Loran Evans, owner of Rightline Gear in Asheville, discusses creating innovative products customers love, providing new takes on old products, and knowing how to sell those products well.
I would say that unlimited creativity and the ability to follow that wherever it goes is the thing that I love the most about being an entrepreneur.
My name is Loran Evans. And my company is Rightline Gear. We make products for the automotive aftermarket and sporting goods outdoors industries. They're all products that will go on or in a vehicle. So in the automotive aftermarket space, our company is trying to develop new, innovative products that have never existed before. But many times we'll look at a product idea that's been around forever, and we try to fix the little annoyances or things that just don't quite work well with those products. So we say that we're looking to provide new takes on old products that solve old problems. we make rooftop cargo bags and we're really the only one in the industry that has bags that can attach with or without a roof rack. Most vehicles don't have roof racks today, so that's a huge help. We have a product called the Moki Door Step that lets you access the roof of your vehicle without standing on your vehicle's seat, or on the tire, or pulling out a step ladder. So that's been helpful. And we have a product that attaches a cargo net to a lightweight tarp, so that it's impossible for the cargo net to tangle when you're using it. That solves a big issue that's been prevalent with those types of products. So those are some examples of how we're helping people with our products. I think the personal growth that I experienced while at the Small Business Incubator had a lot to do with the support of the other entrepreneurs and the staff. In my previous business ventures, I was just the lone ranger out there, kind of expected to figure it out all by myself, and having that support network, and just the constant encouragement of the other people. You know, it's tough to start from ground zero and build something up, and there are setbacks and so forth, but having the shared experience with the other folks and the encouragement was just a great way for me to stay focused and on track during some of those early trials. A lot of folks are really good on developing the product or service, but a little weaker on the, how do I get it out to the customers and so forth? And, unfortunately, you might have the greatest product or service ever, but if you can't sell it, your business will, unfortunately, go nowhere. So I think that's the main thing to consider when you're developing that strategy, do I have a sales plan, and will it work?