If youâ€™ve seen someone taking a nap in a brightly colored hammock hanging from trees, it might have been Jamie Procter. The sophomore entrepreneurship major began a hammock company with Sarah Fordin last year to help students relax between classes. Their brand? Relax and Do Designs, or RADD.
Inspired by his parentsâ€™ high-quality hiking equipment from the 80s, Procter wanted to build something that would last throughout his frequent hiking trips. The pair have frequently revised their designs and business models over the past year in order to make their hammocks ideal for a travel – and hike-loving Trinity student.
â€œA lot of it comes when weâ€™re on sporadic camping and road trips. Weâ€™re sitting there in the car for hours and thinking, â€˜The hammock feels comfortable, but it doesnâ€™t attach to gear well. Letâ€™s change that. Letâ€™s redesign the entire hammock.â€™ But a lot of it also comes from when youâ€™re camping, you have issues and you think of how you could solve them. What could we make that is better for us and for everyone else?â€ Procter said.
For Procter, the business was always his goal, even before coming to Trinity.
â€œI came into Trinity knowing that I wanted to pursue that career afterwards, so I was thinking, â€˜They have engineering, they have the entrepreneurship department and I can start [the business] while Iâ€™m in college and not even have to wait to start until after I have graduated,â€ Procter said.
Fordin, a sophomore studying computer science and biology, was not expecting to become an entrepreneur.
â€œI never thought I would be in a hammock company. I never even knew that they had travel hammocks before coming to Trinity. It was definitely something that I had never planned on before,â€ Fordin said.
The two relied on some friends to help make a video to advertise their Kickstarter. Sophomore music education major Ana White helped her friends with the music for the video.
â€œSarah said they needed background music and she was having trouble finding stuff, so she asked if I could do it. I play baritone ukulele, and Sam [Ellisor] plays guitar, so I came up with a chord progression,â€ White said.
White also tested the product, as she received one of the first original hammocks.
â€œIâ€™ve been using it a lot. We got it around Christmas. I have mine and I hang it on my balcony. Over Christmas break, there were a bunch of us that tied them all together in the trees on campus,â€ White said.
The entrepreneurs said that while they have not faced explicit opposition to the project from any peers, they have taken advantage of the constructive criticism that has been offered to them.
Fordin described critique as essential to the designing process.
â€œYou make something, you test it, you see whatâ€™s good and what your friends think. Then you go back to the drawing boards and you just repeat it about five different times. You think you got the solid, final design, and then you decide, â€˜Letâ€™s just redesign everything! Why not?â€™â€ Fordin said. â€œYeah, criticism really got us figuring out as a company, as a group, who we really are. It was helpful.â€
Currently, RADD has a Kickstarter that you can visit online and show your support. The company has about $4,000 of their $10,000 goal, and they have until the end of April to raise that money.
â€œIf all goes well, by May people that backed the kickstarter will have their hammocks and we will have an inventory built up to where we can start selling hammocks. Weâ€™d like to build a booth and go to music festivals and sell them in person as well as online. We have other designs in the works, but we really wanna make sure that this goes off well and is a solid product before we move on with things,â€ Procter said.
If youâ€™re interested in a RADD hammock or want to show support for Trinity entrepreneurs, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/relaxanddodesigns/radd-the-grom-hammock.