Josh interviews Hemetic Trading Co. cofounder Matt McGinnis who talks about the inspiration for starting Hemetic, as well as the culture that drives his business. Hemetic Trading Co. is an American carry good and lifestyle brand based out of Burlington, VT, dedicated to quality and functionality. Hemetic was initially co-founder by Matt McGinnis and Jake Caggige as a response to poorly made bags that were marketed as American companies and manufactured elsewhere. With both Matt and Jake’s background in design and history of entrepreneurship, they collaborate with ease and not only created a driven, detail oriented company, but also a lifestyle brand that practices what it preaches: authenticity, modesty, and above all, quality

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Episode Show Notes 

  • How did you come up with the idea behind Hemetic?

    • Matt and Jake originally created Hemetic as a response to the lack of American made backpacks on the market.

    • “What we found was that there weren’t really that many options, or really any options for what we were trying to buy…?”

    • “We just started talking about how it made sense to step into that role and try to create a brand to fill that void and become that brand of a youth style, made in America, quality product that didn’t seem to exist at the time.”

  • Did you guys know each other from school?

    • Matt and Jake met through a mutual friend while attending Champlain University, and had even had separate apparel brands prior to starting Hemetic Trading Co.

    • They eventually collaborated between their two brands which helped groom their budding partnership.

    • “When I was a senior we collaborated on a project between our two brands at the time…”

  • What Inspired you to get into apparel?

    • They both got their start making T-shirts in high school which gave them a familiarity with the industry, however by the time they got to college their ambitions greatly rose

  • What are your backgrounds in terms of your business

    • Both Matt and Jake have backgrounds are in graphic design

      • Jake handles the production and brand aesthetic aspects of Hemetic

      • Matt handles the business administration and marketing side of Hemetic

    • “I’m more the right brained guy, and he’s more the left brand guy...”

  • How did you guys develop your product?

    • “Through a lot of trial and error of just learning how to sew a backpack. We probably went through at least a dozen iterations of the backpack itself.”

      • Fortunately by being forced to make countless iterations, Matt and

  • What is something unique that no one knows about you, your products, or your business?

    • They have spent a substantial amount of time and resources to dial in the straps to a point where they could boast superior comfort of their product.

    • “That’s just a good example of how our in-house sew and prototyping method, lets us develop our own products that are very unique and you can trust to be comfortable and function.”

  • Do you have a Mentor?

    • Matt and Jake haven’t had one specific mentor, but have immersed themselves in the community of Burlington meeting a huge cast of characters that have helped them hone their craft and support their cause

  • What is your commitment to sustainable manufacturing?

    • Being able to keep the production process of Hemetic Trading Co. is Matt and Jakes is extremely important to them.

    • By keeping production from going overseas, they can better monitor each stage of their production process and ensure that everything is being taken care of ethically, and to the highest standard, while supporting a local economy.

  • Are all your bags manufactured in burlington?

    • “They are mostly manufactured in upstate New York. We do manufacture some stuff in our shop, but it’s mostly the smaller items...”

    • “We got a bunch of wallets, goggle cases and a lot of other small items that we test ideas with and get reactions from customers who walk in...”

  • How many products do you guys manufacture per year?

  • What kind of culture exists in Hemetic Trading Co.

    • “The culture is just knowing that what we’re trying to do takes a lot of persistence and a lot of hard work. Because it is a passion project, it’s not a business that we’ve identified the perfect market, with the perfect product, and the perfect price point. We just really like to make cool products...”

  • What has been the hardest part about starting Hemetic Trading Co.

    • “You’ll have, say 5 products that need to be done. You have to prioritize which ones the most important, which one will give you the best return on your time investment…”

  • Which is your greatest fear and how do you manage it?

    • “I think the greatest fear is probably, what everyone’s greatest fear would be in this, and I think that’s just failing…”

    • “A common theme I always see or recognize, is that people who are successful often have to go through a lot of hard work and trial and error. It doesn’t always happen overnight…”

  • Are you full time with Hemetic Trading Co.?

  • What are some of your biggest mistakes with Hemetic?

    • Matt explains that along the journey there has been a lot of mistakes and errors but nothing to the extent that they could not record

    • “We’ve definitely had some missteps but I think we learn from everything well enough…”

  • What advice would you give to someone that wanted to start a business in the apparel industry

    • “I would say get ready for some hard work…

  • Where do you see Hemetic Trading Co. in the next 5 to 10 years?    

    • “In the next five years, we’ll even out a little bit more and be equal parts carry goods and equal parts apparel and style accessories..”

  • What’s the best part about running Hemeitc

    • “I think that owning your own time is huge…”