“Camera bags have always been the cargo shorts of backpacks,” Ryan says.
WANDRD set out to change that with their first product, the PRVKE backpack.
“Photographers are creative people, and they care how things look,” Ryan explains. “Plus, you actually don’t want a camera bag that screams ‘camera bag’ because it can make it more likely to get stolen.”
After the Orem brothers designed their dream bag, they vetted manufacturers and tested their prototype endlessly. Then they turned to Kickstarter to fund the production.
“We had to place a minimum order of 1,000 bags just to get started,” Ryan says. “So we put out feelers to see if people were interested.”
The demand was there and the campaign was successful. But a successful launch doesn’t always equal profitability.
“We didn’t pay ourselves for the first two years we worked on the company,” Ryan says.
When Ryan and Spencer added their eldest brother, Austin, to the mix, he brought left-brained structure that the venture needed. They did a second Kickstarter campaign that raised enough capital to help them create more offerings, including a duffel bag.
WANDRD bags are beloved by traveling creatives because every detail is thoughtful and practical — from expandable roll top openings to the removable camera cube system to the magnetic tote handles.
Not only do WANDRD bags protect expensive photography gear, they make accessing it easy breezy so users aren’t stuck fumbling with a buckle and missing a great photo op.
Today, WANDRD is thriving and has 11 employees at their Orem office. Despite having a home base, the Cope boys’ sense of wanderlust has yet to wane. Just last year they ran the business from Australia for a few months while on vacation with their families.
Facts about the pack
- WANDRD bags are available online and locally at Allen’s Camera in Provo and Orem.
This bag, named PRVKE, comes in three colors: black, wasatch green and aegean blue.
WANDRD bags are made with water-resistant tarpaulin and ballistic nylon that can stand up to the wear and tear of travel.
Originally, the Cope boys wanted to name the company WANDERED, but the domain name was already taken and the owner wanted $20,000 for it. They dropped the vowels and gave up plans to buy an “E.”
This pocket is expandable and can accommodate a 1 liter water bottle or a travel-sized tripod, and it zips flat when you don’t need it.
Originally published in the 2018 summer issue of Utah Valley BusinessQ.