Scott Bailey, founder of PATH projects, on the ReddyYeti podcast

Scott Bailey Path Projects Founder

Recently Scott Bailey, founder of PATH projects, sat down with Matthew Dello Buono from ReddyYeti to talk about how PATH projects got its start and what's in store for the future.

PATH projects is a specialty running brand making innovative running with a simple, sleek aesthetic, and an emphasis on functionality. The idea of PATH projects came from Scott wanting running shorts to fit what he was looking for but not being thrilled with the options on the market. With over 30 years of experience in the apparel industry, he's perfectly equipped to build a better pair of shorts, so that's exactly what he did and after launching in 2018, Path Projects has been growing rampantly.

 

Scott Bailey Path Founder

In this episode, Scott dives into the challenges and advantages of using the Direct to consumer model, how COVID has helped get people outside, and how he took his prior experience and used it to build a brand making products that people love and will keep customers keep coming back for more.

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Here is the transcript for those of you who prefer to read it:  

Transcript

Matt Dello Buono: Welcome to the ReddyYeti podcast, where we tell the story of startups in the outdoor sport industry through the voice of their founders. Today we're sitting down with Scott Bailey, the founder of Path Projects among several other brands Split Apparel, SUPRA Footwear, and KR3W Apparel. Scott, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Scott: Thanks, Matt. Glad to be here.

Matt: For listeners who aren't familiar with Path Projects, how would you best describe Path Projects and what it does?

Scott: Path Projects is a specialty running apparel brand that's in a consumer-direct model. We focus on men's, and our foundation products are shorts and base liners. We also make tops and hats and other accessories.

Matt: Awesome. I know that obviously, you've had a lot of other projects before Path Projects. What's your background in? I know you started in skating, but how did you end up starting a running company?

Scott: Yes, it's a long road. I grew up like a lot of kids, skateboarding, BMX motocross, like anything in that genre of action sports before it was called action sports. From there, I went to college and put away all my fun games that I used to do in sports. I got into engineering and I was working in the Silicon Valley and I did that for about seven years. During that time, I met some friends that had a backyard mini ramp and I started skating again and got to know them. They were in college at the time at San Luis Obispo in Cal Poly.

I left for Europe with my engineering job to work there for a few years. They left school, founded the company Split, which was an action sports apparel company in that first skate snow surf time period in the early. They started probably in about 1989, 1990. I started sending them money to help them because they were just trying to get it going. They would send me a piece of paper back that said I owned part of their company 5% here, 5% there.

When I moved back from Europe in 1991, I started helping them. The idea was move to Southern California and help them for a year. We ended up having that company together. I became a partner. We had that company for 13 years. I learned the apparel industry. I was the president and CEO after about five years. We built a nice little company and sold it to one of our partners. Then I went from there to write the business plan and start One Distribution, which became KR3W Denim and SUPRA Footwear, and had that company for 13 years, was the CEO. We sold that company about five years ago.

During the end of my time, I guess the last four or five years with One Distribution, I got into running. At first, it was just a way to stay in shape and when I was traveling a lot to different countries, it was easy to bring a pair of running shoes. I lived about eight miles from my house, from where my office was. I started run commuting and bike commuting. Then from there, it was adventure running and trail running and I just got more and more into running.

I guess what I developed from the run commuting and some of the adventure racing was that I just couldn't find a pair of shorts that I liked. I had known a lot about materials from snowboarding and surf trunks. Although I wasn't a product developer, being in the business for twenty-five years, I had learned a lot from sitting in a lot of design meetings, a lot of product development meetings.

I knew that there could be a good running short with. For me, the pain points were the pockets, not having the right pockets to carry the things I needed to run when I was commuting. The materials, there wasn't materials that were using mechanical stretch. They were all using stretch with Lycra and Spandex, which absorb water and break down and are heavier, and just the overall design had shaping issues with the liners. I just couldn't imagine with so many people were running, why someone who hadn't really put a lot of time and energy into developing really good running shorts.

That was the idea and it was just an idea in my head and like all entrepreneurs, you think about it constantly and you're kind of writing the business plan in your head. When One Distribution sold in 2015, I left the company as CEO and in the back of my mind was creating a running apparel brand, like a next-level running apparel brand, and that was really how PATH was born.

My apparel experience and launching PATH was not a road that I planned on, or probably my mom planned on, or anyone. At some points in that, I kind of said, "If I knew what I was getting into, I never would have got into it," because there's definitely a lot of learning curves and bumps and bruises you take along the way, but now when I look back, it all went the way it was supposed to go, and I'm really happy that I took that turn in my career.

Matt: Yes, I mean, it seems like, you already started several companies, you know how to kind of shape something that you want. Getting into a completely new hobby and looking at things that like, probably haven't really changed in years, it's probably easy to be like, "Wait, why are you guys still doing this?" I know, obviously, as I mentioned, as you talked about yourself, you have these other projects, you had plenty of experience in the apparel industry. Was there a lot of crossover? Was it like second nature kind of starting PATH projects, like doing all the steps, or was there some kind of serious learning curve going from the action sport industry to more honed in on the running side?

Scott: There are some things that I learned along the way that were super helpful and for me, one was a really detailed business plan. My first company, I really didn't have a business plan, I just joined some friends that were already starting it, and we kind of made it up as we went along and made some errors along the way that we had to fix and some you couldn't fix.

My second company, we wrote a detailed business plan and inside that company, we launched SUPRA, we made a really detailed business plan. I knew that one of the keys was really taking that first year and writing a really detailed business plan. For me, that makes all the sense. Then having people look at it and vet it and make sure that all my assumptions were right.

A lot of it was easy for me, the part that was a huge learning curve was going from a traditional wholesale business to a direct to consumer business. I was a little naive in thinking that if we made really good product, people would come find us and business would blow up right away. That wasn't the case. It's a very noisy cyber world out there and it takes a while, no matter how good your product is to get it in front of people and start building trust, and people didn't know it.

That was my biggest learning curve, was actually the customer acquisition and getting in front of your customer the right way, and finding a way that made sense for your brand and that you were getting the customers that were actually looking for your brand.

Matt: It makes sense. Why the specific push towards direct to consumer versus like cutting out brick and mortar altogether?

Scott: The hardest part when I was building the business plan in my head and what really held me back from launching the company was the price point. Was that, if you take a normal pair of shorts that an athletic company makes, running shorts, it probably costs them $10 to make that product, and then they sell it to the retailer, let's say, at $20 and the retailer sells it for $40. You've got a short that costs $10 to make and it's selling at retail for 40 and that's pretty normal.

I knew that using the fabrics we wanted to use from Japan, we use Torray fabric from Japan, they cost about three times as much as the normal fabric that they're using in a normal running short from an athletic company. Adding pockets, every pocket, every zipper has a cost, whether it's about a $3 or $4 cost to make per zipper pocket. That's why most shorts have one. I knew that some of the other-- the waistbands, the quick-dry waistbands, some of the stuff we wanted to use were just more expensive.

Where a normal running short would cost $10 to make, ours costs about $24 to make. Some of that is because we're lower volume, but the majority of it is the materials we use. Making a $24 running short and selling it at wholesale for $48 would mean that retail to $100 running short. I know that some people would pay $100 for it, but I wanted to make it more accessible to more people and make it something that didn't have competition at that price point. That's why we use the consumer-direct model is that we can sell our running short for basically what it would be at wholesale, so our shorts are $47, $48, $49.

Matt: That makes sense. Taking what you would spend on actually putting the product out there, you could make a better product, people will find it.

Scott: You want customers to come back and consumer-direct, a one-time customer is expensive. A customer comes back seven or eight times and becomes a fan of your brand for life, then it's worth the customer acquisition costs. The other thing is that running stores don't primarily focus on running apparel, they're really focused on shoes. Trying to get running stores to carry different types of product and have a good display of it is a really difficult spot to be in and same with sporting goods stores is that they wouldn't necessarily carry our product. It would be very hard to find enough retailers to carry what we're doing because it is different and it's special.

Matt: Even gear across the board, it seems like when you walk into any kind of store, there's always incentives for reps to push something or another, I guess it makes sense that you have more control of how and who is seeing your products.

Scott: There is. Especially once you get out of running stores, a lot of the buyers that buy for retail don't really do the sport, so they're buying based on maybe what color it is. They're not really understanding the technology. They're kind of they have to buy so many different categories. There's so many different things that they aren't really experts in what they're doing and sometimes they-- Someone who I really respected at one time said that "Retail stifles innovation because they tend to want to buy the same thing that sold last season."

I think when you have a consumer-direct model and you're talking to a passionate consumer that lives in breeze running every day when you put out something and explain it, it makes sense to them automatically if it's the right thing. Though I think you get that direct connection with your consumer and direct feedback and they're yours. There's not a middle man in between taking your message and distorting it, what it is. I think it's a great model. It's just it's got its own challenges and like anything in its own benefits, but I think it's a great model for now.

Matt: Across the board, we've been seeing more and more direct-to-consumer brands. For me specifically, I noticed it in the snow industry mainly because that's where my style is set to especially this time of year, but with COVID coming up and becoming more of a challenge just to actually get people into stores. Do you think that direct-to-consumer as a model is something where outdoor industry outdoor gear across the board is headed?

Scott: Well, I think brick and mortar is important and I think that having a store where you have really good salespeople, helping people, a lot of people want to try things on. I think that you can't replace a retail store and what it does. I think that you'll see more brands and it happened with COVID, a lot of brands that were primarily brick and mortar are putting a lot more energy into their direct-to-consumer and trying to offset those retail stores.

Plus with what's going on in retail there's going to be a lot of malls closing, a lot of retail closing, people are getting used to buying stuff online. I think the percentage will shift to more online. I think that you'll get people trying to do things. I think it's just going to evolve. I think what was going to happen, I think COVID is speeding up everything. It put everything in-- What may have taken five years to make the change is probably going to happen in the next 18 months, so it's definitely interesting to watch it.

Matt: It seems across the board, everyone's on their toes. There's this weird volatility going on.

Scott: Yes, and I think that there's also a big difference in direct-to-consumer models. There are some brands that are direct-to-consumer, but they're not necessarily passing the savings on to the customer. They're using that double margin to acquire customers and to give free shipping, free returns, 20% off. They're really just using double margin to have more margin to play with to get customers, but they're not necessarily passing on higher quality product or any savings onto someone. It's just that it's a mode for them to get there and get higher margins in some cases.

Any brand that's selling online but also has retail stores is really kicking up double margin when they sell online because if that cost for that short is $10 and they're selling it at retail for $40, they have to sell it on their site for $40, too. Not all consumer-direct is equal.

Matt: Getting the more technical side of things with PATH projects, I know that a lot of the inspiration for the design of the running shorts came from just you wanting a specific product and not seeing it. It seems like it's really caught on, but what went into actually developing the product outside of the initial concept when it went into the testing and the R&D?

Scott: For us, when Erich and I decided that we were going to do this, the first step was materials. Whether it was the shorts or the liner or the T-shirts we were making, we went to a lot of fabric shows. We met with some of the top mills in the world. We looked at other products that were out there. It started with finding the people that we want to partner with.

In our shorts, it's Torray of Japan who makes all of our nylon fabrics. Then we use a different supplier out of Taiwan, a high technical supplier that supplies all the fabrics for our base liners and also our shirts. In our shirts, we use a blend that's a synthetic blend, but it uses Tencel which comes from eucalyptus trees, so it has natural odor, antimicrobial properties, natural quick-dry.

Again, we wanted to find the best possible fabrics that were out there. Once we had that, then you start drawing up the shorts and the different things and where the seams have to be and where you want pocketing and coming up with those sketches, and then from there, you're finding the best factories to sew them. Our shorts are made overseas in a factory that makes high-end outerwear. It's really used to dealing with high-end fabrics and how to sew nylon.

Unfortunately, there aren't those factories here in the US. Our base liners are sewn here in the US, our shirts are sewn here in the US. We found these factories and then we started developing the prototypes and then we test, and we test, and we test. Luckily, myself and some other friends are auto runners that run a lot of miles and you get to try everything and test it. Through that testing was really how we came up with the idea of having the liner separate from the short.

That really came from testing so many liners that I asked the factory to sew them more as underwear and then having the shorts without liners so that we could test the short with different liner materials, different lengths. What I found was that the liner I liked in winter when it was cool wasn't the liner I liked in summer, and if I had to put one liner and sew it into a short, it would be some type of compromise for performance for different weather.

That was one of the things. The other thing I found was that when the underwear was separate, there was way less chafing shaking because then your short is riding on top of your base liner, your base liner is against your body, there's another-- As your short is bouncing when you run whether you have something in your pockets or you don't, it's going to move on around and nothing is rubbing against your skin.

Your base liner, we call it independent suspension where the base liner protects your skin, the short rides on top, there's no chafing. We went to a lot of detail to make sure that the draw pockets on the outside it's not rubbing on you. Any place that it could rub if you're running in dirt, if you're running 100 miles, 50 miles, if it's humid, if it's rain, every touchpoint on your body could be a shaking area, so we tried to eliminate and it made a huge difference.

It was a little bit of a struggle to educate people and there's still people that don't understand. It just has many benefits in that you can pick the right base liner for the right weather. After you run, you don't have to wash your shorts and your base liner. You can just wash your base liner, so your shorts, you can wear for two weeks without washing them and just hang them dry.

It just cuts down on laundry, cuts down on the wear and tear on things. It makes much sense. I guess for me, I try to explain it to people like, if you go in the snow a lot, and you snowboard or ski, you wouldn't want a jacket that had a built-in base liner in it because weather conditions change, what you want to wear for that day changes and it would be uncomfortable. Having things separate works better.

It was really through all that testing and innovation that we came up with the product. I call it, it's more of a craft. We're not making products seasonally that changes every season and we're constantly trying to reinvent the wheel and we make some mistakes. The only time we make a change is if there's a clear slight change we can make to improve the product.

I look at a running product as a tool whereas once you find something that works for you, you want to go back and buy it. That was one of my frustration with shoes. You find a shoe you like, you go back six months later, they've changed this shoe and it's completely different, then you start all over finding that shoe that works for you. I didn't want that to be with our running apparel, I wanted it to be like if you get something, you like it, you go back six months later, you can buy it the same color, you can buy a different color, but you know it's going to fit the same, wear the same and have the same function that it did.

Matt: Definitely makes a lot of sense. I can't tell you how many times I've really liked something, wear and tear will burn out whatever it is, a pair of shoes, a pair of boots or anything like that, and then there's always like this weird seemingly like obsessive need to always change for the sake of change. If you have something that works, why not keep it.

Scott: Being in this industry for a lot of years, I know why it happens because I've lived it. You get designers, designers want to design. Especially there'll be a new designer, he doesn't want to design the same thing that the last guy did. He wants to change it. You get retailers that when you show them the same thing, no matter how well it's selling, they want something different that tells a different story. Between the retailer and the designers, it's really hard to keep something the same, even if it's really good, it's almost harder.

Matt: Kind of makes sense. I guess for like what you were even mentioning about PATH projects specifically, wanting different, I guess, base layers for each condition. It's hot out, it's cold out, that kind of thing. Keeping those separate pieces of customizability, I guess, is the perfect way around that.

Scott: For base liners, we offer three different materials and in some cases four different lengths. You can get a three-inch inseam a five-inch inseam, an eight-inch inseam, or a full-length and then three different materials, one that's made for really hot weather, one that's kind of all around, and one that's great in wet weather or cold weather. You're getting that variation and if you've got two different shorts with two different pocket configurations or different lengths, then you can mix and match. You've got three different base liners and two different shorts, you got six different combinations or more than that. You can really customize what you're wearing for that day.

Matt: In the production with all the products that PATH projects has to offer, what has been your commitment to sustainable manufacturing?

Scott: Sustainability is huge for me. It's part of my life every day. For me, the one thing that I wanted, the one thing I thought that was super important that was one of my pain points with normal running gear is that when you're wearing it, you look like you're a runner. You scream big logo, bright colors. It may be functional when you're running, but when you're stopping to get coffee or you're doing something else, I didn't want to be seen out of place. 

Some of my friends when I was thinking about the company, I'm like, "What do you think of your running gear?" He goes, "Oh, if you saw what I was running in, you'd be embarrassed, you wouldn't want to hang around with me." That was one of my points, was like, I wanted to make something that was multifunctional. Our base liners, you can wear them as underwear. Our shirts, you can wear them to work and a lot of people wear them all over. There's not big logos, it's really done in colors that are timeless.

For me, number one is having versatile product, having better product, and having less in your closet, is a great way of sustainability. The other thing is it's consumer-direct and we don't put hang tags. We're not shipping it to a retailer, the retailer is getting at their warehouse, shipping it to their stores, then you're ordering it online or you're going there and buying it and it gets in another bag and another bag.

The whole idea of direct-to-consumer is we have one warehouse that we share. It's not our warehouse. It's a 3PL. Our product goes there directly from the factory. It gets shipped in a reusable container, recyclable envelope. We're trying to cut out all plastic, no hang tags. Torray of Japan is one of the most advanced fabric producing companies and they're using all this great water technology in Japan for less water use, less dyes, less chemicals.

If you know Japan, they're a very advanced country and they're not going to let companies pollute what they do. They're really advanced in what they do. We just try and be smart on every area. I don't think there's a company that probably makes a less carbon footprint than we do in such type of apparel that we make.

Matt: For everything you mentioned, just sustainability as a system, I feel like a lot of people, there's a disconnect between understanding that sustainability isn't just the actual raw materials you use for a product. The shipping could be even huge or something as simple as tags.

Scott: The other aspect is our company is built virtually. We don't have a home office. Nobody commutes to work. Everybody works from their house. There's so much that goes into the planet and what you use, whether you're driving your car to work, whether you've got a different building that you're heating and cooling every day, whether you've got your own warehouse that's empty six months of the year because you're not shipping as much that time or you've got extra space in your warehouse rather than sharing. There's a ton that goes into it. A lot of times what people promote, like you said, is the one fabric but nothing else.

Matt: At some point, it's all got to come together. It can't just be like one thing. It's like a multi-pronged attack. You guys officially launched in 2018. You're a pretty young company. The concept has been a little older, but what has your growth been like since you guys had that initial launch in 2018?

Scott: Well, the first year was our learning year getting out there, putting out product. It wasn't a big year for us from a sales standpoint, but we got a lot of product out there on people. The second year, we tripled in size from our first year. We didn't do big media campaigns. The way we got our product out there really was sending it to different people that are testing products. We test send it to a lot of podcasts people that test, YouTube people, magazines. We got like Gear of the Year in our first year from Runner's World. We got a lot of blogs put us as the best short in the market in our first year. That gets a lot of eyes on you.

In the second year, we added a lot more product and we found out what was working. Like I said, we tripled in sales. This year, our goal was to triple. We're going to be a little bit less than that. We're going to be at about probably two and a half times. Some of that was when COVID hit, we cut back on the ordering products that we're a little bit short on products for a number of months this year.

We just didn't know where the world was going and us being so new, I just didn't want to load the boat on product because with consumer-direct there's no pre-book. We're looking at our fabrics almost a year ahead of time in ordering us some of our fabrics a year ahead of time. We underproduced a little bit this year, but for next year, we'll probably more than double next year, too, probably two and a half times. Then we'll start marketing also more.

We've just started digital marketing which we hadn't really done before because we really want to make sure the product was dialed in. Our offering has grown a lot. We started with one short seven-inch with one pocket configuration and another short in a seven-inch. Now we have those two shorts available in three different lengths, then we do two different fits. We do classic fit and relaxed fit. Our product offering, not just in sorts but in base liners has grown.

In my business, I'm kind of old school in that I didn't go out and get any funding, and I self funded it myself. The idea of getting it lean and getting it as profitable as quickly as possible, then feeding your profits back into your company to grow, rather than keep series A financing series B, series C. There's companies up to series E funding before they're even profitable and by that time, you don't own your company anymore, you've kind of given it away to a lot of people to help fund it.

For me, I think slow is a good way to do it. I think learning as you go. Little mistakes can be big mistakes if you try and grow too fast, especially in consumer direct. We're really happy with where we are. At the end of our third year to be cash flowing positive and to be profitable would be great. 

Matt: It sounds like you guys are right on track and having the roadblock of COVID of all things randomly in the first couple of years, to make it through and still be very much in the green, that's pretty incredible.

Scott: I think COVID was-- in some ways, it got people outside. They couldn't go to the gym, so they were out running. I think maybe a lot of new runners came in during COVID, people who had run and had stopped. I think for the running market, I think that's going to be good long term because once people get out there and see how great it is to be out running, rather than sitting in a gym on a treadmill or doing a class, they may stick with running. I think long term, it may be good for running, but a lot of people, unfortunately, are out of work and in the economy, those people that want to buy new stuff are probably running in their old stuff, unfortunately.

Matt: Yes, definitely makes sense. What has been the hardest part about launching and running PATH projects

Scott: I think we had two things. Like I said, one was the consumer-direct model, really getting that dialed in and learning who our customer was. Podcast marketing has been fantastic for us because there's many really great core, authentic podcasts. When you get people that are in the podcast that love your gear, and you're marketing with them, you're getting really authentic testimony. That part, like finding your customer, how to market your customer.

I think our biggest issue we probably had was just the tariffs that started because our shorts really can only be made in China or in Vietnam or some of the other countries, and China has the lowest minimums, and we're not at a spot where we can move our production out of China. When those tariffs hit us, we went from having a 23% tariff on our shorts, which was what was originally that we had to pay, went up to 43%.

Keeping our prices the same and then-- Luckily, our volume is growing, we could get a little bit of price reduction. I think those tariffs in China, unfortunately, it was like the brunt of it went on small business. It didn't go on the big companies because big companies were moving out of China and they had the volume to move to Vietnam, where the minimums on Vietnam is like 3000 pieces per color. In China, it was about 600 pieces per color.

Even though we're way above 600, now we're not at 3000 per color. All those factories are at capacity because a lot of the big companies have left China, and so there's not even the capacity right now to move to other countries if you wanted to. The tariffs were a big struggle for us to kind of get over and kind of hurt our profitability, but we wanted to keep our prices the same, so we just kind of sucked it up a little bit. Those are kind of the two things that were the real challenges for us.

Matt: Now, I wanted to ask, kind of like a two pronged question. Across your career, what were some of the biggest mistakes you've made, and to tie into that, what kind of advice would you give someone who would want to start a business in the action sport industry?

Scott: Those are great questions. Just this January will be 30 years in my apparel industry business that I've been in it, and three different companies, four different brands, and I've learned a lot, and I made a lot of mistakes. I think that the number one mistake I see is that you don't focus. For me in this company in particular, I made sure that we're laser-focused. We make running apparel. We're not doing running so that we can branch into yoga and cycling and everything else, it's running. It's running and running apparel that you can wear when you're not running.

It's singularly focused. The product offering is really small and compact. I think focus is a huge part of that. I've been a part of brands before where you've got financial partners and they're pushing for all these numbers, numbers, and you go to numbers. "Well, we're going to expand into women's," when you're not really ready to. Or, "We're going to expand into this other category." For me, I've had those issues in the past where we've expanded too quick, we've brought in too many financial partners, there's too many people making decisions, and the message and the vision gets distorted from that.

Those are some of the mistakes I've made in the past that I've tried to stay away from. This company was really one that I wanted to do where I would have the say. I have two partners that are amazing, but we're not all equal partners. I funded it and I have the majority and I have the final decision. After 25 years of doing this, I wanted that final decision. I wanted to be able to take these things and do what I believe in, although a lot of my partners have great ideas, and a lot of times we go with what they want to do. This time, I want to be able to do it myself and keep financial partners that are pure financial partners out of the decision.

That's probably the number one advice I have is start slow, learn, no matter what you think and no matter what you perceive and no matter how much you've researched your business plan, that first year, it's not going to go the way you thought. You can have a supplier that messes up the first run, you can have a material that you thought worked great, but when you start trying it on different body types, it doesn't work that well and you have to change.

I think go into it, have a great idea of what you think is going to happen and do your research before, but know that half of what you think isn't going to be correct and by the end of the first year, you're going to be changing things. I would say take your time, don't extend yourself too far. Don't give up too much of your company, try and keep control, and have a long term focus.

One of the best advice I got in my career was probably about 10 years ago from a private equity guy who was working with me in SUPRA. He came on board and he was talking to me as a CEO. He told me, "Every day run your company like you're going to own it forever." Every decision you make, you should think about like the 20-year, 30-year effect on that decision.

It really is a great way because sometimes you're thinking how to get through that week, or how to get through that month, which is sometimes important, but you really have to think about the long term effects on what you're doing. Yes, I've had a lot of great advice through the years and a lot of great people I've worked with, young and old, that have taught me a lot.

Matt: Yes, I think that's incredibly insightful. The focus aspect, too. I know that a lot of companies that we've talked to go through just throwing all these different things at the wall, seeing what sticks, and then just really honing in on it. It seems like once they really carve out what's working and just do that one thing, they've really pushed through those early beginnings. Yes, that's incredible.

Scott: Yes, I think it goes both ways. I work with a lot of young people that have new brands, and I do a lot of mentoring and a lot of advising. It's just part of my feeling of giving back. I feel like I had so many people that helped me, that whenever I get the chance to help someone or someone needs help or advice, I always love to do that.

What I see sometimes is people come up with a product and they do really well with it. They hit it. They hit the brand, they hit the market, they hit everything and before they really reached what they can with that, they're off doing two or three new things in that same thing. They think that because they've done one thing right and they've hit it right, that they can do these other ones. Sometimes they end up bringing down the whole company because they go too far.

I call it chasing shiny objects. You have one and you see all these other shiny things. Because success brings other opportunities, and you have to learn to say no to the other opportunities. A lot of entrepreneurs can't, especially when they're successful, really young, or with their first company. They just think it's all gonna be-- Sometimes you get lightning in a bottle once, and you can't replicate it. You just got to watch out for that. Saying no is an important part.

Matt: I think we have time for one more question. If you could change one thing about the running industry, or the skate industry, for that matter, really any industry that you've personally been in your career, what would that be?

Scott: I don't know. I don't think I would change anything, because they're all constantly changing. I think that the skate industry is completely always reinventing itself. I think embracing change is the important thing that everybody has to think about. I guess my pet peeves sometimes being a product person is that a lot of times companies put too much emphasis on the smoke and mirror marketing, and not emphasis on the product. I think that if you can educate people on materials and on the way things are produced and why they're produced, I think consumers can make a lot better choices and they don't get caught up looking at a certain logo and just thinking they're going to have the best product because they have that logo.

I think that just in general, innovation is important. For me, like I think a lot of my success has come from never thinking I was an expert, always thinking I'm a student and I can learn something every day from everybody. Whether it's a brand new startup company, I can learn something that I didn't know. Whether it's someone that's been doing it for 30, 40, 50 years, I can learn something. I think the moment you feel like you're an expert, or a leader and you stop innovating, or you stop changing is kind of when your ship starts sinking, even though you may not know it. I'm probably didn't answer that in a direct way, but there's definitely some important things in there.

Matt: No, I mean, it's definitely kind of an abstract answer. It goes back to the age-old question if you could change anything in the past, what would-- Changing the past affects the future. You're right, these things are changing and always will. With that, I just want to thank you for coming on the show today, Scott. For any runners listening or anyone just getting into running, definitely check out Path Projects. I've been using their shorts myself and have been loving it. Check them out. Scott, thanks for your time.

Scott: Thank you, Matt.

Matt: If you enjoyed today's podcast episode, then we would be incredibly appreciative if you could log on to iTunes and leave us a quick review. This really helps us get noticed by other podcast listeners like yourself and if you know anyone that would benefit from this episode, then please share it along. Well, that wraps up this episode of the ReddyYeti podcast. We'll catch you guys next week.

 


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