Johnathan Baker’s entrepreneurial success story is exactly why we here at Springbot come into the office every day.
For 15 years, Jonathan worked as a freelance product designer in Boston, working to create well-known outdoor products that many of us have probably used. He designed tents, camping stoves and helmets for lacrosse and hockey players, among a host of other items. It was a job he loved.
But when his favorite client got acquired, Jonathan felt it was time for a change. “I saw that my best work was behind me,” he said.
Having always been attracted to the West, he moved to Washington and started looking for work at outdoor companies in Seattle. While the opportunities were there, Jonathan wasn’t entirely comfortable with the approach some brands were taking. Copying each other’s work was the standard, and many were racing to get their products manufactured in China for as cheaply as possible. It was time for a big change.
Jonathan and his wife packed up their lives and finally settled in Twisp, 200 miles northeast of Seattle with a population of 919, to start their lives over and try to make the world a better place from a small town.
“I started thinking about what I could actually make that the whole human race could use – that everyone from my Aunt Linda to the farmer to the Microsoft executive could use,” he recalled. “I gave myself a year to figure it out.”
His lightbulb moment came in 2013, when he opened his closet and a pile of reusable cloth bags spilled out.
“All of these are junk,” he thought. “I don’t like any of them. My L.L. Bean one I kind of like, but it’s stained and nasty and gross. What if we made the modern version of this?”
At the time, some cities were starting to ban plastic bags, and people were waking up to the idea of reusable grocery bags. However, consumers were also learning that their reusable cotton bags were not much better as a replacement. Single-use plastics are bad, but cotton bags have to be reused 7,000 times to have the same cumulative environmental impact as a plastic bag.
Jonathan, an avid whitewater rafter, thought about the dry bag he’d been taking on river trips since he was a teenager. It had held up for more than 25 years. Why not take that material and use it for reusable tote bags?
Since incorporating in 2014, Jonathan’s new company Eqpd has sold thousands of bags. The company employs seven people who make 30 different products in their small headquarters. But the LastBag is their top seller.
Eqpd started working with Springbot earlier this year. Jonathan had a lot of loyal customers, but he understood that most of the country had never heard of his company. Through Springbot, he’s starting to use prospecting tools to expand his customer base.
We work hard every day to support small businesses and help them compete against bigger retailers with bigger marketing budgets. But many Springbot employees are avid fans and loyal customers of the businesses we work with every day. So when it came time to pick year-end holiday gift for the entire company, Eqpd’s LastBags were at the top of the list. This week, we’re giving out custom-designed Springbot-branded bags to our 100+ employees, and we can’t wait to start seeing them out and about in Atlanta. Our team is excited knowing that their work supports and contributes to Eqpd’s mission.
Meanwhile, Jonathan couldn’t be more enthusiastic about where his life is going: “My best work is no longer behind me.”