The ReddyYeti Podcast EP: #40 Adventure Mat - Keep your feet clean in the backcountry. Founder Ralph Kuhlmeier Sharing His Story

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Adventure Mat
 

Sick and tired of cold wet feet ruining your adventure?
 

Ditch the dirty socks and grab an Adventure Mat


To find out more behind how Adventure Mat got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Adventure Mat co-founder, Ralph Kuhlmeier

More about the episode...
 

Josh sits down with Adventure Mat co -founder Ralph Kuhlmeier. To no surprise many of the best inventions and ideas are born through necessity. For Ralph Kulhmeier, Adventure Mat is no different. During a long road trip, Ralph got fed up with dirty socks and no proper place to change in the backcountry. Fast forward a year and Adventure Mat is born, bringing a clean slate (literally) to the outdoor sport industry. Join us in this week’s podcast and we chat about how Ralph came up with such a simple solution to a seemingly inevitable problem.


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Show Notes

 

  • What is Adventure Mat?

    • “It’s a great little platform that’s very easy to use. The beauty of it is it’s very easy to fold and unfold back together again. The dirty bottom side never touches the top…”

  • How did you come up with Adventure Mat?

    • “In 2015 I did a lot of road tripping and for some reason I was using these other options again. I felt there had to be a better way…”

  • How did you get into the outdoor world?

    • “When I moved into the States in ‘98 one of my friends, here in Denver, took me mountain biking at Vail one day. I think that’s when I got hooked. It started with mountain biking…”

  • What did you do before Adventure Mat?

    • My main career was in business software consulting, implementing large software platforms for global companies…”

Adventure Mat
  • What was the prototyping process for developing Adventure Mat?

    • “A lot of the early days were just seeing what I could come up with with...when they first started taking shape and had a basic concept that I was happy with, I started working with machine shops to develop more refined prototypes…”

  • How long did this process take you?

    • “It’s probably been a year of design work…”

  • What made you guys decide to use Kickstarter?

    • “I love the idea of Kickstarter, I thought it would be a really great way to vent the concept of the product. It was clear to me early on, if I was trying to launch the product on Kickstarter…”

  • What made you choose Kickstarter over Indiegogo?

    • “I think from my research it looks like Kickstarter is a little more mature and gear towards outdoor gear and products…”

  • What’s next for Adventure Mat?

    • The next big thing is to make the first batch of inventory that I can supply all the orders we have gotten from Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We have customers from 20 different countries who’ve ordered Adventure Mats...Once we have gotten through that we will start to sell direct on our website…”

  • Have you had any mentors along your journey?

    • “I haven't really had one specific mentor. I’ve engaged and collaborate with a lot of my close friends that have different business experiences…”

  • What kind of advice did you receive?

    • How to manage the shipping cost and how you manage shipping price. You need to be really careful with kickstarter, if you don’t architect your pricing very consciously you can land on having a successful campaign and then end up losing a lot of money…”

  • What kind of marketing did you use to build an audience for Adventure Mat?

    • “I launched a website fairly early on. We used that to try and acquire some emails, which was very difficult to do for a product that’s not on the market yet. We ran a giveaway that was fairly successful. At the end of the day, to really build a really big following would take a lot of time…I relied on a lot of the Kickstarter community to help share and grow our audience...”

Adventure Mat
  • What has been your commitment to sustainability?

    • “We are right now doing some testing with a tire manufacturing company that produces scrap from new tires. The potential opportunity there is that we use their scrap to make Adventure Mat…”

  • What is an average day like with Adventure Mat like?

    • “I don’t think their are too many average days. I have some days where I’m waiting on manufacturing and I’m out using the Adventure Mat. Other days I’ll be on calls with the manufacture or someone who’s involved in sourcing…”

  • What would you say has been one of the hardest parts in building Adventure Mat?

    • “I think the typical challenges with small business is finding manufacturers...and another one is everything I can’t do I have to end up hiring someone…”

  • What has been some of your greatest fears in building Adventure Mat?

    • I think my biggest fear is that Adventure Mat doesn’t become a bestseller...that’s really my only worry…”

  • What have been some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made with Adventure Mat?

    • “A couple of things that happened is I didn’t realize I had to renew my Godaddy subscription and domain URL… I’ve probably wasted way too much money on facebook advertising...I probably had a bit too high expectations for ROI…”

  • What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a business in the outdoor sport industry?

    • “One of the things I’d say is give it a full shot...at the same time if you can afford it make sure you have a bit of cash hidden away or put aside so, if your success is delayed a little bit you don’t stress...Get a lot of feedback on the idea as soon as possible... founders and inventors can be very biased about our ideas…”

  • Where do you see Adventure Mat headed into the future?

    • “I see us growing the product portfolio with some additional, cool, useful products and, I envision us hiring a few great, talented people…”

  • What other ideas or markets are you thinking of breaking into?

    • “Right now I’m focusing on more products for a similar market but, for now I’m going to keep those ideas close to my chest…”

  • What is the best part about running Adventure Mat?

    • “It’s really the freedom. The freedom to decide what you want to spend your time on, what you want to work on and, when you want to do it…It’s allowed me to integrate work and what I love to do in the outdoors...”

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