Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Kane.
Daniel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always hated having a bulky wallet in my back pocket and when I was in college, I started to use a rubber band around my cards and ID. I realized that it didn’t take a ton to carry the few items I frequently used. But, carrying around a rubber band of course looks pretty sloppy, and when I visited my parents during a break from school my Dad gave me a hard time about it.
I didn’t want to carry a rubber band around anymore but didn’t want to have to use the bifold I had been using, so my Father and I started to look and see what other solutions were on the market. We wanted to find some sort of middle ground between a nice sleek product that actually has substance but that also solves the issue of slimming down what you need to carry with you everyday and kind of get rid of that traditional dad bulky leather wallet.
When we couldn’t find something we liked, we decided to look into designing it ourselves. My dad found a local blacksmith who handmade our first couple of designs. I would use them for a few weeks and make some tweaks based on my personal experience with them. Once we found something that was close to perfect, we decided to do a Kickstarter to bring the design to the masses.
The Kickstarter was a big hit- raising over $200k, and the demand didn’t stop there. We fulfilled those orders, opened an online shop, and now we have gone on to sell over 1 million wallets worldwide in the past five years.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think every road has its bumps. At first it was just me, my dad, and my best friend doing everything from design to fulfillment to customer service. The first 150,000 wallets or so were packed, labeled, and mailed by yours truly!
I remember back when we were shipping out the Kickstarter I had to package 15,000 wallets in one weekend. I thought I would be able to save time by printing all of the labels first and then packaging them up. But it turns out I accidentally put the labels in the wrong side, so they wouldn’t stick to the packages and all 15,000 were basically useless. I wasted $300 in printer ink, 15,000 sticky labels, and about 12 hours of time.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Ridge specializes in high-quality everyday essentials, designed with minimal design for maximum utility. Think of what you use and carry with you everyday—phone, keys, wallet, etc. We want to make the way you carry those things as streamlined and functional as possible.
We are really known for our top-selling Ridge Wallet, a slim, front pocket wallet that has the same dimensions as a credit card but can expand to fit up to 15 cards comfortably.
People know that when they buy one of our products they can count on durability and quality, and all of our wallets have a lifetime guarantee so people can be really confident in a ‘buy it once, buy it right’ mentality with us.
I’m most proud of the culture we have been able to build. We have around ten employees now and I’d like to think every one of them would say this is the best job they have ever had. I wanted to learn from all of the bad jobs we’ve had before, and learn how we can take the bad parts of those cultures and improve them to make this the best place to work in LA.
How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
Success for me is being proud of what I create. Whether that is making a new backpack line or building a new porch at my house, success is just knowing I have built the best version of whatever it is that I’m seeking to create.
Sometimes I will spend three months on a new product just to scrap the idea because it’s not the best version on the market. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel just to add features no one is asking for. We want to make something that’s actually better than the current options and when I do that, that’s when I feel successful.
- Ridge Wallet $75
- Website: www.ridgewallet.com
- Instagram: @ridgewallet