About the Episode:

In today’s episode, we’re talking to Justin Kwong, the founder of ISM, a brand new San Francisco-based company that makes a very fashion forward, stylish line of men’s backpacks geared toward the young professional, as well as a growing line of other products like water bottles and chargers that fit the same design aesthetic.

Originally from Hong Kong, Justin’s spent most of his adult life living here in San Francisco, where he’s worked in various growth, product and design jobs at several different startups.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he got the inspiration for creating ISM’s first product—the Classic Backpack—after wondering why all of the premium, high-quality backpacks he saw from brands like Tumi, Shinola, and Gucci were all priced between $500 and $1,000, it left him wondering why no companies were making great looking, high-quality backpacks for young professionals that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

It was right there, that ISM was born.

In Today’s Episode, We Talk About:

02:34 Where Justin’s originally from.
07:30 How he began to implement his idea.
09:29 How he created a prototype for his idea.
11:05 How he found a manufacturer for his idea.
12:51 How he found his first factory.
13:43 How he got to the product they’re selling today.
16:24 His biggest growth channel.
19:49 Search terms that drive traffic to their site.
22:10 His number one piece of advice for anyone looking to start a product based business.
23:55 The best investment he’s made in order to grow his business.

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Connect with My Guest:

The ISM Website

Justin on LinkedIn and Twitter

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If you enjoyed this episode of The Side Hustle Project, I would love your support. Head over to the show on iTunes or in the Apple podcast app and give us a rating please! And as always you can catch every episode on the Apple podcast app, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for tuning in.


Ryan Robinson

Writer, side project aficionado, and part-time entrepreneur. Join me here, on ryrob.com to learn how to start a blog, make money blogging and grow a profitable side business. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.

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