Last summer, a feature-packed travel bag appeared on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter and made a huge splash across the web. The Nomatic Travel Bag, which was billed as “the most functional travel bag ever,” raised more than $1.7 million, making it the most-funded travel bag in Kickstarter history. Investing in an unproven product on Kickstarter is a risk, but this one paid off. The bag delivered on time, and backers praised its quality and features.
Fresh off the success of their travel bag, entrepreneurs Jon Richards and Jacob Durham set to work on their next product. Instead of making just one new bag, they created two. Their new products, the Nomatic Travel Pack and the Nomatic Backpack, launched on Kickstarter last week and have already raised more than $650,000. Tripitivy talked to Jon and Jacob about Kickstarter success and their new backpacks.
You’ve successfully launched three products: a wallet, a notebook and a travel bag. Your new backpacks appear to be a follow-up to the Nomatic Travel Bag. Why stay in the travel segment?
With the launch of the NOMATIC Travel Bag, we changed the name and direction of our company from BASICS to NOMATIC. This change was not to focus more on travel but to focus more on helping people to explore their world. We create the most functional bags possible for the urban explorer.
The Nomatic Travel Bag raised more than $1.7 million on Kickstarter. It doesn’t seem like you need to use crowdfunding anymore. Why launch new products on Kickstarter?
Creating products that customers LOVE and getting their feedback should be the main focus of every product company. With each Kickstarter launch, we are able to make changes to the product based on customer feedback and offer substantial discounts to early supporters. No other platform allows you do this so effectively.
Did you ever worry that the finished product wouldn’t live up to the marketing, or were you always confident?
We spend a lot of time up front thinking through every piece of each product so that problems don’t arise after they are in our customers’ hands. Regardless, problems do come up, but with each product, we have adjusted and made changes so that the final product meets all consumer expectations and they are satisfied.
What’s the best story or feedback you’ve heard from a backer who received a Nomatic Travel Bag?
As of March 29, 2017, @alexfi24 has taken 33 flights with our bag and has said it’s her “favorite new travel toy.” If you look at our Kickstarter page, you can see hundreds of glowing reviews. For us, that is a huge accomplishment because Kickstarter backers are very particular about their products.
Like the Nomatic Travel Bag, the Backpack and Travel Pack are packed with features. What do you think is the one killer feature that sets these packs apart from others on the market?
If I had to choose one feature, it would be our unique zippers that give access from all sides and give a wide open view of the bag. But honestly, it is all the features combined that make this bag so functional for the gear people carry every day. Not many bags have a solution or place for the most carried items.
You surveyed thousands of backers to find out what features were most important to them. Was there anything during the survey period that surprised you?
Yes, we were surprised to find out how many people cared about expansion. So we made sure to add that to both bags.
What was the most challenging feature to design or implement?
The ability to switch between backpack and briefcase without dangling straps. We successfully designed a way for the straps to hide under the back panel but pop out quickly when needed. This took a lot of time and multiple prototypes to get it right.
The Backpack and the Travel Pack have a lot of shared features. What’s the biggest difference between the two packs?
The NOMATIC Backpack has interchangeable panels allowing you to customize what you carry every day, while The NOMATIC Travel Pack has a larger expansion and mesh dividing wall, making it easy to compartmentalize your packing.
People can buy your products at your website and pre-order the new packs at Kickstarter. Any plans for your products to appear in retail stores one day?
Currently, we sell all our Kickstarted products at nomatic.com. We are not in any retail locations as we are waiting for the right partner that shares the vision of our brand.