David Burke started Great Lakes Co a few years ago, out of his college dorm room. Since then, the company has grown into a full time gig for him and his friend. He was kind enough to do a phone chat with me to give me some insight into the backstory of the company.
Yodel Networking (YN): When did you start Great Lakes Co?
David Burke (DB): The idea started in 2012 through traveling and the need for something in Minnesota that people could connect with. Our (MN) lifestyle revolves around life at the lake. That can be: fishing, boundary waters, relaxing at the cabin, etc.
YN: Who started the company?
DB: Myself and my buddy Spencer. We have been friends since elementary school. He went to the University of Minnesota and I went to St. Thomas. I knew we grew up with the same lifestyle so I was happy to have him on board right away.
YN: What was your first product?
DB: We started with one design which is the american loon which is the flag design on our website.
YN: What was the budget to start?
DB: I put up $500 of my own money, ordered some shirts and had a Facebook page. It was very grassroots style. We sold out of our first 75 shirts within a couple weeks. Which was awesome!
YN: After your initial success, what direction did you take?
DB: It was the end of our senior year and we decided to launch a kickstarter. The concept was brand focused. It was our first go at manufacturing a product from the ground up. Our goal was $2,000 and we had designed a polo and belt. We raised $2,500 so we felt great about that.
YN: What's next?
DB: We are looking to hire people. Right now it's Spencer and I but we need more help; especially seasonally.
For more information on Great Lakes Co. check out: http://www.greatlakescollection.com/