Tyler Condie, founder and CEO of Rugged Material, has taken his passion for American made goods and turned it into a business, which has exploded. Within the past 18 months Condie has opened a new workshop and his leather goods – ranging from belts to wallets, even satchels and backpacks – are being shipped worldwide.
“Everyone should have access to American made goods that come with a lifetime guarantee. Typically those items are so outrageously expensive that most people are unable to purchase them. I had to find a way around that,” Condie states. His solution to the problem was to sell directly to his customers online, cutting out the retail markup and therefore saving his customers money. Condie focuses on making products that are not only durable and versatile, but all items are also completely weather resistant.
Rugged Material received its biggest break recently with a campaign on Kickstarter. Condie began his campaign to raise $15,000 and within a few days the goal was reached. By the time the campaign finished, $84,250 was raised. With capital beneath his belt, Condie and his business partner CJ Rowley, who he met in a college math class, were able to upgrade to a new workshop, purchase new equipment and hire a full-time employee. “I have always looked for ways to become self-employed, and now I can be. Creating my own business is giving me the ability to provide for myself and my family. I can’t think of a better way to live,” explains Condie.
He went on to say that his goals with Rugged Material are all being met, especially with the help of SUU’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where he took a class on how to better manage his growing company. The eleven week class, FastTrac Better Business Techniques, is taught by Craig Isom, Director of the Cedar City SBDC. Participants learn how to write a business plan, do market research, manage risk, identify funding sources, manage cash flow, and much more. The class allows for busy entrepreneurs to set aside time to focus on their business, rather than just managing day-to-day business tasks. It also encourages networking and provides access to a variety of community experts. Isom said of his successful student, “Tyler has been able to carve out a niche and he has hit it out of the ballpark. His business is growing at a nice rate and creating jobs. With his attitude and energy the future bodes well for him.”
The idea of creating jobs is a huge objective of Rugged Material, and according to Condie it’s a main goal. “We love Cedar City and are focused on keeping our manufacturing here so we can create opportunities for the community to grow.” Story contribution: Jessica Young and Jennifer Burt.