, 2014

@STRINGA -

Thanks a ton. If you've got any questions, feel free to ask. Like us on facebook as well if you have a chance.

Feb 7, 2014

If your fundraising goal is not reached, are the placed orders jeopardized in any way?

Feb 4, 2014
STRINGA:

If your fundraising goal is not reached, are the placed orders jeopardized in any way?

TELL UR FRIENDZ

    • 2
Feb 3, 2014

If the goal isn't reached, you won't be charged. You are only charged if and when the goal is reached.

So, go ahead and place an order and spread the word to friends and colleagues. I'm at a decent spot for the first four days, but I need to keep pushing.

If the campaign is unsuccessful, I'll likely do a smaller roll-out with only one or two of the bags to start. So, regardless of how things go, this is a good way to get a bunch of feedback.

    • 1
Feb 7, 2014

Looks great. I'll have to get one to replace my desert one that is similar.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Awesome. You ex-military? Just guessing by your name.

Feb 7, 2014

Yes, I did 7 yrs in the Army.

    • 2
Feb 8, 2014

Really good shit.

I'll get the duffle bag when you roll those out.

Feb 9, 2014

This looks really awesome, thanks for sharing your story.

I was wondering if you could give a little more insight into your transition from finance to this/your day job. Did your experience in PE prove to be valuable for starting your own business?

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for the comment. Here's my answer:

1.) I have a day job (I'm actually an M&A journalist right now) that gives me a lot of time outside the office and on weekends to focus on side projects. I've had this idea for a while and put a lot of time and effort into getting the products and concept together for launch. This is definitely something I will continue to work on while I have a day job until / unless it blows up into something big and / or some investor wants to give me a bunch of money to quit and work on it full time. But, one step at a time.

2.) I'd say that PE and banking was helpful for a couple reasons. I mean, keep in mind that this is still pretty early on. But, it helped a ton in thinking about pricing and margins and developing my business plan. I have a sense for how a business should operate and how the financials need to look in order for it to be viable and eventually grow. The tough part is getting it jump started at the beginning, of course.

If you've got any questions about the products or any other questions in general, let me know. Feel free to PM me as well.

Feb 3, 2014

Also. I had a ton of people (on here and otherwise) ask me if I considered including some sort of charitable component to my campaign. It was something I gave thought to and initially went against. In part because Kickstarter doesn't allow for that sort of thing. And in part because I worried people would think it was contrived.

However, given I'm using Indiegogo and given the number of people asking me about it, I've added a charitable component to my campaign.

Namely, if I hit my goal, 10% of my proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. It's a truly awesome charity. Here's a link for those that don't know too much about it: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

    • 2
Feb 9, 2014

Great idea man! Thanks for doing this. I was wondering at what point did you decide to quit your job after coming up with the idea. Did you quit right away? Or did you work part time on the business for some time while working and then quit?

Feb 3, 2014

@smartmoney27 -

Thanks for the kind words. I have definitely not quit my day job yet, haha. I work as an M&A journalist by day, so I've got a lot of time after work and on the weekends to work on this. I've done a lot of work so far, but this is just the beginning. If you like the products, I'd love a contribution towards helping me reach my goal. I'll only do this full time if it's really blowing up.

If you've got any questions, let me know. Anyway, glad you like the idea and the products!

Feb 9, 2014

Here is a list of 400 mens fashion blogs that you can reach out to. Also listed in a Google Spreadsheet.

http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/2014-top-mens-style/

In the same boat myself as you in the fashion niche now. Good luck!

    • 2
Feb 10, 2014

Awesome products - that wallet is pure sex. Best of luck and way to get after it.

Feb 10, 2014

At first I was excited - I like the idea of your business. However, I'm not going to be a customer any time soon, and here's why. I have a better, more professional looking nylon backpack, which has an incredible amount of pockets and utility, so I'm not going to be a customer. Your backpack has a lot of ugly looking pockets on the outside. It's hideous.

I think your briefcase looks juvenile, to say the least. I would be embarrassed to carry that thing around. Since when did nylon or zip laptop bags become 'stylish' or 'professional'? If I were to use one I would feel as embarrassed as if I were wearing an oversized suit.

These, are stylish:
Zegna's Office and Laptop Bag
Ettinger's HERITAGE BLACK BANK LID-OVER ATTACHE CASE
Bosca's OLD LEATHER CLASSIC - DOUBLE GUSSET BRIEF
Ludwig Reiter's Notebook case (K12 - M)
Mont Blanc's Nightflight Double Gusset Briefcase
Etc.

Surely someone can make something cheaper that actually looks good...

And how does a free snapback fit with your target market? Since when did such an incredibly ugly and juvenile thing become acceptable? Eugh, it gives me the shivers. I think you should market to IT technicians, they seem much more fitting for your products.

I know that juxtaposed with the comments of others, mine may seem ridiculous, but I'm a pretty stylish guy (in that I like to look and feel good, not that I need specific brands or to spend stupid money to do so) and I love my fashion. However, I haven't even graduated yet and am yet to be horrified by what appears to be a pretty high approval rate of your products. I really hope wherever I end up is more stylish than this.

I should add, I think the wallet is alright, but I'd still much rather a leather one.

    • 4
Feb 3, 2014

lol @Anonymous MonkeyI haven't even graduated yet" after a list of $800 - $2,500 briefcases. Thanks for the feedback?

    • 1
Feb 10, 2014

The cost isn't what matters, it's the fact that they actually look good. Surely the materials costs aren't that high.

Regardless, my comment stands. I really hope it goes well, but I also hope that this 'look', if you can call it that, isn't actually fashionable.

Feb 10, 2014

What is your plans now?

I am interested to know how you are thinking about making an initial contact with retailers. I suppose you can pick up a phone and call some nationwide retailer. You might get passed around but eventually you reach the right person. You might get asked 1000 questions about your track record.

This has to happen before you appear on Sharktank?

This is a competitive industry. I wish you the best.

Feb 3, 2014

@j-phone -

Plan now is to work towards hitting the goal. I'd prefer to sell direct to consumer, but I'm obviously open to the idea of selling this through retail (online or otherwise). I've talked on a really high level to a couple online retailers about one or two of the products, but it's so early to even begin thinking about that.

I think, to hit retailers, I'd want to have some sort of connection or introduction. If someone took a liking to my products and could help in that regard, I'd be open to listening. I'm also pretty good on the phone (comes with my current gig as a reporter), so I'm down to cold call the hell out of anyone.

I think I love how multiple people mention Shark Tank. I'd go on that in a heart beat if it made sense to. But, having watched just about every episode, I can tell you that you have to be nuts to go on without some serious traction in this sort of thing. Would be fun as hell, though.

Feb 5, 2014
TheKing:

@j-phone -

Plan now is to work towards hitting the goal. I'd prefer to sell direct to consumer, but I'm obviously open to the idea of selling this through retail (online or otherwise). I've talked on a really high level to a couple online retailers about one or two of the products, but it's so early to even begin thinking about that.

I think, to hit retailers, I'd want to have some sort of connection or introduction. If someone took a liking to my products and could help in that regard, I'd be open to listening. I'm also pretty good on the phone (comes with my current gig as a reporter), so I'm down to cold call the hell out of anyone.

I think I love how multiple people mention Shark Tank. I'd go on that in a heart beat if it made sense to. But, having watched just about every episode, I can tell you that you have to be nuts to go on without some serious traction in this sort of thing. Would be fun as hell, though.

Why not both?

I think you also need to refine your product positioning and go-to-market. "Frugal" and "military styling." Reading your Indiegogo, it sounds like a copy-and-paste from an MDNA, not a crowdfund. "Our suppliers are responsive and open"--hah ok, I want a briefcase, not a 5 forces... It's also cheap for a professional bag, but I have a shitty Kenneth Cole bag from college that LOOKS similar. The messaging and the product don't particularly resonate with anything I need for professional or casual use (imo)

I like the giving pledge, but yours doesn't make sense in context. I'm donating to Indiegogo, so they can take a cut, just to turn it around and donate it to the WW project? I agree that you should look into adopting a cause / giving pledge, but all of your $'s should be going into your first production run.

If you're not already familiar with your industry's merchandising cycle, I'd suggest you do that right away. Once you have your prototypes you need to be hitting next year's trade shows. Helps if you're in in NYC area

$25k is still too big a # for the first production run. How many different types of bags are you making? Your pricing tiers are also whack. I don't know anything about materials or pricing, but the way you have it currently set up seems like you're purposely dissuading people from supporting... $150 for a real product. Most of your options are in the $150 to $500 range when they should be in the $0-150 range. Regardless of your reassurances... "our suppliers are responsive"... "this is a final product"... how many people are willing to commit that much money to a stranger over the internet? You need to make it easy for people to commit. I would offer a steep discount for the first 50-100 to fund a briefcase.

I have a few friends who bootstrapped their own internet apparel and retail companies, and once upon a time I also went through the "buying a briefcase" song and dance, but it looks like you're still early in the process, so keep us updated on your progress!

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Hey man, appreciate the feedback. Gave you an SB. Let me reply to some of your points:

--The whole focus on knowing my suppliers and what not. Yeah, it does have a somewhat MD&A feel, but it's in part because the crowdfunding sites push people to explain the step of the process they are at. i.e.) are you still making prototypes, figuring out who will produce them, etc. That and selling yourself and the process and what have you.

--Can't do much about your opinion on the products themselves, taste is of course going to play into this. End of the day, you can find a cheap bag for sure, no doubt about that.

--In terms of the giving pledge, I don't think most people give thought to the cut Indiegogo gets. If anything, it's a sweetener to get people to give and I had a decent amount of people ask about it. I considered doing this from the start, but thought it would seem contrived. Ended up changing my mind after the responses.

--In terms of having discounted batches, that's actually a pretty good idea. This is probably pretty clear, but this is my first foray into this sort of thing. I love my products and would love to sell them to people, wanted to come out with a splash and put myself out there. I don't consider $145 to be a lot of money for this sort of thing, but perhaps a discounted batch makes sense.

--$25K may be high, I suppose I'll know for sure at the end of the month. My secondary plan is to bootstrap with a smaller product selection (one or two bags and the wallet) and build it up more slowly (and build a more cohesive brand around a small selection of products).

--At the very least, this gets me (and has gotten me) a ton of feedback from random folks who see the products.

--I think if I restarted, I'd have gone for $10k and had stretch goals incorporate different bag styles. End of the day, it's too late to be regretting that sort of thing.

--Last but not least, I have been reaching out to some online retailers that have shown interest. It's something I'm interested in doing more of. At the end of the day, I'll go wherever the money is. If that makes sense.

I'd love to hear more about your friends' stories, if you're up to sharing. If so, shoot me a PM. I'd appreciate it for sure.

    • 2
Feb 10, 2014

Wish you the best. Good luck. Not my taste (I still carry $50 backpack that I also use as my gym bag), but I hope you become successful in this field.

Feb 10, 2014

From the looks of it, you seem to have 2 issues to spend your every second on

=Operations ( Includes raising your 25k, coordinating with your suppliers, getting the first batch ready)
=Marketing ( social media campaigns, presence in popular blogs, media write ups etc)

If I may ask,

1)whats the percentage allocation between the 2 activies which you do..( Im guessing 65-35 in favor of marketing)...Do you think the allocation needs to be higher in initial 3-4 months as you have the double task of getting the eyeballs in market to sell your stuff assuming barring couple of comments here that you got your product fit n raring to go.

2)Also, are you planning to hire some social media company/consultant or something of that sort to manage your campaign online given that a great online advertising or campaign will go a long way in helping your initial sales+brand

3) Kinda apocalyptic question, but what if couple months later you realize the sales isnt picking up and your initial market assumptions are off...have you thought about it already and have some plan..

Im sorry if the questions turn out to piper jafferish as I dnt hv much insight into starting ventures but wanted to understand an entrepreneur's frame of mind.

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." ~George Moore

Feb 3, 2014

@neil joseph -

Let me answer your questions:

1.) In terms of coordinating with suppliers, that's 100% finished. The hard up-front work of developing the products and getting my suppliers tee'd up to manufacture is complete. I've also got a freight partner (for shipping from Asia to the US) and a fulfillment house for housing my goods and shipping to customers. Most importantly, I've got every cost component down pat, so I understand my margins and the potential to grow organically

In terms of marketing, that is primarily the focus now. Blasting out to brands, I've got a Press Release shooting out all over the place as well. Building up Social Media (@MatadorSupply, instagram.com/matadorsupply), etc.

Interestingly, I think my brand might actually make more sense as a bootstrapped business since I'm, frankly speaking, operating as a businessperson / designer as opposed to a craftsman making things in his workshop. If that makes sense. However, the campaign gives me a great way to get immediate and real feedback. Even from people who don't buy, it's a sanity check to make sure I'm not trying to pawn shit off on people. I've been pleased with the response to date.

Having inventory will actually help a ton on the marketing side because I'll be able to dole out goodies to blogs that need to actually use the product to write about it (a lot of them have this policy).

2.) I am working with someone who can help focus on the marketing aspect. Helps since I do work 9-6 in a normal job while working on this on the side.

3.) I mean, that's the risk you gotta take, right? But, let's be clear, there are a LOT of different avenues to go down. Direct to consumer, retail, etc. Biggest challenge is getting the word out to the right people.

End of the day, I think my products are interesting and that it hits a niche that can be expounded upon.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Feb 11, 2014

Why do you need to collect $25K? Cant you just fund it yourself being a PE guy?

Feb 3, 2014

Haha, well, ex-PE guy. But, that being said, bootstrapping is an option, but if it comes to that, I'll probably start with a smaller collection and build out the brand over more time. If that makes sense.

Of course, if someone came along and wanted to pump money into it and had useful connections, I'd certainly be open to entertaining conversations.

Feb 11, 2014

This looks great, congrats on making the dive into entrepreneurship! I envy your ambition.

Seems like you've thought a lot about branding, product and positioning. Everything feels very polished and professional. Hope it takes off for you!

    • 2
Feb 3, 2014

@NorthSider -

I appreciate the kind words. We haven't always seen eye-to-eye on this site, but you can always be counted on to be a straight shooter. Really appreciate it.

Feb 11, 2014

No problem, I'm genuinely impressed by how pristine everything appears for a first launch (or any launch, for that matter!).

To the extent that I can think of anything, my one suggestion would be that the word "militaristic" carries a somewhat violent connotation to me. Maybe I'm soft on such issues, but diction like "military-inspired styling" or "edgy" is more palatable to my subconscious.

As dumb as this sounds, being more "pacifistic", I feel like my reaction as a customer when I read "militaristic" is "that's not my style". But when I look at the actual product, it looks professional and top-quality. I'm admittedly not that familiar with military gear, but the product doesn't strike me as specifically "militaristic" at first glace. I realize I'm not necessarily your target demographic in the stylistic sense, but I would absolutely buy this product, which causes me a fair bit of cognitive dissonance ("wait, is militaristic actually my style?").

Take that with a grain of salt though, I feel silly even giving feedback! You've done a great job with this. Hope you reach your goal, one way or another.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

Yeah, this is more Military inspired than militaristic.

Feb 3, 2014

If anyone is interested, I added a ton of new photos to the campaign page today. Check 'em out: http://igg.me/at/Matador/x/6236809

    • 1
Feb 3, 2014

@"duffmt6" -

I saw that! That has to REALLY fuck with them. Not a good look for Kickstarter at all. Glad I didn't go with them for yet another reason.

Feb 3, 2014

If I'm a sign of anything, I deleted my kickstarter account because of the hacking. Good move on your part.

    • 1
Feb 17, 2014

Do you think that the success of what are functionally craft products, either crowdfunded or sold on etsy, moves the branding one step up the value chain for components that were formally commodities. For instance - your marketing page specifically calls out YKK Zippers. For apparel projects, Loro Piana wool (which to be fair, was already a well regarded brand in bespoke suiting, but not necessarily accessories/outerwear) often gets talked about/used the same way?

Also, I think the point with the military-inspired verbiage in the marketing is basically saying minimalist in a more evocative way.

Btw OP, do you have any plans to do runs of corporate swag? I mean just find some chick in HR or an office manager or whatever (I don't know who actually orders these things) at a mid-sized firms and you can do a good amount of sales. I remember reading about the woman who does the gym bags and how she went from making them in her garage to dominating the Equinox.

Feb 3, 2014

Thanks for the comment.

I'd certainly consider selling to businesses that would want to throw on a patch with their logo. Companies like timbuk2 do this pretty well. Certainly not opposed to that. What's fun (and somewhat daunting) is that there are a lot of avenues I can go down. It should be an interesting journey going forward.

As for the components, I think using things like YKK zippers and 1050d Cordura ballistic nylon is key. The nylon in particular is top notch and both looks and feels phenomenal.

Mar 31, 2014

Would love an update! Very curious about how everything is going.

Apr 2, 2014

Bump. Paging @"TheKing".

Feb 3, 2014

Hey bud. Thanks for the bump. Here's the short update as I'm slammed lately and haven't had time to post much (let alone do anything else, haha):

--I didn't hit my goal on Indiegogo, which sucks. But, on some level, I was going for the hundred run homerun.

--What I did get, however, was some real feedback from backers, potential backers, and blogs / influencers that I reached out to

--One thing that was a major roadblock was that several blogs and websites wanted to write something up on my gear, but would only do it if they could get a product to test out. While I'd be happy to give them a product, I can't do it without inventory. So, it became something of a chicken vs. the egg problem.

--With that said, I have a lot of blogs and influencers who are ready to do features once I have some inventory. So, to that end:

I'm re-launching on a much smaller (and less-expensive) scale in about two months. I'm having inventory of the Wallet and the Backpack made, since they had the best response by far and have the most universal appeal. The inventory is being produced as we speak. I'm also prototyping and finalizing a belt to round out the collection. It'll cost significantly less than the full suite of briefcases and have a more general appeal based on feedback I got.

I actually also tested out a watch strap, but the ballistic nylon is actually TOO strong to really be applicable. I might try and figure something out, but if anything, I can work on that down the line.

The e-commerce site will be live as soon as I have my inventory. The URL is www.matadorsupply.com. If anyone wants a preview, send me a PM and I can hook you up with a password.

In conjunction with all of this, I'm also reaching out to third party sites to see about getting my goods listed. So, I'd lose a cut of the profit, but would have greater proliferation. Gotta push product and go from there.

Let me know if you have any questions at all. I'm pumped to push forward and am excited about the products I'm launching with and am supremely grateful for the feedback I got during my campaign / the lessons I learned (especially in marketing).

Apr 2, 2014

Sorry to know about the setbacks, but just reading your comment gives a sense of how pumped up you are. So that's awesome. I don't think you'll be supplying abroad right now or I would've bought the backpack and the wallet in a second.

Seems like your this thing should get going once it gains some traction, considering that you're having trouble only in setting up the initial inventory. I hope it does get going - your products are damn cool for sure. Plus it would be great to have a successful entrepreneur chronicle his travails on WSO ;)

Do keep us posted occasionally, when you can. All the best!

Apr 2, 2014

How long did this whole process take from idea conception to launch? I am sure many of the steps you outlined overlapped but would be curious to how long each step took. Thanks!

Feb 3, 2014

@"DickFuld" @"duffmt6" -

I'll keep you guys posted, no doubt. I'll probably do an update from time to time on here to explain the things I'm doing and how I'm trying to get traction, reaching out to blogs, marketing techniques, etc. It's definitely a ton of work, but I'm fired up as fuck about the products I'm launching with. I think you guys will like the belt a lot.

As for the watch strap, it's tough. I think I'd have to test it out with a different watch face than my Timex to get a better feel. The ballistic nylon is SO tough that it's almost hard to make it work in that application. But, I'll fiddle with it some more.

Thanks again for the encouragement, guys.

Feb 5, 2014
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