DW Business Insider Series: Hatching a Duckling - It All Starts with an Idea
In February of 2018, I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Despite being written in 2007, I had then only recently discovered the book. In my research prior to reading, I found it had glowing reviews and a popularity that proved I apparently had been living under a rock for the past decade. The title intrigued me, especially considering I was (and still am) accustomed to working 50+ hour work weeks.
After reading, it was quickly apparent that an actual 4-hour work week was unlikely, but I was convinced the roadmap provided in the book could be implemented to begin an e-commerce business. I felt I was fully capable of putting in the necessary work - all the while knowing that way more than 4 hours a week would be required. But these same "can-do" thoughts were quickly replaced by thoughts that I had “missed the boat” on starting any sort of e-commerce business. Heck, I was over a decade behind the curve – this new concept to me was a decade old concept to so many. I thought surely the market was saturated and there was no room for anyone or anything new. Still, there was a small part of me that wanted to at least give it a shot - but I needed an idea. To many, this would possible be the easy part. By my own admission, I’m not an “ideas” man or “inventor” personality. I’m an executor – give me the finite goal and I’ll find the way to make it happen, but leave me to generate an ethereal idea from scratch, and I’ll toil over it endlessly, constantly second guessing myself. Big ideas aren’t always easy come by for people like me. Fortunately, I happen to have a brother who is much more idea oriented.
A week or so after completing The 4-Hour Work Week, I mentioned the book in passing while on the phone with my brother, Brandon. I mentioned that I was on the search for a product idea to test against the book’s recommended plan to starting an e-commerce business. He and I had discussed in the past our desires to start something of our own, and take the leap into the entrepreneurial world. But like many would-be entrepreneurs, we were always hindered by our own fears of what that world may look like and the huge learning curve that must be necessary to make it. This time though, the conversation was different. Brandon mentioned he had several ideas he had been pondering for some time and pitched a couple to me. One, the idea of creating a company focused on high-end, professional looking waxed canvas and leather travel products that incorporated technical features of outdoor gear, garnered my interest and immediate attention. My brother and I both have a love of all things gear. We both love backpacking, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, etc. and we can (and do) spend hours in outdoor stores pouring over the variety of backpacks, gadgets, and gear; intrigued by their endless usefulness. We also are both in the corporate world in our day-to-day with the need to travel within our respective professions, so the idea resonated with me. After a few weeks of research and chats with my brother, I was all in on the brand and loved the thought of bringing this company and his numerous product ideas to life. I felt certain we could make it happen.
His detailed thought process on the idea development of the Duckworthy brand is a whole post in itself, so here’s the short version until he gives you the long version: He had become frustrated in his search for suitable professional looking luggage that incorporated the functionality he had become accustomed to within his backpacking gear. So why not use the backpacking gear he so dearly loved? Traveling in a suit and tie with a bright blue nylon “insert outdoor brand name here” backpack is hardly a way to impress – so he sketched out the idea for a brand that could embody both outdoor tech and professional style on a proverbial napkin and tucked the idea away. As it turns out, developing a product from your own frustrations is a leading product generation strategy – who would have thought necessity actually breeds invention?
Now that we had a viable product and brand concept, it was time to start the adventure of bringing the idea to life. Duckworthy had been born!
Throughout the DW Business Insider Series journal entries, we intend to give you a real time look into the details of how we launched and are currently building and operating our fledgling business. It seems most entrepreneurial blogs, books, editorials, etc. give you their information on building a business or brand after the fact – with a pretty bow wrapped around the process and the finer details all too often forgotten or left out. Well, we want to give you all of the details and play-by-play on how we are making it happen – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll tell you what has worked, what hasn’t, and an inside look into our humble beginnings – the details and the dirt! So, follow or subscribe for regular updates on our business practices, processes, learning experiences, adventures, and our products of course! Join us as we take this entrepreneurial journey together. Because, as they say, the joy is in the journey, not the destination.