#54: Behind The Scenes of Product Development with Jimmy Hayes from Minaal

Minaal was founded on the core principle of reducing travel drag, by offering durable gear that saves you time without sacrificing style. Co-founder Jimmy Hayes joins us this week to talk about product design, soliciting initial feedback, prototyping new models, and business lessons he’s learned along the way.

Topics Discussed:

  • 03:00 – Background of Minaal, inspiration, and product lines
  • 04:30 – Embracing yourself as a challenger in the marketplace
  • 06:00 – Finding the niche between travel and business gear
  • 10:00 – Identifying and working with your first customers
  • 15:00 – Scaling back the initial concept and integrating feedback
  • 17:00 – Living in Vietnam and modifying prototypes with the factory
  • 19:00 – Learning about product design, components, and material
  • 20:30 – Pounding the streets and getting feedback with a sample
  • 22:00 – Figuring out what feedback to keep and what to discard
  • 29:30 – Crowdfunding and how Kickstarter works
  • 33:00 – Strategies on Kickstarter, covering your bases, and streamlining the process
  • 39:00 – Benefits of having a healthy dose of ignorance starting out



Mentions in the Episode:

Episode Length: 41:51


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  1. Jimmy! Super awesome interview!
    I’m excited to see the kickstarter happen soon. I’ll stay tuned and make sure I help out in any way I can.
    I’m off across the US right now and have been telling folks about this awesome dude Jimmy I recently met and his rad travel bags. Hope things are going well.

    1. Awesome, thanks Jeremy. Let’s cross paths again sometime soon. Good luck with Tradlands, you guys will crush it.

    2. Button up shirts for women? Nice!

      Have you looked at custom made business shirts for women? A bit different to your niche but when I – like thousands of others – tried to start a custom business shirt website, the only response I really got was from women begging me to serve them too. Worth thinking about, given women’s busts make it so much harder for them to buy a shirt for the business world.

      1. Interesting… I do know some mens custom shirt companies but now that you mention I’ve never seen the women’s side.
        Thanks Matthew.

  2. Only 3 minutes in and loving it already. Jimmy doesn’t waste a word, love the communication style.

      1. Afraid not Jimmy, am hanging around in Europe to meet up with my super awesome parents;

  3. Really enjoyed jumping on the call with you Terry – your questions hit all the right spots.

      1. I was thinking that too, Terry. You just nudged it along perfectly.

  4. Great interview fellas. Really enjoyed the style and hearing more about Minaal (soon to be massive).

    Of course, the NZ ‘attractive sheep’ humour wasn’t wasted on me either 😉

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