Well we started rather small, it was really just a hobby for years, making things for myself and customizing my wardrobe and my life. I had several people requesting that I make my products available to the public. I had a small shop online and it gained favor pretty rapidly. As it grew, I was working full-time and in school full-time, and at night I ran projections for an international cinema, so I would bring my work to the theater and assemble neckties by hand while the movies were showing every night. As we were invited to participate in larger events and sell in bigger brick and mortar locations we decided we needed to take it up a notch. We hired my sister and some other friends, made our website, and really started take it seriously. Since then we have expanded and hired many more friends. We have never taken a loan or any sort of investment, so we really have been growing gradually for several years now and putting all the money back into getting bigger and better.
I guess the simple answer is that I didn't necessarily want to start QP. I love to make all sorts of things, e.g. custom motorcycles, chicken coops, shoes, neckties, etc., but this love I had for creating things really led to more and more opportunities and it took us down this road to where we are today.
Why Made in America?
I'll be honest, I don't exclusively advocate for American-made, and I don't go picketing at Walmart or anything like that, I just love the community of artisans we have created with QP. We have so many talented friends that we've brought into the company, even though I know I could save and make more money if we moved over seas. But I love the environment of people we have right now, and I don't ever want to change that. QP Collections will never move production out of the USA because I love to have such personal relationships with all of our team members.
I don't know if there is a specific, "nameable" source for QP. Inspiration for us really comes from necessity. We steer clear of trendy embellishment and really try to stick to the utilitarian function of our products, and that is what, in my opinion, creates a great aesthetic.
What kind of guy is a QP customer?
That's a great question. It's really just anyone who really cares about authenticity. There's nothing too showy or faddish about our products, thus anyone who's looking for flash and bang will have better luck looking elsewhere. We're not trying to change the world, we just love our products, and we love those people who can see the value in what we do.
This changes with every new product I create, but I have been using one of our helmet bags for longer than any other item in my collection, I have one with me right now, it has a lunch, a shoe shine kit, a water bottle and a book in it.
Leather goods and hats. The leather is new for us, and it has been really fun and well-received. I've made far more than you see on the site and we are hoping to implement more of my designs into production soon. I'm a lover of a good hat, and I've been lucky to become acquainted with a very talented local hat maker. We've been developing a great relationship and are creating a hat line for this upcoming fall.