In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Matt Adams, founder of The Decent Co., creators of The Decent Butcher Block. Elegantly engineered to blend traditional craftsmanship with modern design, The Decent Butcher Block is a durable cutting board that’s built to last a lifetime. Learn about the inspiration behind the product and its road to Kickstarter.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • What inspired Matt Adams to create The Decent Butcher Block
  • The design process including how the poduct’s features were decided
  • The biggest surprise that came with launching the Kickstarter campaign
  • The importance of early bird perks and how it can affect a crowdfunding campaign

Links

Sponsors

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Transcript

View this episode's transcript
Roy Morejon:
Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, president of Enventys Partners, the top full service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over a hundred million dollars for our clients since 2010. Each week, I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur, or a business expert in order to help you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow. The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.
Roy Morejon:
Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today, I am talking with Matt Adams, founder of The Decent Company. Matt, thank you so much for joining us today on the show.
Matt Adams:
Thanks for having me, Roy. I appreciate it.
Roy Morejon:
So, I’m trying to become a better cook, now that we’re all at home and spending more time with our family and you have created an amazing cutting board truly built to last, you’ve done a ton of engineering in this thing. So really excited to talk to the audience about this innovation, but really I’m excited to hear from you in terms of where did this start? What inspired you to create this product?
Matt Adams:
Yeah, it goes back quite a few years. I’ve been actively working on this project and the company for about two years since December 18th, 2018. That was kind of the day that everything crystallized and decided to proceed. But before that, I’d been kicking around some ideas as well. I’m an amateur cook, I cook at home a little bit myself. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie or a home chef or anything official, but I had been frustrated by cutting boards, failing on me, that’s in my Kickstarter intro video and it’s true. That really is kind of the inspiration that kicked this whole thing off. And that has been years and years now. It’s just been a frustration of mine personally. I stumbled upon end grain butcher blocks. Boos Block, they make a great product. They’re the number one player in the market. And there’s a lot of guys, other guys out there as well. Just notice though, that there are some fundamental failings, I guess, that end grain orientation addresses some problems, but then inherently there are some other problems as well.
Matt Adams:
So, I got that nugget of idea in my head and then… Going back, I guess, concurrently my grandfather, he was a jack of all trades and really of like a Renaissance man. He worked, founded a car dealership, was a woodworker, a metal worker and an artist. And he created a brand, his own brand of walking sticks, for one in his retirement when he was like 90 years old. Walking sticks and stuff in the kitchen, actually spoons and spatulas and things of that nature out of hard maple as well. So, that inspired me on that. And then, concurrently with the idea about butcher blocks. The idea came to mind, I was like, “Oh, we can do something a little bit better.” My stepfather is also a woodworker and has just retired and I was for a couple years, I was prodding him to make this stuff and then I would market it and sell it and he never bit on that. So at some point I just decided to take the idea for myself and run with it.
Roy Morejon:
So when you were creating this process, talk to me about the design process and how you went about deciding what features to include, because I’m an absolute love with the name of a juice groove. So give our audience a little bit of insight there.
Matt Adams:
It’s groovy, yeah. So yeah, I played around with the idea for the upgrade model to call it groovy is the kind of name. Yeah. I think juice groove is actually a pretty standard industry term. I don’t know. There’s lots of other names that could be used. Yeah, these specific ideas, I guess they just evolved. The embedded structural support, I would say that that’s kind of the core fundamental idea and this actually… The base model, The Decent Butcher Block, without the juice groove, that was for a long time, the product. We didn’t have the upgrade model with the juice groove. It was just that. The end grain orientation, but then the structural support to strengthen… That end grain orientation when it runs north and south, there’s a lot of good benefits of the end grain orientation for the cutting surface, but it’s kind of weak in that and it can bow in the middle if it’s up on feet and if it’s dropped, it can split in two really easily. That’s why I added the structural support to address those issues.
Matt Adams:
Then I had never been actually a fan of juice grooves. I had always hated juice grooves on a cutting board when I’m using it because it takes away usable cutting surface and constricts me to coloring inside the lines, which I don’t like to do. It just makes me feel constricted. Call me weird, I guess I am a weird guy in that way, but maybe awesome as well. I don’t know. So I never liked the juice groove. I didn’t want to offer it on my product, but then I got a lot of feedback from people that I was showing that they said, “You got to have a juice groove, you got to have a juice groove.” So I thought, “Okay, well, I can add a juice groove, but I guess it doesn’t necessarily need to be on top and constrict me and take away usable cutting surface.” So that’s where the inspiration came to just put it around the side and let the juices just flow over and collect the juice on the side.
Roy Morejon:
Killer. So give me some insight into your introduction to crowdfunding. How did you decide that crowdfunding and Kickstarter was the right path or means to launch this product out into the world?
Matt Adams:
I guess it’s just… I don’t know when Kickstarter started, actually, I’ve kind of forgotten that detail, but it’s grown. It’s really almost the preferred method of launching a company these days. It’s a platform for telling a story and connecting personally with an audience and creating a following and a community where previously there was none. So, it’s a great marketing tool. So cash is one thing and that’s comes with a successful Kickstarter, but all the other stuff as well, just the exposure and the community aspect and all of that, it’s become clear that it’s a great platform. I’ve seen other companies that I like launch there and grow into very successful companies and from the start, I guess I just knew that that was the way to do it.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. In terms of talking about community, give me a little bit of insight in terms of your experience with the backers that have come into the campaign so far, and maybe those that you’ve talked to before the campaign ever launched. How have you gone about managing the feedback, promoting it and then getting ready to go into manufacturing?
Matt Adams:
Well, it’s a new nascent community, actually, just starting to develop now. The run-up to get to this point… I’ve been working on the marketing stuff, all along the way the last two years, but haven’t really started executing on the website and the Kickstarter/Indiegogo up until recently the past few months. I guess, earlier this spring, we started with Kickstarter. We’re planning on that then kind of flip-flopped and then thought we were going to go to Indiegogo. I really liked the Indiegogo platform and I’ve been in contact with those guys as well. But then we just recently switched back with a little bit of feedback from you and your team just about Kickstarter being maybe a better platform for a larger launch in this particular field with this type of product. I forgot the question, Roy. I was kind of wandering off topic there [crosstalk 00:08:53].
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, we were just talking about the overall feedback with the community in terms of the engagement that they’ve been giving you. Have they given you any new product ideas or insights or making a smaller version or the big daddy version, those kinds of things?
Matt Adams:
Yeah. I’m getting a little bit of that. The feedback is just starting to trickle in now. There’ve been some good nuggets. There are a lot of feedback about what needs to go into the FAQ. And most importantly, which is important right now for selling the product. Specific, I did have one feedback and unfortunately this is maybe call it a negative experience or not. I don’t know. One guy wanted the product made without feet. And I expressed that, well the feet are there for a reason. It’s very important for the wood to dry out evenly because that’s the most common cause of failure in a product. You set it down with moisture on the bottom, the top dries out the bottom does not, it warps and splits.
Matt Adams:
And so, in not so many words, I said, no. I tried to get him to rethink his idea and he dropped his pledge. I’ve kind of feel bad about that, because, had he, I guess asked again, “Yeah, but can you do it?” I suppose I would have done it, but I just wouldn’t feel good about it. So yeah, I’ve had a little bit of feedback with customers. No new ideas, I guess at this point, but it’s been great interacting with the community and just feeling their enthusiasm and their love for the product. That’s pretty validating after I’ve been working on this for about two years now.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. I mean, I always go back to the Ford quote in terms of asking customers what they wanted and they would’ve said faster horses. So-
Matt Adams:
True.
Roy Morejon:
… it’s tough that there’s not a product for every individual person when years have gone into the engineering and the building of this product and the design, all of the features are there for a reason.
Matt Adams:
Yep, yep. Yeah. And yeah, that was kind of tough. I kind of debated on that answer that I gave to him, but I just don’t feel good putting the product out there and putting my name on it when there’s a very good chance that… And I explained that to him, it’s like, it only takes one time and it happens to the best of us. I’ve destroyed… Me, I’m a very careful person and I’ve destroyed cutting boards on the regular. So, it happens to everybody. So I don’t want to send my baby out there and it’s going to break and then he’s going to feel bad and is like, “Oh, what a crappy product.” Or whatever. So yeah, it’s hard to please everybody like you said, and this is a very niche product and I’m fully aware of that, but most people just won’t appeal to, but I’m finding now that people really have an enthusiasm for it and love the product. And that’s awesome.
Roy Morejon:
That’s great. So what’s been your biggest surprise of your Kickstarter campaign thus far?
Matt Adams:
Biggest surprise, I guess, it’s just been a little bit of a wild ride and that should not be a surprise. I came into the thing playing it pretty cool then it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster. Monday when we launched we had a relatively good first day, pretty big, I would say, not stratospheric but solid. And we sold out of our early birds or super early birds and then came to find that people were not biting as much on the higher price, early bird, regular early bird. And a lot of people gave me feedback that I should have offered more super early birds and I’m new to the platform, so I’m learning as I go on this. So, I guess that’s how it works and they were right. Customer’s always right. So yeah, second day kind of leveled off and really slowed down. And so then, morning of the third day it was like, “Okay, let’s get this trending back up again.” So, just had to modulate and course correct a little bit along the way. And I feel like we’re back on the right track now and accelerating again.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, it’s good to see the active campaign doing well and getting constant communication back from the community. That’s going to help bring this product to market. So, excited to see this thing all the way through. So Matt, this is going to get us to the launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a handful of questions at you. So you’re ready to go on the block?
Matt Adams:
Yeah, absolutely go for it.
Roy Morejon:
So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Matt Adams:
I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve failed at many jobs because I couldn’t focus on the small tasks and was more interested in the big ones and kind of realized that late in life and decided just to jump in and start doing my own things and I’m super happy about it.
Roy Morejon:
So if you could meet any entrepreneur throughout history, who would you want to have a steak with?
Matt Adams:
Good question. Right now I’m fascinated by Elon Musk. And so I haven’t had a lot of time in advance to think about it. Elon Musk is just a freak and I think a kindred spirit in that way and fascinates me and obviously a visionary.
Roy Morejon:
What would be your first question for him?
Matt Adams:
First question?
Roy Morejon:
How do you like your steak?
Matt Adams:
No, no, no, he can eat the steak any way he wants. I don’t care. I don’t know. I think I would probably go to a more personal question. If I had only one question, something like, “Yeah, dude…” Part (a) of the question, “What’s up with you?” And (b), “How have you come to embrace your weirdness so much and just rock out with it? I think it’s pretty awesome.”
Roy Morejon:
Nice.
Matt Adams:
A little bit of validation and a question about how did you come to get to this point?
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. I like that approach. Any book you would recommend to a budding entrepreneur?
Matt Adams:
No. Yeah. I’m not a huge reader in the business space. I’ve picked up books and started, Blue Ocean Theory and so on and so forth. I don’t know. I pick up my knowledge elsewhere. I studied business and economics and marketing in university and everything. Since then, I’ve just kind of soak things up like a sponge. Google News, honestly is where I probably get most of my inspiration. The Google algorithm has figured out what I’m interested in and dialed it in and I spend a lot of time on Google News.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. All right. I know you’re early on in your first Kickstarter campaign, but early to get your insights into what the future of crowdfunding looks like from your perspective?
Matt Adams:
Future crowdfunding? It’s a good question. I think there’s a lot of risk in crowdfunding. And there’s so many people doing it that you just fly under the radar and there’s a good chance of failure. So maybe taking the risk out of it, somehow extending campaigns and maybe, I don’t know, giving folks a chance to really build things up over a longer term and maybe even give equity in the company. I know that’s one of the no-nos on the platform, but-
Roy Morejon:
Yeah.
Matt Adams:
… yeah, maybe yeah. Maybe just kind of give folks a chance to get the community involved on a longer term basis and build things more gradually, rather than bang, here you go, 30 days, make it or break it.
Roy Morejon:
Impressive. No, I like that. I really enjoyed this conversation, Matt. This is now your opportunity to give our audience your pitch. Tell people what you’re all about, where they should go and why they should check out The Decent Co.
Matt Adams:
Sure. Well, yeah. The Decent Co. we’re a new brand of e-commerce direct to consumer kitchen products, just built to a really, really high standard. Standard that to my personal standard and to what I suspect my consumers share, built to last, beautiful design, unique design elements that are useful. We got this beautiful end grain butcher block, embedded support structures, silicone juice groove along the side. We’re probably looking as well in the future into… I’ve got a few ideas for cookware, cast iron cookware, knives, things of that nature. And yeah. And we were building the company in a right way as well. Working with good folks, made in America and giving back as well, planting every tree for every cutting board sold and join 1% for the planet. So we want to give back along the way as well.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, Matt, thank you for being on the [crosstalk 00:00:18:18].
Matt Adams:
Where to get [crosstalk 00:18:18]. Yeah, sorry to interrupt, Roy. But where to go? That’s the important plug right now.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah.
Matt Adams:
Kickstarter.com. I don’t have the URL. Unfortunately, it’s a very long URL, but google The Decent Butcher Block, the Kickstarter will pop up and yeah, check it out there. And thedecent.co, T-H-E-D-E-C-E-N-T.C-O, no M at the end. Sorry for that plug, Roy, but appreciate it.
Roy Morejon:
Plug away, obviously. Thank you so much for joining us. Audience, thanks for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, and the actual link to the campaign that’s going on right now. And of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors the Gadget Flow and ProductHype. Matt, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Matt Adams:
Thanks Roy, I appreciate it.
Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. And of course if you love this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find this show and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on enventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you again next week.