As a management consultant at PwC, Daniel Scott, now 27, found himself on the hunt for the perfect leather briefcase—but most of the options he loved were too pricey for his budget. He’d only recently graduated from the undergraduate program of the NYU Stern School of Business.
Scott continued his sartorial quest after he left consulting and worked as an English teacher in Vietnam. “As a teacher, I thought it was important to look really adult and responsible in front of my students,” says Scott.
Realizing there were many young men on budgets like his own, he decided to fill the gap in the marketplace himself. He reached out to a contact who manufactured leather bags for advice on how to make a leather briefcase he could sell for $100.
“She laughed at me and thought that wouldn’t be possible,” he says.
Scott soon found himself teaming up with her to develop a design he was happy with. He found a local factory that was willing to manufacture 200 brown briefcases and 200 black ones, put them up on a simple site—Danielnyc.com—and ran some Facebook ads to drive traffic there. They sold out. Without middlemen involved, his direct-to-consumer brand was able to charge $195 for a briefcase, lower than for comparable brands.
That success led to a second production run and, eventually, a Kickstarter campaign that ended in July. Scott raised $243,918 from 1,337 backers who placed pre-orders on the crowdfunding platform.
Since his launch, Scott estimates his profitable business, Daniel’s, which is based in New York City, has brought in $500,000 in revenue.