Why keep a small army of backpacks cluttering your closet?
Grab a pack from ODD and keep one backpack that transforms into whatever you need it to be
To find out more behind how ODD got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews ODD co-founders Andrew Wheatley & Tim Sherry
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with ODD founder Andrew Wheatley & Tim Sherry. ODD is a bag company that makes a bag that can transform into the perfect pack for your everyday needs whether it’s commuting, travel, day trips, or long wild hikes. Co-founders Dana Buice, Tim Sherry, and Andrew Wheatley began to build ODD as a grad school project. With an incredible team synergy and a never before seen product idea, their modest project soon snowballed into something truly unique; a one-of-a-kind, and game changing bags for those adventure inbetweeners stuck on the 9-5 grind during the week who ditch the day to day monotony and escape into nature on the weekends. Now their dynamite eco-friendly swappable adventure backpack system is on the rise. Where they’ll end up? Well, you’ll have to hear their story to find out!
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out ODD’s website
- Shop for an ODD pack of your own
- More about The Quiver and how the system works
- The IndieGoGo campaign that launched ODD
- Follow ODD on Facebook, Instagram
What do you do and how did you come up with the idea of ODD?
ANDREW: We’re a bag company, I guess accessories if you want to put it into that category. We came up with the idea of ODD during school, the three founders Tim, myself (Andrew), and the shorter member of our crew, Dana… We were in school together and tasked with putting together a brand and product and we thought it was really viable. By the end of school we decided we really worked well together and shot off into the IndieGoGo campaign hustle…”
Did you always know you wanted to take the entrepreneurial route?
TIM: “For me I got the entrepreneurial bug from my dad. He’s been a small business for most of my life so I’ve just been around that community and attracted to that hardworking lifestyle and being your own boss…”
ANDREW: “For me I just don’t really like working for someone else…”
What is your background?
ANDREW: “I grew up in Michigan. I have a background in engineering and dabbled in sustainability and sustainable design. I realized my career wasn’t going the way I wanted to and that’s what made me move out west… As far as outdoor product I think my parents will probably continue to tell me this until the day I die that, I always wanted to design that type of stuff from snowboards, bikes, all that from a young age…”
TIM: “I grew up in San Luis Obispo, California which just has a big outdoor culture in terms of running and cycling so I just kind of grew up doing that kind of stuff with my parents… My background is actually in geology…”
What was the process like prototyping and developing the backpacks?
TIM: “We did quite a bit of designing and development in school and attempting to sew packs ourselves but, Andrew actually had a pretty unique opportunity to go and intern and live at the factory where the packs were made…”
ANDREW: “As far as the internship goes our school kind of set us up with really awesome internships and I lucked out and got to go to the Philippines to a factory called Dong In. They make all the major outdoor brand backpacks… so these guys really know what they’re doing and we had an in with one of founders and they basically let me have the keys to the shop for a couple months… As far as the idea behind the backpack goes, out in Portland we had all been living here for at least a year by the time we had really dug down into the idea of our bag and what we wanted. Everyone out here lives this kind of duel life where during the week everyone's bike commuting that hipster weird lifestyle and whatnot and the moment Friday hits you drop into a different city and there’s no one here and they’re all out in the woods…”
Did you run into any roadblocks while developing your product?
ANDREW: “I think from a development side of it I had a lot of grand aspirations going in and I think it boiled down to figuring out what we wanted in the bag. For example, the hip pack thing, I remember that being a point of contention in the team, whether we wanted or not to have a consistent hip pack on the frame itself where you always have a hip belt or you wanted it on the bag…”
How do you keep sustainability front of mine in regards to ODD?
TIM: “My philosophy is the longer you can make a product last the more sustainable it is, just keeping things out of the landfill in general. On a material side of things initially we were using leftover scrap fabric that the factory had. A dirty secret of the sports industry is, with leftover product factories will either burn or bury it. It’s very bad for the environment and we were able to save this fabric from being destroyed by getting our backpacks made…”
ANDREW: “For sustainability it always comes down to the denominator being days used or hours used. No matter what you’re putting into it, it's going to cost energy and materials so… Just being realistic with what you can do with the standard of outdoor gear when people expect a certain level of quality when it comes to material but, also expect some sustainability; trying to meet them in the middle becomes a good option…”
What is it like working full time then building ODD at night?
TIM: “If we’re going to be honest it’s extremely difficult… During my lunch break I can answer emails when they come in. It’s a lot of responding to things when I get home, prepping packs to ship at night…”
ANDREW: “I have a lot more respect for people who do stuff after work, outside of their jobs after doing this…”
What’s been the hardest part about starting and building ODD?
TIM: “I think the hardest thing was that we messed up our lead times. We had to do a last minute design review with the factory again to make sure everything was ready to go and that added two months minimum. We ended up fulfilling way later than we had promised…”
ANDREW: “Now of course I do that for a fulltime job, I do product development. That’s my life now I do product timelines. I think back to how we did it, not placing a PO on time and most production lead times are three months, not including it sitting on a boat for three weeks. What were we thinking!...”
What are your greatest fears in regards to ODD?
ANDREW: “I wouldn’t say fears but, more general anxiety that’s just always there. Letting these guys down or a lot of your friends pitched in money for this and if you can’t get to a certain point, I don’t know, you gotta save face, right?...”
TIM: “I definitely agree with Andrew, just social acceptance…The scariest moment was clicking launch on the IndieGoGo campaign. I was shaking when we clicked that button because then it was out there in the world...”
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a business?
TIM: “I think my biggest piece of advice would be on the networking side of things and finding a group of people that have that shared experience because, whatever you’re going through with the business someone else has been there before…”
ANDREW: “We have a lot of great resources here as far as start ups in Portland which is great. I think for me, advice would be a road map and timeline. I think we were a little naive about how complex timelines and launching stuff would be. We did a pretty good job but, we could have done more…”
What’s the best part about running ODD?
TIM: “This is going to seem super cliche but, I will get messages from people who bought the pack saying they love it. Every time I get that it’s like a little fist bump in the air…”
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