It was three days into a west coast road trip - somewhere between Monterey and Santa Cruz - that Jennifer and I decided to take the leap.
Up until that trip, we had lived our lives planned out to the last detail. The only problem was that the plan wasn’t going how we had intended. Eight years into climbing the corporate career ladder, it wasn’t leading where I thought it would. And three years into our goal of starting a family together wasn’t going so well either. We had been through countless doctors, surgeries, and rounds of drugs - and none of it was working.
So we took a couple weeks off. To reboot. And to reconsider our plans. We did what anybody would do to clear their minds: we took a road trip. We’d start by visiting some of our best friends in San Diego - and by the time we reached San Francisco we’d have an answer (hopefully).
It’s amazing what kind of clarity you can get from hundreds of miles of untouched Pacific seashore.
We had been building Supply on nights and weekends for the past two years, and we knew it needed to exist. Sure, there were lots of men’s brands out there. But where were the brands that spoke to people like us? People who were willing to spend more for well-designed goods that lasted a lifetime - but not willing to spend more for a name on a label. Where were the brands that designed durable everyday essentials for weekend warriors and corporate types alike - as much as for the design nerds and buy-it-for-life junkies?
Our business had signs of life, but without committing full time it was hard to know if it would grow. A year and a half after launching our first product, we still hadn’t posted a profit (pro tip - choose your partners wisely). But with more work and time, we knew it could turn into something.
So we decided to make the jump. We realized that the difficulties we were facing were actually signs. Signs that it was now or never. We hadn’t been able to start a family, we were fed up with our careers, and we knew deep down that Supply had to exist. Why wouldn’t we give it our best shot?
So I put in my two weeks at the only job I'd ever known (they asked me for three), applied for Shark Tank (I’m a huge fan), and headed out into the world on my own. I gave myself one year. I figured if I couldn't turn a profit in that amount of time, it just wasn't meant to be - and I would shut it all down.
So we did the only thing we knew how to do. We hustled. We spent long nights agonizing over every detail of the business. I taught myself how to code, learned how to wield a camera, redesigned our website (twice), and re-built our products to make them even better. We learned the ins and outs of social media, poured our hearts into a weekly behind-the-scenes email newsletter, and manned the customer support queue at all hours of the day (and night).
We launched version 2.0 of our best selling product, the Single Edge razor. We drastically improved the shaving experience, upgraded our supply chain, and debuted three new colors (two with titanium coated finishes). We launched a Kickstarter campaign in 12 days - filming, editing, and designing the campaign in house, just the two of us. And then our backers blew us away by raising over $250K for the campaign in 45 days.
So we hustled more. We cranked up production, hired (and then fired) a local fulfillment warehouse, hit the Christmas market circuit, and told everybody we could about our company and products. We got some love in the press, introduced some exciting new products (here, here, here), and recruited our family to help us fold boxes and pack orders.
On a personal front, we were unbelievably thrilled to welcome our newest member of the team into the world, thanks to the graciousness of God and the amazing ability of doctors today (we figured quitting my job was a perfect time to start the IVF process, right?).
So here we are one year later, and we've blown every goal we set out of the water. No, scratch that - you've blown every goal out of the water. We've always believed that you are the engine that makes this train run. We're merely the conductors. So in perhaps the understatement of the century, allow us to take this time to say thank you. Thank you for believing in our vision, putting up with our mistakes (like that time I emailed thousands of you about a rewards program that didn't even exist), and pushing us to keep going.
Because the point isn't us. It's you. We take this business one day at a time. And whether we're here one more year - or one-hundred (my hope is the latter), we will measure our success based on the number of lives we impacted for the better. Not by the amount of money in our bank account, number of products we sold, or number of celebrities that endorse us (so far zero, but please get in touch Jeff Goldblum).
So here's to one more year. Tim Ferriss (the great) once said, What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. We've found that to be absolutely true every step of the way. And our plan for 2018 is to do a lot more things that scare us.
We hope you'll consider doing the same. Trust us, it's worth it.