From Garage to Global with Ryan King of Thread Wallets | re:COGs Podcast Episode 51

Threading Success: How Thread Wallets Stitched Together a Multi-Million Dollar Brand

In the latest episode of the re:COGs podcast, host Mike Gelb sits down with Ryan King, CFO of Thread Wallets, to explore the remarkable journey of this family-founded business. From humble beginnings in a garage to becoming a multi-million dollar brand, Thread Wallets has navigated the complexities of scaling, inventory management, and retail expansion with finesse. Ryan shares his personal journey, the strategic decisions that fueled their growth, and the lessons learned along the way.

The Humble Beginnings: Handcrafting in a Garage

Thread Wallets started in 2015 with Colby and McKenzie Bauer handcrafting wallets in their garage. Ryan King, who joined the company in 2018, recounts the early days when the company was fully bootstrapped and relied heavily on their website and local wholesalers. By 2017, they had achieved their first million-dollar year, a significant milestone that set the stage for future growth.

Scaling Operations: From Handmade to Factory-Produced

One of the critical challenges Thread Wallets faced was scaling production from handmade wallets to factory-produced items. Ryan discusses how they mastered a just-in-time inventory model, ensuring they could meet demand without overproducing. The transition to Asian manufacturing was a game-changer, allowing them to grow quickly and efficiently. Despite initial trials and errors, they found reliable manufacturing partners through platforms like Alibaba.

Strategic Financial Planning and Role Evolution

As CFO, Ryan’s role has evolved significantly since he joined the company. Initially focused on basic financial tasks, he quickly adapted to the strategic demands of a growing business. From cash flow forecasting to managing custom projects and expanding sales channels, Ryan’s responsibilities have grown alongside the company. He emphasizes the importance of strategic financial planning in driving growth and maintaining operational efficiency.

Retail Expansion and Sales Strategies

Thread Wallets’ retail strategy has been a key driver of their success. Ryan shares how they initially expanded through local boutiques and later secured partnerships with major retailers like Shields. Their approach to retail merchandising, including the use of small, impulse-buy displays at checkout counters, has been instrumental in driving sales. By launching new products on their website first and gathering sales data, they ensure that only the best-performing items make it to retail shelves.

Navigating Supply Chain Challenges

The global supply chain crisis posed significant challenges for Thread Wallets, but their proactive approach helped them navigate these hurdles. Ryan explains how they managed inventory levels, dealt with port delays, and maintained a balance between inventory and cash. Their ability to adapt and respond to supply chain disruptions has been crucial in sustaining their growth.

This episode of the re:COGs podcast offers a deep dive into the operational strategies and growth secrets of Thread Wallets. Ryan King’s insights provide a valuable blueprint for anyone looking to scale their brand efficiently and navigate the complexities of retail and supply chain management. Tune in to learn how Thread Wallets continues to thrive and innovate in a competitive market.


Listen In as Mike and Ryan Discuss:

  • Company Growth and Revenue Progression: From handcrafting wallets in a garage to achieving multi-million dollar revenue.
  • Scaling Operations: Transitioning from handmade to factory-produced products and mastering just-in-time inventory.
  • Strategic Financial Planning: The evolving role of the CFO in driving growth and managing financial operations.
  • Retail Expansion: Effective merchandising strategies and securing partnerships with major retailers.
  • Supply Chain Management: Navigating global supply chain challenges and maintaining inventory levels.
  • Product Development: Launching new product styles based on customer feedback and market trends.

Listen to the Entire re:COGs Series:

Tune in to re:COGs, the podcast series that examines the essential aspects of inventory management, supply chain optimization, and operational excellence, all through a COGs-focused lens.

Hear business operators and thought leaders from growing consumer brands share their thoughts on product manufacturing.  Through inspiring stories and critical conversations with top experts across CPG, food, fashion, and other industries, listeners are treated to valuable insights and actionable advice that can be applied to any growing business as it scales up operations.

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