Bubba Albrecht doesn’t take creating a new product lightly.
Product creation at Give’r, where Albrecht is CEO and founder, is slow, a trial-and-error process that slowly builds without being speedy.
“The hope has been as we’ve progressed,” he said, “especially in these specific products, is that by the time we get there we’ll be able to just start rolling.”
Albrecht and his small team aren’t trying to keep up with the Patagonias and the Black Diamonds of the outdoor gear world, churning out new lines of products each season. Rather, they have a “dream list” of pieces they’d like to create, and they work on them when the opportunity arises or the creative bug bites.
Last summer they introduced a new product that Albrecht thinks is ready to take off this fishing season: the Wyo Magnet Hat. It is a new spin on their Wyoming Trout Trucker Hat, which features a patch on the front with a stylized trout broken into four pieces.
The new hat, which costs $30, includes a magnet sewn in behind the patch, meant for anglers to affix their flies to, saving them from pricking tiny holes in the brim every time they go fishing.
“We’ve had so much positive feedback from anglers,” Albrecht said.
The magnetic hat epitomizes Give’r’s product development strategy: The original design was from one the brand’s ambassadors, Ben Miller, who wanted a hat for a family trip, and over several years Albrecht added new colors to the line before making the final tweak and adding the magnet.
According to the Small Business Administration, about half of small businesses last five years and only a third last a decade. But judging by the towering boxes of products and stacks of order forms strewn around its East Jackson office, Give’r has many more to go as it heads into its sixth year. Albrecht attributed the success to careful product development.
“Originally, we couldn’t launch a new T-shirt unless we could sell enough of them,” he said. “So that kind of made us feel it had to be something we were fired up about.”
Albrecht and his operations whiz, Will “Skipper” Phelan, are pushing for another new product release this summer. Since entering the technical layer business with the All Sport line, Phelan and Albrecht have strived for the perfect multisport midweight layer.
Their first crack at the midweight All Sport hoodie is sold out, but it gave them a jumping-off point. The “2.0,” as Albrecht called it, has been through several iterations but is nearly finished. When the final adjustments are made, they plan on turning to a familiar method to disseminate the new product.
“We did a Kickstarter with the Four-Season Gloves,” Albrecht said. “We kind of put all of our chips into that program so we could build up the resources.”
That glove also went through several designs before the Kickstarter was launched, giving Albrecht, who was the sole man behind the company at the time, the chance to develop systems and make sure the glove was ready.
As they finalize the upgraded midweight they will have that Kickstarter on their minds, knowing that once they start the campaign they need to be ready in case the orders come in fast.
“The big risk with Kickstarter is that you get behind and you don’t meet your deadline,” Phelan said. “You want to have it pretty dialed.”