Jan 4, 2014 at 9:48 am #1311757
So i lost my job a few days back, and currently am unemployed. It sucks, but may be a blessing in disguise in a way. My birthday is in a few days or so, and so i was thinking in combo of my upcoming b-day and what i will do for employment. Well, i really like designing and making gear and so despite earlier reservations when thinking about it (others have suggested it to me before), i've decided to get a part time "regular job" and also make gear.
I have a lot of ideas for some really unique and affordable UL gear. Here are some examples (some you may have heard about before). Front only, super breathable Apex insulated vests with only one layer of fabric in the back (and will try to source Polartec Powerdry stuff when i can for the back fabric). With or without hoods.
Modular, adjustable temp quilts (will start off making Apex quilts, and transition to down and Apex combos if i can start earning some savings).
Polycryo-ul nylon combo tarps, and IR reflective polycryo-cuben fiber tarps.
DWR treated Angora rabbit fiber insulated garments like hats, mitts, etc
Carbon Fiber and dyneema/spectra external frame packs made to custom size, with or without optional silnylon stuff sacks to go inside.
UHMWPE film day packs. Kapok pillows. Pile fleece liner mitts. Linen bandannas, Linen underwear, linen-polyester t-shirts. Silnylon or Homewrap capes that protect ones pack and shoulders from rain. And other kinds of gear.
The basic idea is to create original UL, but affordable gear that actually works, is adaptable, and uses creative thinking or application.
Need help with a name for the operation. Two i came up with so far. "Outside the Box Gear". Or, "Wild and Crazy Gear" (for us wild and crazy folks). :) Any other suggestions?
So i'm going to start making some prototypes, and eventually would like some experienced folks who go out a lot and who know their stuff, to test some of the prototypes.Jan 4, 2014 at 10:03 am #2060265
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Good luck, tough to get started
Outside the Box sounds better
The key to success isn't so much coming up with a good idea, but getting people's enthusiasm. Going viral.Jan 4, 2014 at 10:08 am #2060266
Thank you Jerry for the reply and well wishes. Yeah, that's why i think i will need at least a part time job to fall back on. My wife and i live modestly, don't have any kids, and are fairly healthy and still youngish (early-mid 30's)–if there was any time to at least try, it's now.
Thanks also for chiming in the name, and you're right about the ideas vs enthusiasm.Jan 4, 2014 at 10:12 am #2060269
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I like your positive attitude.
Best of luck with your endeavour and keep us updated with your progress.Jan 4, 2014 at 10:18 am #2060272
Arcturus Gear?Jan 4, 2014 at 10:33 am #2060275
Thank you Stephen, will do!Jan 4, 2014 at 10:36 am #2060277
Hmmmm Dan, why didn't i think of that?! Bespeaks of gear from out of this planetary system…lol, certainly fits in with the general concept of the other names in a way.
Thanks, will see what my wife says about it too.Jan 4, 2014 at 10:54 am #2060282
@slammerLocale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Sounds awesome, I buy something from them but if its out of this world you have to do free shipping!Jan 4, 2014 at 10:58 am #2060283
How about custom sleeping pads? Inflatables, that would be a good option to have again.Jan 4, 2014 at 11:14 am #2060286
My suggestion is to develop your product offerings slowly and carefully. If you rush a bunch of mediocre products to market you'll create that reputation for your company – and the UL scene doesn't need more mediocre gear. We need well executed, well crafted innovation.
Start with your best idea. Develop it well and don't rush it to sales. Get some beta products out there.Jan 4, 2014 at 11:33 am #2060293
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
+1 Dan. Focus on just one or two of your best product ideas first and work with a group of early beta testers, get feedback, refine and then open to a larger group of early beta buyers. Heck you may want to get feedback first on which of your ideas people would be most interested in.
Don't be afraid to go for it – too many people miss out on the joy of making things themselves – but don't underestimate the time, effort and complexity necessary to execute a great product that others will love and want to buy.
Don't rush the name. Focus on narrowing down the products and on designing the first 1-2 products and the name will come to you in the process, probably sooner than you think. Keep a running list and think of the identity you want to convey.
Best of luck and looking forward to your products!
One note on Apex – some say that since Apex was designed for greater breathability, it's less warm. I would think that if you use it with less air permeable shell fabrics, it will be just as warm as Primaloft One, but you should look into this. I haven't read up enough on it yet.Jan 4, 2014 at 11:43 am #2060297
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I am not sure how big the market would be, but one item I have not been able to find from cottage manufacturers as stock, although someone could perhaps build it custom
-cuben fiber pyramid tarp for winter use
-large enough for 1.5 to 2 people plus gear
-snow skirt for use above or near tree line to keep out wind blown snow
-erectable with hiking poles or other pole, in case you base camp with the pyramid (and need the poles for skiing or snow shoeing).
– single door large enough so you could use it as a vestibule for cooking in case of big storm
–Jan 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm #2060385
Thank you Kevin.
"I buy something from them but if its out of this world you have to do free shipping!"
Haha, i'm not much of a business man, but even i know there is really no such thing as free shipping, only apparently free shipping.
What i would like to offer, is something that i myself have wanted to see when ordering from other companies, is exact shipping. A flat rate, or general rate per weight, is easier (and often gives the company more profit), but i've always thought that people should pay what it actually costs to ship.
But if you want me to add the cost of the shipping to the total price, and say it's free shipping, i can do that ;)Jan 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm #2060387
Hi Mike H.,
I agree, custom inflatable sleeping pads would be a great option to have, but unfortunately way beyond my ability and means currently. It would be pretty hard to compete with companies like cascade designs, exped, kylmit, etc
I will have to KIS for awhile.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm #2060389
@slammerLocale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Free shipping was just a play on words, I much prefer the true or actual shipping idea. I personal do not like a company making a profit off of freight. Make great products, make money on you products and if we want to purchase we can pay actual shippings charges.
Having free shipping minimums is all fine and good. Honesty, Integrity and superior products + fantastic customer service is where it's at!
I wish you the best in your new endeavor.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm #2060393
Hi Dan and EJ, i essentially agree. It would probably be a good idea to limit it to a few of the best ideas/concepts, and yes, i definitely want to involve some testers from BPL.
"One note on Apex – some say that since Apex was designed for greater breathability, it's less warm. I would think that if you use it with less air permeable shell fabrics, it will be just as warm as Primaloft One, but you should look into this. I haven't read up enough on it yet."
It is, but the idea for the vest is to have the option for active wear insulation garment that dries quicker and doesn't wet out as fast to begin with, that will provide just enough insulation for those more extreme temps, for people who run colder, or those times where you're out but not expending as much energy for whatever reason. It's not meant to replace your basic camp insulating clothes like a down jacket or parka, and so, the more breathable the better generally speaking. It's also meant to be used in combo with either a windjacket or rain gear–within a larger system.
I've found that pretty much, no matter what i wear, i almost always sweat on my back, because of a pack. Having just one baselayer, a vest with a thin one layer back, and a windshirt should help to cut down on that.
I'm testing my front only insulated Apex vest Monday and Tuesday, since it will be unusually cold here. Low is suppose to be around 0, and the high the next day 16, so it will be a good time to test it. In my case, i will be using the Pat Cap 4 hoody as a baselayer for these temps, and a windjacket. Chances are, unless it's real windy, i will be able to keep open my windjacket, helping to keep the rest dry and warm.
Btw, my prototype Apex vest, weighed a bit more than i thought it would, but i did make it a little over large. I'm going to have to get some patterns or take measurements in the future, but anyways, it came in around 5.5 oz i think. It was made with 1.1 oz ripstop nylon, 2.5 oz Apex, and some Polartec Powerdry high efficiency baselayer fabric.
I think it's an ingenious idea, but then again, i'm a little biased.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm #2060394
The name matters more than you think. It can make or break your company, and I haven't found anything in the thread that is particularly resonant.
There are three types of names.
Companies that want their name to be a pun are aplenty. Gossamer Gear, Enlightened Equipment, GoLite, etc.
Then there are simple names that appeal to a customer base that doesn't want flash. Mountain Laurel Designs, McHale Packs, etc.
Finally, there are names that are clever, catchy, and stick with people. Zimmerbuilt, Foxwear, etc. These are my favorite of the three.
I would think of a name that means something to you and has a nice "ring" to it, because if you try to be too clever, you might just come off as annoying or non-serious.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm #2060399
I figured that Kevin, which is why i joked in return. Thank you for the well wishes, and feel free anytime to drop in a suggestion if you happen to think of one.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm #2060400
Hi Bruce, what you describe sounds like great ideas, and something i personally would love as well.
But for now, it's beyond both my means and skills/ability. I suppose after a year or so of sewing pretty constantly, will really hone my skills, then maybe i will begin to tackle harder projects like the one you mentioned and if i have some money saved up to purchase quantities of cuben.
In any case, i will keep it mind as i do like the combo of suggestions/ideas.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm #2060402
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Before you get into actually naming a new company for the public, first of all you might look into the legal details. Depending on where you intend to operate, you may need a business license. Before you apply for the business license, you may need a fictitious name, sometimes referred to as a DBA (Doing Business As). Then when you figure the startup costs, setting up a set of books, creating a web site, etc., it looks like it is less fun.
–B.G.–Jan 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm #2060409
I don't know Scott, in some ways i think Kickstarter is good, but something about it for me, i would have a hard time using it. Perhaps it's the pressure and responsibility of, "must have x products made by x time or else", or having others in a sense do the work for you financially, that doesn't quite sit right for me.
Also, i think Kickstarter is more for like truly revolutionary designs that require a certain amount of R&D, more exotic materials, or other factors that make it much more of an investment.
With a lot of my ideas, it's pretty simple stuff, relatively easy to make, relatively easy to source the materials, etc, so it makes more sense to just have it a project or transaction per request basis like what a lot of cottage companies already do, made to order.
If i ever grow a bit set, and i make some connections in the larger business or gear world, then MAYBE i will finally tackle designing a UHMWPE fiber based windjacket or rain gear, something like Polypropylene rain gear, but made with UHMWPE fiber instead. Similar weight and similar degree of hydrophobicity, but big difference in cost and big diffference in strength and durability. (also, a HUGE difference in thermal conductivity–these are almost opposites in this area).
For something like the above, after some experience, some connections, etc, i would use kickstarter for, because not being independently wealthy, i would have to. For me, kickstarter is a last ditch option if i have no other choice.Jan 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm #2060412
Dunno Max, i agree with you some in the general, but i happen to like both Arcturus Gear and Out of the Box gear.
The former is kind of personal to me, and it's a unique name and connotation. Arcturus is one of the brightest Stars there are, and some say our little Solar system revolves around the Arcturian system. Neither flashy, nor clever. To me, it's akin Mountain Laurel Designs, simple but almost poetic.
Out of the Box gear, i think is a bit catchy and clever. The connotation of out of the box thinking/application and also, what's the first thing we do when we receive a package of new gear, we tear open and take it out of the box.
You feel the jive now?Jan 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm #2060416
Good, but sobering points Bob.Jan 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm #2060418
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"One note on Apex – some say that since Apex was designed for greater breathability, it's less warm. I would think that if you use it with less air permeable shell fabrics, it will be just as warm as Primaloft One…"
I don't think that's correct.
Primaloft One has finer fibers which is why it is a little warmer for the weight. That's what I've measured and that's what the spec is. When you handle the insulation in your fingers, you can tell there's a difference.
But, the same properties that make it warmer for the weight, require more stitching to stabilize. And then you have sewn through seams that lose some of the warmth advantage.
Not worth screwing with in my opinion.Jan 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm #2060423
Make sure there's an available domain name for your business. For example: Arcturus.com is already taken.
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