The ReddyYeti Podcast EP: 15 Nozipp Sleeping Bags - Never have your zipper snag again - Founder Taylor Henderson Sharing His Story

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Nozipp Sleeping bag

Nozipp Sleeping Bags

Fed up of zipper snags trapping you in your sleeping bag?

Lose the zipper and upgrade to a magnetic closure system (I mean, come on it’s 2016 sheesh)

More about the episode...

Josh sits down with Taylor Henderson the founder of Nozipp Sleeping bags. Nozipp sleeping bags, based out of L.A, was started in 2014 when Taylor found himself locked in a grudge match against the zipper on his sleeping bag. Since then he’s sought to pursue and easier way to enjoy the comfort of a sleeping bag, thus creating the first no zipp, magnetic entry sleeping bag. After countless iterations he finally found the perfect recipe for a sleeping bag that will stay closed, let you dump heat when you need to, and never snag when trying to escape your camping cacoon. From there he took his game changing idea to the internet and went on to run a successful Kickstarter campaign to get Nozipp off the ground and has been at it ever since.

 

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  • What is Nozipp and how does it stand apart from other sleeping bag brands

    • “We’re primarily a sleeping bag company and, our biggest difference is that we’re the only company with a magnetic closure system. So we get you all snuggled just snapping in with magnets instead of zippers…”

  • What is your background?

    • “I’m a civil engineer by trade. I’ve been a successful engineer for about 10 years. If you’ve ever been to LA you’ve probably driven or parked or landed on a project I’ve worked on.

  • How did you get drawn into adventure traveling?

    • “When I was growing up my parents always instilled a sense of adventure...I think it was 2010 I decided to give up my engineering job for a year and I ended up driving a motorcycle from LA to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. Ever since that trip I’ve probably been a little too addicted to traveling…”

  • What kind of prototyping did you do for Nozipp?

    • “I’d say the first 6 months was prototyping with magnet strength… I did all that by myself with my mothers sowing machine… eventually I hired somebody from makersrow.com…”

  • What pushed you guys to jump on a kickstarter campaign?

    • “...Kickstarter was the easy choice, just because they drive a lot of traffic to the site...It’s a good source of eyeballs and it’s super low risk...I really like the presale model and as long as I don’t burn any of my backers, it works…”

  • What’s something about Nozipp that no one knows?

    • “Our business model is direct from consumer… By doing direct to consumer we can save a lot of cost and with that we can provide an ultra competitive price to our customers…”

  • How does Nozipp compare to your standard mummy bag?

    • “We’re 4oz heavier...the way we can make up for that is direct to consumer pricing. If you found something with our comparable specs you might find it for $350 but with us you can snag it for $300…There’s no getting around it, magnets are heavier than zippers...”

  • What is your commitment to sustainability?

    • “For a time we were using allied feather which is the biggest down sourcing feather company however, we made a switch after I visited the factory in China… With that, we make sure our down is not from live pluck or anything like that and also make sure there are treatment facilities on site…”

  • What kind of mentors had you had with Nozipp?

    • “A lot of it is online. Blogs and podcasts and all that kind of stuff you get from doing your own research and stuff that you think fits well into your business model. For me personally I really like the book the ‘E-Myth Revisited’…”

    • “Our number one mentor is one of my friends… He’s actually working on Hyperloop and doing new advanced stuff within the engineering field…”

  • How do you manage your business as a one person operation?

    • “It’s kind of tough being a one man show but, it’s super nice in one respect because you get to make all the decisions...On the other hand there are things that I’m not as strong with...it’s really learning to be the best at everything whether it’s tinkering around with the website or tinkering around with google adwords…”

  • What have you done to build awareness around Nozipp?

    • “It’s a lot of grass roots marketing...We basically start with an email list to get the awareness out there. We decided to give out three bags to our top three sharers and, it ended up being that our top three sharers all went through facebook groups on backpacking and pacific crest trail...it ended up garnering a lot of email sign ups for us…”

  • What was the hardest part about starting Nozipp?

    • “I’d say probably the stress… If you want to invite stress and fear and anything you don’t want in your life just start a business…”

    • “Being out on a limb is really the toughest part, there’s no safety net there’s no one to tell you, you messed up...in the end it is pretty rewarding when you get that good review from a customer…”

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

    • “I think we could have priced it better from the start as far as the kickstarter campaign goes...I thought a really good feature set would matter more but since sleeping bags are a commodity you’ve gotta hit your competitive specs, so the weight, the price, and the temperature range has to be ultra competitive…”

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

    • “Just build prototypes. The number one thing that I’ve learned is turning over prototypes...if you can really turn down those prototype times you can really just launch something quicker…”

  • What was the process for evolving Nozipp prototypes

    • “The first bag came back and it was like a regular rectangular full flap-bag. It proved the point and that’s all I really wanted to do. Can I get in and this snap shut and if I roll around will it stay shut?”

    • “Each revision we got a little better...Optimizing the material choice for the materials on the inside and outside, optimizing the down used in the manufacturing...little minor design tweaks that really help the user experience end up making the difference…”

  • What kind of magnets do you use and why did you pick them for Nozipp?

    • “We use neodymium magnets...they were developed in the 80’s for the American car industry so they’ve been popping up in new uses all over the place. What’s really great about them is that they’re strong...we’ve had to optimize spacing so that we save on weight but also that the magnets fastened properly…”

  • Where do you see Nozipp headed in the future?

    • “When I started the business I was hoping to launch new products every 6 months which I knew was a torrid pace, designing the business as a solo entrepreneur… I think we’re probably not going to hit that pace...but really we have to have a full range of options since it’s such a personal choice...someone in alaska isn’t going to want the same sleeping back as someone in florida…”

  • What made you decide to not raise money and bootstrap Nozipp

    • “Being able to have a career before hand was totally key. Being successful there gave me confidence to just take a shot at it. The reason to bootstrap is because you don’t want 100% of the company, so if you need to you can send off equity if you need more runway…”

    • “I think it’s easier and you don’t have to answer to investors...it’s all on me...”

  • What would you say is the best part about running Nozipp?

    • “The freedom. Running your own business is pretty phenomenal in that respect because you can just take time off when you need to and go to work when you need to...”

  • What’s the average day like at Nozipp?

    • “It’s kind of what I did before, it’s the office 9-5...Get up, make a giant pot of coffee, jump on the computer, and either start designing or start optimizing web pages...there’s a million things to optimize that conversion funnel on the website that I can be doing...A lot of it’s sitting at the computer balance books, and then hopefully on the weekends I can watch some football or go somewhere to Joshua Tree or somewhere close…”

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