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Set Up For Success: Launch Your Small Business From Scratch

By Brianne Garrett

In 2013, Daniel Kane started his wallet company The Ridge with the help of his dad and a Kickstarter campaign. This year, the company estimates that revenues will hit $50 million. Here, learn from the Under 30’s story and find savvy advice for getting your own idea up and running—from tips for crafting your concept to securing funding. 

Already an established entrepreneur? See part two of our series Scale Your Small Business.

During college, Kane would hold his ID, credit cards and cash together with a rubber band. Interested in finding an alternative to carrying bulky wallets around campus, he came up with The Ridge. Today, the company sells minimalist bags, phone cases and other accessories in addition to the original wallets. Wondering how to take your own business to the next level? Sharpening your idea into a specific and executable plan is an essential first step. Here’s Kane’s advice:


“The idea of a minimalist wallet was definitely around,” Kane says, but none of the existing ones were slim or made from the durable materials—aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium—used in Ridge wallets.


“We created the entire design from scratch. We came up with some parameters in what we really wanted in a wallet for ourselves. And that's what we built originally.”


Knowing when to give up a side hustle to focus on the bigger business is key. After founding The Ridge, Kane ran a sunglasses company on the side for about four years until he realized it was time to give The Ridge all his attention.


For guidance, Kane has looked to two main sources: a person and a book. Kane says his father, who helped him start the company, has been one of his biggest mentors. And entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek has been a source of inspiration. 


For the first three years, Kane’s biggest challenge was maintaining manufacturing supply and keeping production quality high to meet demand. “From manufacturing batch to batch, there would be inconsistencies—sometimes it would be a different thickness of the plate or the elastic wouldn't work or the screws would fall out,” he says. 

His team worked to alleviate this problem by making better pre-production sample videos for the manufacturers that demonstrated the wallets’ desired functionality and design. Kane and his team also created checklists to keep wallet features consistent.

In 2013, Kane was relying on his crowdfunding plan and limited personal capital to jumpstart his business, but he was quickly able to build a profitable company. Learn what steps he took to secure the early funding required to grow a successful brand.


Kane contributed a chunk of his own money into the business at the start.


Kane launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Ridge, which raised $270,000 that went into ordering products needed to manufacture the wallets.


When it came to creating the content for his Kickstarter campaign, a friend agreed to shoot the campaign using a DSLR camera so Kane could save money.


Kane decided to allocate $4,000 into the creation of a marketing campaign for The Ridge.


“The biggest hurdle is really getting over a marketing budget,” Kane says. “I see so many people who are planning for 5 to 10 years down the road, when you'll never get there if you don’t make it through the first year. Only plan for one year down the road. That kind of forces you to focus on smaller tasks that you can actually execute on instead of some big idea that kind of comes later.”