In 2006, Würkin Stiffs started with the conception of a magnetic collar stay by Jonathan Boos. His wife (Amie) and then 10-month old son (Aiden) drove from specialty store to specialty store, selling their magnetic collar stays from the back of their car. That humble attitude and strong fortitude, is the core DNA of Würkin Stiffs.
The innovation never stops and the quest to strive for something better keeps Würkin Stiffs ahead of the pack. They continue to develop new ideas and product in which brings something exciting to all men. As the company continues to grow, the heart of its beginnings is never forgotten. They’re just… well… Würkin Stiffs.
MO: How did you come up with the concept of your Power Stays™ magnetic collar stays? What did your “aha” moment look like?
Jonathan: I came home from work, running late for dinner reservations on a Friday Night. My wife threw a brand new shirt at me, to wear for the evening. As I was buttoning the shirt up in the mirror, I could not believe the collar… I looked like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever! As I was complaining to my wife, I was trying to make the collar stand-up. Immediately, in the mirror, I had my “aha” moment and came up with the idea of fastening the collar magnetically. I ran into my garage, found a couple of magnets and grabbed two paperclips. I made my first prototype as I left for dinner that evening. To this day, I cannot believe how quickly I put it all together. Especially, when I was in such a rush.
MO: How long did it take from having the initial concept to getting it to market? What did your development process look like?
Jonathan: It took almost one-year to get from concept to market. The day after I invented the magnetic collar stay, I quickly did a patent search. I found no patents relating to my idea and I started the patent-pending process on Legal Zoom. Also, I came up with a company name and started the trademarking processes as well.
Developing the product was actually harder than you might imagine. Even though it’s a simple product to use, it took a lot of time to zero-in on the correct quality of materials as well as manufacturing processes to make it perfect. So, there were a lot of manufacturers and prototypes, until we could get it to production.
MO: Have you always been a creative and inventive person? How do you bring your ideas to life?
Jonathan: I’ve always been a creative person and I am constantly thinking, “How can I make this better?” Since childhood, I would draw existing products different ways to make them work for a dual purpose. When I was a teenager, I came up with the idea to connect a liquid fertilizing system to an existing home underground sprinkler system. The magnetic collar stay was the simplest idea I had come up with. It was a no-brainer!
All my ideas start out with a drawing and then thinking out-of-the-box for manufacturing. I do a lot of sampling and prototypes. I’ve just started getting into 3D Printing for my prototypes. Also, I do not believe going the “conventional” way to create a product is always the “best” way. For instance, if you were going to create something as simple as a ring, where would you go? A custom jeweler? Someone who does wax molds? I ask myself, “Is there technology in another industry that I can utilize to make the product in a way that has not been done before?” This opens your mind to more ideas.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial streak? If yes, who or what were your early influences and inspirations?
Jonathan: Since I was young, I was always interested in business. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and I was that Honor Student selling candy to students in Middle School. My staple candy was Now & Laters, and I knew the little store that had them the cheapest. In the winter, I’d sell Red Hots and in the spring, Lemmon Heads. I had a whole thing going on, profiting over $25 a week and never getting caught. That was good money to a twelve-year old in the late 80’s. I’m laughing to myself right now, because I’ve always done things that come naturally. I had no idea that was marketing at twelve… It was just common sense to me.
As a teenager, I went to a Tech-School while going to High School and learned Auto Body Repair. I used that knowledge and was custom painting motorcycles and cars at eighteen. I even did metal fabrication and customized vehicles as well. At the age of nineteen, I started a small business doing custom paint jobs on vehicles. Some won car and motorcycle shows. My colors were wild and bright. It was very different from what the bikers were used to in our area at that time.
My earliest influence had to be my mom and dad. My father owned and still owns a lawn maintenance business. My three brothers and I grew up working in his business at an early age. Nothing was ever handed to us… We worked for it. My parents never held us back and they were always supportive in all my craziness of wanting to do businesses. Even at twelve-years old (they knew I was selling candy, how do you think I got to the store) and I remember them calling me an entrepreneur, even when I did not know what that truly meant.
My biggest inspiration as an adult has to be Apple and Steve Jobs. All I can say is, “No one does it better.” From design, branding, business, marketing, etc. I’m truly inspired by them daily as I sit and design on my iMac, take calls on my iPhone and play on my iPad.
MO: How important has intuition been during your entrepreneurial journey?
Jonathan: I go with my gut a lot and I do very-very well with that. Your gut never lies! But, I believe more importantly than intuition is common sense. I’m a high school graduate, a family man not living beyond his means, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, and I have a real vision for my brand. Is that common sense or intuition? ;)
MO: It looks like 2012 is going to be a great year for Würkin Stiffs. Can you tell our readers some of the exciting things on the horizon for you and the company?
Jonathan: There are many exciting things going on with us Würkin Stiffs. We are entering new countries in a bigger way with distributors. We are currently rolling out into Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Europe and more countries are in the pipeline. I also have new design twists for bags and dopp kits for men. Our iWurk Collection will rollout for Father’s Day. It has received much notice from buyers inside as well as outside of the menswear industry. There’s so much going that it’s exciting and exhausting all at the same time!
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