brands we love: nomatic
If you’re like us, you’re constantly embarking on any number of pursuits. From your career to your personal life, working towards goals, perfecting a craft, whatever it is, you’re constantly moving and shifting, both literally and figuratively. Here at Rhone, we need gear that’s going to hold up to all of our pursuits and one remains a top pick time and time again: NOMATIC. We connected with NOMATIC Co-Founder, Jacob Durham, to learn more about how NOMATIC got its start, the biggest lessons he and the team have learned in business and where he hopes to see NOMATIC grow in the future.
How was the company founded?
In 2014, 2 cousins, Jon Richards and Jacob Durham didn’t set out to start a business but rather wanted to just try something new in business. We didn’t start with a mission statement, and a product road map, we just wanted to experience business in a new way, and maybe make some extra cash on the side. While researching different ways to launch products we came across Kickstarter. We were excited by the fact that we could get funding through pre-orders and not have to stomach as much financial risk. So after researching the platform we saw that wallets consistently did well time and time again. After 4 months of prototyping 50+ iterations of wallets we ended up with what is now known as the NOMATIC Wallet. We launched it on Kickstarter and raised $170k. Well above our original goal of $10k. So over the following 7 years, we launched 11 more products on Kickstarter and have become a brand known for quality, innovation and design in the travel, photography and everyday carry space.
What problem were you (or are you consistently) trying to solve?
When we created the minimalist wallet we were hoping to create a minimalist wallet that offered one thing no other wallet at that point had done for us, and that was easy access to everything in your wallet. As time has gone on, we have become known for bringing this type of functionality to all the products we launch.
Can you tell us more about the name?
A Nomadic lifestyle is someone who is living life in motion. As a travel and everyday carry brand we support people who are living life on the move. But to us movement is so much more than moving from point A to point B. It’s about constantly moving forward in all aspects of life. We are here to inspire confidence in people who are moving forward in their goals, careers, relationships, hobbies, dreams and so much more. We are about supporting a community of people who want to constantly improve and become more. Those who believe that a life on the move is a life well lived.
Can you tell us more about the actual products themselves?
At NOMATIC we have three pillars that drive our design process: Quality, Innovation, and Function. Every product we have designed we designed from scratch and spent 18-24 months to make sure we got it all just right. We strive to strike a balance between design and function, so that you can feel confident while using our gear.
If you had to pick your top two NOMATIC pieces, what would they be and why?
I’m a photographer, so our latest Everyday Camera Backpack is definitely one of my top picks. And if I am traveling for 1-3 days the Travel Pack would have to be my first choice. The expansions makes it so versatile for whatever I am doing.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? What NOMATIC product would you bring with you?
I love photography, and have always wanted to do a photography trip out to Iceland and capture all the incredible sites out there–that would be incredible. And for that trip I would have to choose the 35L Camera Pack.
What does a brainstorming session at NOMATIC look like? How do you come up with your newest products?
Generally it starts with an appointment on the calendar for 1 hour and ends up lasting about 3-4 hours… haha. Both Jon and I love this process so we are still involved in all product meetings. We spend hours thinking far outside the box, then we create surveys, and actually get on one one one video calls with customers to understand what they want. Then we sketch up hundreds of concepts. Then we talk about the pros and cons of everything. And push back and forth on each other until we end up with something that just feels right. These are the most energizing parts of the business to me, and I think the time and attention we give to this process has made NOMATIC what it is today.
What have been the biggest roadblocks faced in business so far?
It will likely be a similar answer to many brands, but I would have to say COVID 19. Being a company that makes bags for commuting and travel in a time when no one is traveling or communicating, was an interesting time to say the least. We had to rethink our whole company from top to bottom, and fortunately we have ended up stronger than we were before. But it was a trying and difficult time in the thick of it. Grateful for our team that helped us pull through it!
How do you see NOMATIC continuing to grow in the future? What’s next?
We plan to continue to focus in everyday, travel and photography spaces. We have a long road map of future products that we are working on, and can’t wait to continue to create products that inspire confidence in our customers as they live life on the move.
Biggest tips for entrepreneurs or those who might have an idea they’re hesitant to put some momentum behind?
Entrepreneurship is never convenient and it is never easy but it is always worth it. Even if you fail it is still worth it. There is nothing more empowering than taking an idea and giving it everything and watching it come to life. The power to create is one of the most incredible powers that every person has. To not take a shot at it in one form or another would be a shame.
How does NOMATIC support individuals in all of their various daily Pursuits?
Our goal is to create tools that help people spend less time fussing with their gear and more time focusing on the important parts of life. When your life is organized and in order you can perform better. We are here to help people live confidently and to keep moving forward.