Why Are Jordy Smith, Sage Erickson, and More Investing in this Luggage Company?
“This is the best board bag I’ve ever seen.”
When Covid hit, I started writing copy for a Norwegian bag and luggage company called Db. I’d never heard of it, but an old coworker had become their CMO and brought me on to peck the keyboard on their behalf.
“Oh, and we’re going to make surf bags, too,” he said.
“Sure,” I thought, and got back to writing transactional emails.
Part of my welcome package was getting “one of everything” so I could know about the products I was writing about. So one day several boxes of backpacks, rollers, duffels, camera inserts and snowboard bags showed up on my doorstep.
I’m not a product guy. As a consumer I don’t geek out on brands or pay attention to what makes a product great. I just want my stuff to work and be invisible. But since I was getting paid to pay attention, I dug into it all and learned that it was all objectively good. High quality materials with a few unique features — pockets in the right places, ribs that allowed bags to maintain their shape, the ability to adjust the length and compress the ski / snowboard bag. Stuff like that.
Over time, I heard more and more about the surfboard bags. Then I started hearing familiar names. Jordy Smith…Sage Erickson…Noah Wegrich…Kepa Acero…Nikki Van Dijk…Othmane Choufani…Cooper Chapman…Noah Lane and so on.
“Huh,” I thought, “maybe they actually are getting into surf.”
Then another box arrived at my doorstep — two prototypes of The Bunker and The Shelter, the board bags they just announced today.
The Bunker was a proper coffin that fit up to four boards and was built with their Rib Cage Tech and folded up small so they were easy to store (my gf loved this part).
Here’s what I was most psyched on…
The Pack Bags — these are shaped to fit around the noses and tails of your boards, so instead of wrapping towels and boardshorts around them and hoping they don’t wriggle free, you can pack anything soft in the pack bags and protect your vulnerable points while saving room in your suitcase.
The Hook-Up System — This is part of Db’s “brand DNA”, in that almost all of their luggage attaches to their other luggage. So, as you can see in the below shot of Sage Erickson, you can attach the hooks on the nose of the board bag to your roller bag and schlep it all with one hand. You could also attach a backpack to the board bag for an additional piggyback ride. This only works if you have other Db bags.
The Shelter is a single board bag that fits boards from 5’3″ – 6’4″ because of it’s Length Adjustment System, which does exactly what it sounds like via Db’s hooks and daisy chains.
I’m aware that there’s a tendency for all of us to drink our employer’s Kool-Aid, so I tempered my excitement around the bags, and waited for third-party validation. I left them visible in my garage and watched friends walk by them en route to a backyard hang.
One such visitor was Stab’s own Ashton Goggans — a man whose board bag might as well be his permanent address — who immediately grabbed The Bunker and started giving it a physical.
“This is the best board bag I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This is literally game-changing.”
He was most excited about the Hook Up System and the ability to fold it up when not in use.
“Genius,” he said.
At least three other friends echoed these sentiments, which made me feel confident that the Kool-Aid wasn’t spiked. And anyway, Jordy drank it.
Speaking of Jordy. You might be wondering, “How did they get A-listers to become ambassadors for a company that’s unproven in surf?” It’s a fair question, but really, they didn’t. They got them to become investors.
I have no visibility on these deals, but here’s why I think they rolled the dice with Db…
Db’s done it before — Not in surf. But their compressible, length adjusting ski/snowboard bag was revolutionary and won all kinds of awards, etc. So they know how to make really good products for niche communities.
The rebrand — This company used to be called Douchebags. For real. It was a cheeky little English-as-a-second language joke that accidentally turned into a legit company. Why not put your money into a brand that has amazing products and track record, but has been handicapped with a name that 98 percent of the English speaking market wouldn’t rock? They’re betting on a sprinter that just took the parachute off.
The team — I don’t know if all Scandi companies are like this but the efficiency and hustle and overall pleasantness this team exudes is pretty ridiculous. And they’ve really worked with these ambassa-vestors to make the products legit. Collaboration from day-dot was key, in my opinion.
So they’ve got the products. They’ve got the track record. They’ve got the team (rumor around the water cooler is that they’re about to add another wolf to the pack — a free-surfing Aussie goofyfooter annnnnd I’ve said too much.) Now they just need the world to open back up.
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