Today on Show 050 we are interviewing Hamilton Perkins
Hamilton Perkins Collection uses recycled plastic bottles to manufacture travel bag canvas and recycled vinyl billboard material for the duffle bag lining.
Hamilton Perkins is the founder and President of Hamilton Perkins Collection, an e-commerce retailer, offering designer travel bags at an affordable price while holding the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
What are we going to learn today: how Hamilton came up with his idea, what problem he was solving and testing the product concept. We are going to talk sales and marketing and find out how he does it! From manufacturing to distribution.
The Hamilton Perkins Collection has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Money Magazine. Now on the Listenup Show!
Prior to starting Hamilton Perkins Collection, he was the winner of the 2016 Virginia Velocity Tour business pitch competition hosted by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What other things do we learn –
How Hamilton came up with the business idea to solve this problem.
Hamilton Perkins was preparing to travel to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Madrid and Athens with classmates in his executive MBA program when he came across a problem: He couldn’t find the right carry-on bag.
They were either too flimsy, too impractical or too mainstream. So he decided to create his own.
How to build a successful crowdfunding campaign with kickstarter.
Hamilton raised: $14,329 of a $10,000 goal (as of July 14). The campaign began June 30 and ended July 30.
The unique bag making manufacturing process and his successful experience in creating an environmentally sustainable product and supply chain.
At Hamilton Perkins Collection the travel bags, line of duffel bags and backpacks are actually made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles and lined with vinyl from repurposed billboards. Each bag is different, unique.
How Hamilton Perkins got his Collection into the Department stores.
How he tested the idea before launching.
Perkins began setting up focus groups with family members and friends to get their ideas about what they wanted in a bag. He also searched Twitter for ideas and combed through hundreds of one-star luggage reviews on Amazon.com to get a sense of common customer complaints. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, owns The Washington Post.)
“No one is as serious or as truthful about something until they’re mad about a purchase,” Perkins said. “Customer reviews are a world of their own. They contain so much information.”
Eventually, a theme emerged in his research: “The main things we kept coming up with were duffel bag and backpack, backpack and duffel bag,” Perkins said. “That, and people wanted something that was unique.”
He decided to combine those three things and designed a bag that doubles as both duffel and backpack. (Picture a traditional duffel bag with backpack straps on the bottom. The bag has a three-way zipper so its contents can be accessed from either the top of the bag or its side, and all straps can be zipped away when not in use.)
Perkins researched different types of material, too, and teamed up with Thread International, a company that makes fabric using recycled materials, for his first prototype. The fabric on the outside of the bag is made of recycled plastic bottles, while the inside of each bag is created from repurposed vinyl from old billboards. A factory in Oregon makes each bag.
“Personally, I think the days of everyone buying the same cookie-cutter product are over,” Perkins said. “People want things that are unique and special.”
Perkins has already invested more than $25,000 of his savings into the one-man company and says he was looking for a way to get the word out about his bag.
He set a $10,000 goal on Kickstarter and was surprised when the money began rolling in right away. Within a week, he’d met his goal.
“You really don’t know what’s going to happen on a site like that,” he said. “This could have done great or it could have bombed.”
Luckily for Perkins, it was the former. About halfway through his campaign, he has raised nearly $15,000 from 100 backers. A $95 pledge gets donors a duffel bag, while $295 gets them the company’s convertible backpack.
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Perkins said it will take until December to manufacture his first batch of 1,000 bags for Kickstarter backers. From there, he plans to add four more colors to his line-up and eventually look into creating other products.
“There are a lot of interesting things going on with technology and fabrics, so we could look into integrating conductive fabric into our products or making it possible for them to communicate with smartphones and other devices,” he said. “Bags are just a starting point.”
Hamilton was an Investment Advisor at Merrill Lynch and, earlier, worked as an Analyst at Bank of America.
He has also served in a leadership capacity with various non-profit organizations and has been recognized for his volunteer work and service hours assisting low-income populations.
Hamilton is also a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post.
has hosted trunk shows at Bloomingdale’s
was a financial planner for Merrill Lynch.
Lives Norfolk, Va.
He is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a degree in Business Administration and he earned his M.B.A. from William and Mary.
Turning Trash Into Fashion
In 2014, I thought carefully about my quest to find a unique and socially responsible backpack. It all started when I was having a personal problem while earning my MBA at William and Mary. I was planning to travel on global immersion experiences to Asia and Europe and felt that my options to find a bag that I could be proud to carry were severely limited.
Before the vision to turn plastic bottles into bags at Hamilton Perkins Collection, we simply were not satisfied with the selections available in the growing global bag market. We came to the industry from a customer’s point of view and we sought to use this as an advantage.
In the beginning, we thought a lot about establishing a for-profit organization that would be driven by social progress. We thought that this could be the catalyst to support the vision for building a better bag. We surveyed friends, family, and prospects to understand the market opportunity and saw a big gap between the ubiquitous bags that sold for less than $100 and the high-end luxury bags that sold for north of $500.
Additionally, we were passionate about solving problems and noticed first hand the modern inconvenience of waste in the form of plastic bottles. At the time it just seemed as if the benefits of recycling were not fully addressing concerns in our everyday lives. Moreover, we saw how this affected social and environmental issues and we knew we had to start building our proposition around carrying a bag that looks good and that makes a difference.
A key finding from our research was that most bags were one dimensional, not giving the traveler the option to choose the version of the bag that was most suitable for them. We formed our thesis around the pain points that our focus groups were voicing to us and turned to one star Amazon reviews and algorithms for deeper unfiltered data.
We developed the Hamilton Perkins Collection Earthbag, an all-in-one convertible backpack made out of recycled plastic bottles and lined with vinyl from repurposed billboards. The Hamilton Perkins Collection Earthbag features a 3-way zippered compartment that allows easy access to laptops, books, and travel documents.
Our bags are the perfect pick if you’re looking for the right blend of style and function.
1. Recycled Plastic Bottles – Hamilton Perkins Collection Earthbags are the world’s first impactful and transparent bags: made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles.
2. Repurposed Billboards – The Hamilton Perkins Collection Earthbags are lined with repurposed billboard vinyl. Each bag’s lining is different, each bag is unique.
3. Design, transparency, and impact – Hamilton Perkins Collection bags reduce waste, cut carbon emissions in the environment, and conserve water.
A New Perspective
Fast forward to 2016, Hamilton Perkins Collection earned its status as a Certified B Corporation® by offering designer travel bags at an affordable price, while holding the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Starting at $95, we are proud to make exceptional products that make a difference one bag at a time.
Design and function are two driving forces behind our product line. Our approach to design has been customer-centric from day one. We take great pride in seeing the world from the customer’s point of view first and then taking it upon ourselves to be the change that we seek. We prototype and ideate dynamically to find what works for the traveler and what doesn’t.
We get excited about making something that doesn’t exist and seeing it bring change and make a difference. At the end of the day, it’s about people for us and when they trust us to design the bag that they carry we don’t take the opportunity lightly. Our level of care sets us apart in a market where there are so many options to choose from.
Hamilton Perkins Collection was born out of a simple necessity: the need for affordable designer bags that look good, perform well and make a difference.
Similar to many travelers in the world we had trouble finding a socially conscious bag that met our basic needs in a practical and responsible way. We researched the industry and found that most options were average quality. The majority of the bag makers maintain low prices with high levels of secrecy around how they can achieve it. Other bags are excellent quality and their cost is way too much for the price. What is available to the modern traveler looking to find purpose in every journey?
We founded Hamilton Perkins Collection to be an alternative.
We stripped down the traditional walls of the retail world and invited our customers to share their comments and thoughts with us in a way not previously feasible. We interviewed countless travelers to start new authentic relationships and they told us how we could best serve their needs when re-engineering a classic travel bag.
Most brands look at philanthropy and giving as an afterthought but we see it as an essential part of running a business today.
In collaboration with our workshops and suppliers, we are committed to supporting fair wages and delivering value to less developed nations by sourcing raw materials that divert thousands of plastic bottles, save water, add revenue, and create jobs in parts of the world that need it the most. We track our progress and submit to rigorous third party review to ensure accuracy and accountability.
With billions of plastic bottles thrown away each year, the average person still throws away as much as 180 pounds of plastic in the same period of time. It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. We address these issues by partnering with organizations like Thread, to turn trash into fashion with every bag we sell.
When you buy our bags, together we reduce waste levels, cut carbon emissions, conserve water – and create jobs.
Change is a funny thing. We’ve experienced change and its many benefits by carrying the Earthbag in our everyday lives. We have sparked lifestyle adjustments that were not evident until examining a simple travel bag. Although we successfully funded our debut Kickstarter campaign in under a week and were selected a Kickstarter “Project We Love” you can still reserve a Hamilton Perkins Collection Earth Bag until July 29, 2016, and learn more about how our epiphany is changing lives.
Follow us on Snapchat: hamiltonperkins
For the members of a generation raised on instant gratification, it can be difficult to see the benefits of recycling. After all, how do we really know where those plastic bottles go after we’ve separated them? Hamilton Perkins has an answer — they go into designer travel bags that are as sleek as they are safe for the environment.
Reaching its Kickstarter goal in under a week, Hamilton Perkins and its 100-percent eco-friendly bags promise luxury at an affordable price, “while holding the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Every bag from this green atelier is made from recycled plastic bottles, but that’s not where the reusing ends. The lining of all Hamilton Perkins bags is made of repurposed billboards, and while each bag is unique and different (no really, look inside), they all share the same green DNA.
Designed to reduce waste levels, cut carbon emissions in the environment, and conserve water, these bags are a purchase you don’t have to feel bad about. And because they start at just $95, your wallet probably won’t be too offended either.
The company’s signature Earth bag is branded as an “all-in-one bag that converts into a backpack or duffle bag.” With its three-way zippered compartment, you can easily access laptops, books, travel documents, and more.
Noting that the average person throws away up to 180 pounds of plastic in a year, Hamilton Perkins looked to turn trash into fashion with each of its products. “In collaboration with our workshops and suppliers, we committed to supporting fair wages and delivering value to less developed nations by sourcing raw materials that divert plastic bottles, save water, add revenue, and create jobs in parts of the world that need it the most,” the company says on its Kickstarter page. “We track our progress and submit to rigorous third-party review to ensure accuracy and accountability.”
So if you’re looking for a new bag for your vacation season this summer, Hamilton Perkins just may be your solution.
Special thanks to Daniel Zhu, Operations department for team Hamilton Perkins Collection. He told me that the company produces one of the world’s first impactful and ethical designer bags made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and billboard vinyl. The Hamilton Perkins Collection Earth bag reduces waste levels, cuts carbon emissions in the environment, and conserves water.
I’m writing on behalf of Hamilton, the company founder, to ask if you would consider having him as a guest on your podcast. He would love the opportunity to discuss the unique bag making process and his successful experience in creating an environmentally sustainable product and supply chain.
Wrap up round:
facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAMILTONPERKINS/
youtube video https://youtu.be/ESwySLVaDEk
Let us know if you are interested, and we can have a quick phone call. I’ve included my contact information below. Thank you for your consideration.
YouTube Channel Platform: mitchellchadrow.com/youtube
tags: recycled plastic bottles, travel bags, designer t-shirts, manufacturing process, crowdfunding, recycled vinyl billboards, minimum lovable product, minimal viable product