When my wife and I decided not to relocate with GORUCK back to my home town in Jacksonville, Florida I had not anticipated that it would trigger an emotional fear that has long plagued me in life - that I am nothing special. Kick that up a notch with, as Jason foretold, there would be a mourning period after I left GORUCK. After all, routine keeps men sane, and GORUCK had been my routine, my life for nearly 10 years. I became a man at GORUCK. It hardened and focused me in a way only something you feel blessed to be a part of can - matching and then some, every sacrifice, giving me a sense of purpose and duty to something other than myself. GORUCK taught me that humanity is found wherever there are humans. Simple, I know, but I had studied to be an actor to delight in the human call to relate our lives to others in a way that offers meaning and impact to the world. Little did I know that my parents prophecy I should get into business would, over a decade later, set the stage for me to learn that magic happens anywhere humans draw breath. This is why Arthur Miller wrote plays about the common man - because our lives are anything but.
Leaving GORUCK was the right hard choice. But what next? In the weeks and months post GORUCK I began to take notes on what would become EVERGOODS. In the past I would have shared these ideas with Jason Mccarthy to get some baring on whether or not they made any sense. This time around I reached out to Kevin Dee.
Kevin and I met twice for a few hours and became so energized at the initial thought of EVERGOODS that he said to me point blank - lets do this together. We knew we needed money. We also knew that Kevin(unlike myself) had to support a family of four and if we were to undertake EVERGOODS we would need to dedicate a great deal of time and be compensated. We put together a 5 year product plan, crunched some numbers, created a forecast, did market research, and began looking for an investor. We were ready to take on the world. The reality would prove very different.
Months later I met with an investment group asking for a large sum of money. They were not willing to go as deep as my ask but did tell me they were going to offer half. At lunch on the second day of meetings the investors' lawyer told me it was going to happen. Then after another 3 hour meeting they pulled the deal. They asked me to come back as soon as I could get a tighter proposal that included a nearer launch date. I called Kevin, who had been supporting his family pulling odd design jobs while holding off on several large gigs, hoping an investment would allow us to pay ourselves so he could focus on the full time design work EVERGOODS required. You can't feed your family good ideas, or best intentions, it takes money. Something neither of us really have.
When I returned to Bozeman, Kevin and I discussed whether we had bit off more than we could chew. Our original launch plan had 12 products launching over the course of 2 years and another dozen in the 2 years following(we have the 2d drawings to prove it). We decided to scale back our offering, and made a pact that if we could both deliver our ends of the bargain by X date, we would be 50-50 partners. That is exactly(with our families blessing) what we have done.
I began reaching out to indsutry veterans for help with our business and marketing plans. I met with a local financial group and tightened our financial model into something that would suit an investor, a bank, but more importantly would allow us to run our business.
I came across a PODCAST where a successful entrepeneur in the hunting market talked about how he started a blog and built a solid audience before launch. His original goal had been to gain a couple hundred followers but he ended up with thousands. I told Kevin immediately after listening to it that we were going to do the same thing. If we ended up with a couple hundred followers it would be worth the effort to learn how to communicate our message. We have passed that number and then some.
Our goal for the blog would be to drive traffic to an eventual pre-sale and prove market viability so we would give up less equity when we returned to our investors. Then we met all of you. Your support has given us the confidence that with your help we can make this a reality. You have energized us. Because of you we may not need investors after all.
KICKSTARTER is coming soon and we need your help. We will need to drive as much attention to the campaign as possible. This means growing our email list. We will be asking for your help moving forward and are thinking of ways to empower you to help grow the movement. The more people we tell, the more people we can bring to the dance, the more likely we can ensure we deliver on our promise to let product development drive EVERGOODS. On our end, we have been setting up as much press coverage as possible and will let you guys in on this stuff soon. If you missed it Carryology just posted a sneak peak of CPL24 on their Instagram.
What can you do now? Share this, or anything EVERGOODS related, across social media or with your friends and family. We would love to hear your suggestions on how to empower you to help spread the word. Let us know what you need.
Bottom line: we are stoked to have you along for the ride. You will be the first to get any and all updates. Lets do a FB Live and show you all the products and field your questions. Sound good?
Jack and Kevin