586
8 min 27 sec

Louisiana Oil Worker Creates Premium Duffel Bag

This born-and-bred oil worker didn’t need to strike oil to create his profitable, “badass” side hustle.
High Profit Manufacturing Niche Ideas Product

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What It's About

Badass work bags for badasses who work hard.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Research
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

The most effective marketing strategies have been word of mouth and SEO. Every order comes with stickers and fun promotional items customers can use, which help with brand visibility. And SEO helps to connect with people who are looking for the Bad Ass Work Gear brand, or similar items, and bring them into his sales funnel. The strategy seems to be working, as Paul has received photographs of his bags being used as far north as Alaska!

Fun Fact

Paul’s mom got in an argument with her boss because he wanted to order Bad Ass Work Bags. She let him know that it was her son's company and that she had a vendor that could do them cheaper (Yeah, thanks mom!). Her boss countered, "Everyone in the oilfield is talking about these Bad Ass Work Bags! We want these."

Notes from Chris

Episode 586
Have you ever heard of an offshore bag? It’s a large, robust, vinyl bag carried by oil workers in Louisiana. They aren’t pretty, but they’re highly functional—designed to survive harsh environments and long-term daily use.

Paul Chittenden has been carrying one since he was nine years old when he was given one to carry his hunting gear—that’s right, they start ‘em young in the Bayou. As his life progressed to work on oil rigs and platforms, presumably when he was at least 12 years old, these bags became an essential part of his daily life, as they were for all of his colleagues.

The thing is, Paul never realized offshore bags weren’t commonplace for the rest of the oil industry. As he began to work in sales with people around the country, he was met with a look of puzzled bewilderment whenever he mentioned them.

There were over one million people in the American oil industry who could benefit from having an offshore bag. If he could break into that market and share the benefits with the masses, he could have a real business on his hands.

Paul started by researching how much it would cost to manufacture one of these bags. He headed over to ThomasNet—a supplier and product sourcing website—and looked for anyone who worked with vinyl and bags. Surprisingly enough, people offering this service were hard to come by, and even when Paul found a supplier with potential, there were lots of roadblocks to contend with. They either weren’t willing to work with him at all or weren’t willing to produce a small amount of stock. It felt like the business was about to fall at the first hurdle. But, Paul had an idea.

Instead of buying a large amount of stock and hoping to sell it, he could create the bags as made-to-order. When an order came in, he could have the bag made up and sent to the customer. So, he began to look for seamstresses who could create the bags for him.

With his inventory problem solved, Paul set about naming the company. He wanted something rugged and strong, like his bags, which would resonate with the hardened men he was targeting. He settled on Bad Ass Work Bags which the guys in his circle loved. (The name has since changed to Bad Ass Work Gear after expanding his inventory.)

Bad Ass Work Gear has generated great revenue over the three years it’s been around, generating $60,000 revenue in its first year, $110,000 in the second and is on track of for $150,000 this year.

Looking to the future, Paul wants to expand into other areas and is looking at creating bags for Firefighters. He’s also thinking ahead about how he can create t-shirts and other branded clothing for badass workers all over the country.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Bad Ass Work Gear: If you'd like to learn more about the ebikes John is flipping, head on over to his website!

  • Wordpress & WooCommerce: The platforms that Paul used to create his website and payment process for Bad Ass Work Gear
  • ThomasNet: The supplier and product sourcing website that Paul used to look for a supplier before he moved forward with local sewing partners instead

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"I think most people spend too much time thinking and refining their idea until they are blue in the face. I know, because I've done it! But there are much better uses of your time."
—Paul Chittenden #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau