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Startup Corner: Seth England, Rusty River Leather Goods

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Minimally viable product …
My simple field note journals, wallets and our mason mugs. They’re something that nearly every person can relate to and see themselves using.

Problem solving …
Made For Life has now become our slogan. I started Rusty River because I was sick of buying leather goods from large retailers that just did not live up to my expectations. I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about the leather goods world and have since fell in love. Every product is made from the highest quality leather I can get my hands on.

Seed money …
I literally started Rusty River with $100. When I first approached my wife about the idea for this business, I didn’t want her to freak out. So I told her I only needed to spend $100, and that’s what I did. I made some of my first products and used the money from those to invest back into the business. There have been times that I would donate plasma for extra cash to invest in tools, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Hurdles overcome …
The hurdles seem endless. I don’t say this in a negative way. If it weren’t for hurdles I would never learn and I would never grow. I have had to learn everything from the actual process of creating leather goods to marketing, customer service, shipping and receiving, and business financials. For the most part, I am a one-man show, so it has definitely been a struggle learning all of these things that I had no clue about a year ago. But it also has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.

Next phase …
This tends to be something I struggle with, because I am an extravagant dreamer. I have to take time to focus on what is currently at hand, as well as five years ahead. I am working on a special line of products that give back. I have a very heavy heart for those dealing with depression, anxiety and suicide. I plan to start a line of goods that will enable, not just Rusty River, but others in the community to reach out and help those dealing with this.

Best/worst advice received …
Fake it till you make it. I think this could go for both best and worst advice. I was told early on that sometimes you have to fake it, to act like you have it all together and know exactly what you’re doing. This mindset definitely set me back. But at times, it seemed to boost me along. If I could have found a better balance to this theory earlier on, it would have been a different story. There are times that faking it can help. It’s not intended to fool others or mislead your customers, it’s meant to make yourself believe that it is possible.


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