Discover our partner FULL WINDSOR
Episode 5 of Let's Talk about you on RED-DOLPHIN's Youtube channel to discover with Mark Windsor the behind-the-scenes of the FULL WINDSOR brand...
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Hi everyone. I'm Laurent. Co-founder of Red Dolphin distribution in Switzerland in this episode and we are going to talk about a new brand. This brand is at the corners of several domains, like, food tech, outdoor, green tech segments. This brand? Is named Full Windsor. Good Morning, Mark.
Mark Windsor: How's it going on?
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Hey, good. And we have Mark Windsor. With us today. We are proud at Red Dolphin to represent your brand in Switzerland, Mark
Mark Windsor: It's good having you on board
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: I discovered full Windsor and…
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: your famous Magware. And the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Back in November, 2019, And…
Mark Windsor: Yep.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: how tell us Mark, how did it all start?
Mark Windsor: So I guess I'll give you a background about me and how the four Windsor began, so my whole background is industrial design.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Please.
Mark Windsor: So, Studied industrial design at university and then yeah, always been working as an industrial designer for many furniture companies. I'm originally from New Zealand and then quite a while back, I moved to London, where I work for some quite big design agencies as an industrial designer and then 2011,
Mark Windsor: I decided to go my own way and try my own thing. So I've always been keen cyclist and keen the outdoors. And our first product I released was actually a foldable mud guard. It was for bicycles so you could clip it on and off your bike and matter of seconds so you didn't have to permanently have mud guards on your bicycle. So we're on set on Kickstarter which was just like a fledging website. It's time just began and yeah that's how we sort of got going. We've got quite a bit of traction started selling and white products and product stores in the UK. And then
Mark Windsor: It's always progressed slowly. So we've always been bootstrap, so we've never had any outside investment. So I've just ran the company organically. So it's always been just the, you know, the money that we bring in for sales is kept the, the company going, we're still very small, there's only there's two of us that work full time on and then probably about 10 freelancers that jump on and off.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: So, yeah. So you're not the kind of startup who goes after VCs in California and making Pitch here, left, right and center to raise money.
Mark Windsor: No. We've never taken any money from anyone. It's all just being self funded so it's all just being. I think I put a little bit of money in to get it going at the beginning, but then it's all just come from sales. So, yeah, just bootstrap the whole way crowdfunding helped a lot with that. So, yeah, we've always had a strong community right from the get-go, just the people passionate. And then we moved from the outdoor. Sorry. They're cycling market into more of the arts old market probably about five or six years ago now and I just found it to be a lot more exciting. Marketplace is a lot more opportunities and sort of Room more exploration as well.
Mark Windsor: And at the same time we actually moved from the UK over to America and…
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: That.
Mark Windsor: speaking to you from Los Angeles. Why we did there is that we started doing an outdoor retailer show and we got really good traction with the biggest outdoor store and the US which is called REI. They have about 200 stores here, this sort of world known for their sort of their high caliber of products. And so the stores and the experience, they have, so we got them with them and then we're just saw that US market as a, you know, big opportunity and a lot more wellness to try small brands as well. Then we're experiencing and the UK. So, it made complete sense to move the company across here to the US. So we're in this, we've been in Los Angeles ever since. Yeah.
Mark Windsor: And so full Windsor, the name comes my last name's Windsor for Windsor is a tie knot but then it sort of, yeah, it was just to give the brand. I had playful feel as well. We had a monkey with a toilet. Used to be a logo of sort of changed that when we moved to the outdoor market we sort of redone the brand but but that's how the name came about and yeah, stuck with it.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Great, thanks. And now, if you would describe to moving from the bike and yeah, , you are a biker yourself to,…
Mark Windsor: Yep.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: to the Magware. Is it fair to say that right now? The emblematic solution for products you designed and are selling the most is Magware.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, so I guess with the bike products in as well, with some of our earlier outdoor products, they were quite they served the purpose in terms that they were very targeted within a niche. So the cycling that we have a few bike, multi tools and that we sell, and they were sort of sort of tiger towards the commuter, and the general cyclist in terms, what they were doing is they were taking elements like entire lever, a multi-tool and a box head spanner and combining them together. So when you're commuting on your bike and you can just check one tool in your bag and it does everything. And also the leverage and both the tall of the design as much better than sort of Swiss army fold out design. But so we
Mark Windsor: That's what we were. And then we shift the We brought out the Muncher and the Splitter Multitrongs titanium, and they were sort of really targeted.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Well.
Mark Windsor: Yeah. You see the muncher there on the right. They were very targeted at it. So the lightweight backpacking. And then the Magware sort of changed everything in terms of, We started appealing to a much wider audience, anyone with our mouth or mouth as our target market now, so it wasn't much, you ubiquitous product. It could be used by someone that's just Meg. We can be used by someone. That's just checking it in their bags. So they're not how it sort of came about. The actual original idea was from sustainability. Point of view, just said, amount of single issue, tense past utensils, being bend every time. I just want to address that problem with design and then so I just wanted to have a solution that was very easy to carry.
Mark Windsor: Very functional and simple as well. Don't know need to overcomplicate it, but bring a little bit of innovation, and also high quality materials into the design and solve a solutions that so someone would really enjoy eating with it and want it to carry it with them everywhere, as a alternative to, every time they go to a cafe or get fast food or anything, Yeah.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Quick quick, testimony from my side. They are always in my bag now. And just who, how came the idea of those magnets like the three elements of your cutlery stick together with the magnets, to combine like this and get something so thin. And how did you get there?
Mark Windsor: So I started just looking at utensils in general and what innovation could be applied to, and I found one of the most annoying things, or the current solutions is just they read all about in your bag. And even if you have a case, there's quite a lot of solutions that have carabina that holds them together but it's not a great solution because they're still red or around and you have to undo the Caribbean every time you wanted to use them. So my solution was Well, why can't we just put magnets in them and then they can just pull apart and then there's put it back together. But the other thing that once I started going down that road that I found is well not only, can you just hold one sit together and you can start to connect multiple things together because the way we've designed the features to have a male and female they can just you can just keep joining and drawing and joining can have like as many sits as you want. So then we and I looked at all, I can optimum amount of sits that people would actually want and we came up with the family that has five sets and that's perfect for.
Mark Windsor: In picnics camping. They're amazing for things like people and their van or camper vans because they all hold together in one tight little bundle and they don't rattle or anything. Where most people that go campervanning have a cutlery draw that redles around when they're driving about. And this you can literally just pick up as one unit when you're going camping going down the road for a picnic and you have you have one thing rather than a whole collection or a boss worry that you're taking with you. So that little innovation which originally I just applied to the single set then we made it. So yes you can keep on adding as many sits as you want to give up. If there's two of you going to said two nights two forks, two spoons together.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: From the idea and the magnets to making it real and creating this. What hurdles and problems you face that you did not anticipate.
Mark Windsor: So I make mini headaches for myself, as I like a very high quality items. So all our products are sort of at the high end of the each product category and the reason we do this is then we can use the best materials that we want. So what came the converse. So we've used titanium and things of that and other materials in the past. But then I realized the best material for this would actually be aluminum in terms of to get the design that we wanted and to get the form that. We want us particularly the spoon, the depth and things and the thickness of material just to be comfortable. To hold. Aluminum was the key. But
Mark Windsor: I wanted to use, I wanted it to be as strong as possible. And so, we actually came up with the idea to use 7075, great aluminum, which is actually has a better way to strength ratio than grade two titanium but it's incredibly expensive and it's very hard to talk in terms of to get the form. Exactly? Right. Just because of its share hardness. So that's when I create all the problems for myself. It took us a long time to get the tooling rights to be able to
Mark Windsor: We didn't want to. So, without titanium products, in the past, have done like, what they call heat bead and treat, where you actually heat up the multi material, then put it into the tooling, and then stamp it, where that deforms products, and sometimes create weaknesses and things. So we wanted to coal process, so we're using this really hard grade of aluminum. That's not usually used for this little application is very high end, it's used for or it came got invented because for an aviation industry, for a reducing weight on planes. So the strength to weight ratio is the key to a, but then, yeah, but we could lots of complications for ourselves just by using such a high-end
Mark Windsor: Material that has such good strength to weight. So, one of the biggest difference between our cutlery and other cutlery on the market is just you can just tell straight away. If you literally grab a Magware and just try to bend it like this, it just keeps flexing back and then the reason that we do that is material but also because it's such a light from here. We can have two millimeters thickness, where if you look at most of the competition, most of them, about one millimeter, some even less, and that they will, if you put this little force on and they'll be in straight away. So yeah, that's just so that value of material created a lot of problems for us, but at the end of the day, it's what makes the product so nice to use and as it had such a good reception since we launched it.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: And qualitative in the end. So having…
Mark Windsor: Yeah.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: because Shutter refill. The outdoor is not necessarily where people would expect a designer to put his head on.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, we found there wasn't. It was quite an interesting area again. There wasn't too much innovation there. Being plot replied to outdoor Cutler in the pastas sort of like a cookie cutter brands had just done a slightly different version to each other, but there hadn't been really anything that sort of stood out from the crowd and then we released megware. And that's why it got such a reception we did was at 700,000 with the sales for crowdfunding and in God and every rei in the country. And yeah, we have distributors around the world now for it. And one of the other amazing call qualities about this material as well as we can energize it in different colors. So the terms of finishing, it's called so your general anodized but that they don't wear that. Well, in terms Anodizing is quite easy to scratch. So these are what's called hard anodizing and that create another huge problem for us as well. It's hard anodizing, really level of
Mark Windsor: Station is about two or three times, the thickness of normal anodizing and to get consistent colors when you hard anodises, very hard. And that was a huge learning curve. And it took us about five or six months to get it, right? And now we've got it right, it's great but that's why we also can't change the colors very easily as well because it took so long to get the colors right using this process. It's not usually used for such things as calorie
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah, but great choice. The five colors for the, the sets are really amazing. So it's, it's I said that you cannot have red ones because as a red dolphin company, we we would love to have red category but the orange or turquoise. And yeah, green. Are they are all fantastic.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, we sort of did our inspired by nature so we sort of said, nature inspired. So it was the green for the forest the blue for the ocean. The turquoise will like the tropics read for fire, black for charcoal so they're all sort of colors you would see in nature. So that's sort of how the color spectrum came around and also been very distinctive from one another. So people want to use their own set straight away, you can see yeah. Who's who blocks? So
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah, sure. Yeah. You you were just talking before about expanding to now a lot of countries and probably used with your move to the US and reaching a strong retailer there. That's where your biggest success is. But where have you been expanding lately? What's what, what's the latest news?
Mark Windsor: So we talking, so we have so yourself who looks after Switzerland and…
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Switzerland.
Mark Windsor: then we have a German distributor and then we have a French distributor in place. We've been working with for a while now and that's going very well. But now we're looking at the Asian market. We've talking to one of the sort of the big outdoor Brand distributors. So let's just talks at the moment. There's a lot to work out but yeah, looking to the Asian market, it's particularly Japan. China Malaysia Taiwan, it's very Singapore. And keeps going. There's a yeah huge market out there for it as well.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah, and it is the The requirements or the the user needs, they you have no boundaries on on this no limit.
Mark Windsor: No, this was with the Mag where it's very ubiquitous product. In terms has very wide audience. In terms, you can use it for picnicking, you can use it for travel, you can use it, it's very giftable as well because it's unique design and sort of vibrant colors and things. It's very giftable. So, a lot of people, like we find sales around Christmas and things explode, because people were buying it for other people, especially when they bought a sit themselves and they really enjoy using it every day. Then a lot of gifting buying it for other people. And so, going back to the sustainability as well. The reason I designed it was to, you know, look at alternative to throw away culture with throwing away plastics, every time you have a fast food. So, a lot of people, you know, they care about there and it's, um, the coming visit, you the laws coming into place and places like UK, California, where they're actually going to outlaw single use plastic utensils. So a lot of people buy it for their friends because
Mark Windsor: They see their friends, every lunchtime buffing away, these single-use plastic sensors that get used for literally five minutes. And they're like, That's the length, they're lifetime then put in the burn and from sustainability point of view, the also the reasons we look chose. These particular materials, is there completely recyclable, aluminum is one of the, it's actually cheaper and more efficient to recycle aluminum, then get raw aluminum and from all. So it's an amazing material. In terms of it is more aluminum in the world today that gets recycled and constantly use it or getting extracted from the ground for aluminum use which is great. There's not many other materials like that
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah, exactly. And and back to maybe one one product we we haven't spoke about but your your move to Asian Market with the macstick, the chopsticks with the same magnetic feature is certainly a product, you you bet on for those new markets,
Mark Windsor: Yeah, so we really release the mag sticks at the same time. Just I are being using titanium chopsticks and they just such a pleasure to use and then I was thinking, Well, can't is there a little bit of innovation? We can apply this and one of the things that always annoyed me about the chopsticks I had as well, the ones that I was using around so the role. But so then we looked in we just selected a We just changed us to a square shape. So you lay in flat but then the other thing that was always annoying is you'd always have one in your bag and then the other one would be somewhere else. And we're just like, is there a way to tidy it up? So what we did is I designed
Mark Windsor: Went for a few different iterations. How exactly to do it. But so they're hollow these chopstick design and I designed a plug that goes in that holds a magnet inside at a particular position within the chopstick. So what it does is it holds the chopsticks together. It's not so strong that it would affect them when in use. So you don't have to worry about your sort of using your chopsticks and they keep grabbing together but it's just strong enough to hold one. It will hold on the other but it just keeps it always tidy and it keeps it. So someone just can keep them nicely together.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: yeah, you
Mark Windsor: It's just like putting in together on the table or just keeping them organized and draw. So, yeah. I see together.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: with the with the MAXSTICK you you solved the nightmare. We all have with the socks after washing them, and we have one and we missed the other one.
Mark Windsor: Yeah. So it was basically so applying the same small as only small innovation, I realize that but the innovation that we came up with the megware cutlery and just the plan that to the chopsticks as well.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah. Mm-hmm. And just to go also in your, in your direction regarding what's happening in in Switzerland, in our market and I can share with you that. Yeah, Swiss customers. They tend to have quite high level of green conscience, and appetite for Technologies and solutions that respect the, the environment and the planet. Because we are lucky enough to have great landscape here and
Mark Windsor: it's just such a short sadness that people have in terms of You why have a product that life cycle is and lifespan is literally five minutes. You're putting all those resources into the product. What why have it? So it's five minutes. When it's so easy, just to, I guess it's behavioral thing more than it is, actually the product itself of people getting used. It's a bit like shopping bags. How I don't too sure and Switzerland, but same example in the UK, They don't do single-use places shopping bags anymore because they realize it's just You know, you put your oceans, you that all the plastic was going to China anyway that people were recycling and then China had so much of it that they don't actually.
Mark Windsor: Use the recycled plastic anymore, so you just have this continuous chain of plastic being made, but no one can head is some limited capacity recycling for it, but it's very limited. What actually, most of people actually looked into numbers are realized that most of the plastic, they're throwing in the recycling bin is actually going to thankful all being burnt.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah.
Mark Windsor: So why put all this energy into product? That's gonna last five minutes? Why not just have it's almost going back to our older where thinking where why not have a quality product. You can use what you every day and keep it for a generation.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: But by the way you, you pushed the logic as well to the, the pouch, the the bag where we store the Magware, or any of your device because this is made of recycled material.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, so it's that's literally made of recycled pet bottles, so it's yeah. At least at least it's creating a use for always something that recurring away. So yeah, that polyester is just made 100% from recycled PG bottles.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: So yeah.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah, and moving forward, I I'd like to ask you about, Yeah, because you, you seem to have a personal vision and engagement and commitment going. In this direction. I saw that you are part of this 1% for the planet, maybe enlight us, maybe on, on this. Project and you and your vision around this.
Mark Windsor: So 1% of the plant people don't wear as organization. Originally founded by the founder of Patagonia, and what it is is you pleach to give one percent of your profits every year to Charity that involves with environmental causes. So we is a charity in the Philippines that we give to that.
Mark Windsor: They collect ocean waste ocean plastics, so they're literally gathering up plastic waste that they find ocean desert. People don't actually realize what the actual problem with the single-use place that way, is there's many problems. But when it particularly, when it gets in the ocean, it goes into the food chain. So fish, start eating the plastic and terribly unhealthy and not just fish, but other sea life as well, see birds turtles, the rest of it. They so what happens with the press plasticism, they caught micro plastic, what happens is it? It doesn't break up.
Mark Windsor: It doesn't just dissolve and it doesn't just stay whole it over time, it breaks up into these tiny little bit of plastic, and then plastic resembles food to marine life. So official, come on, eat it. And then, so that's a problem. In terms of the fish are dying because they have what was plastic build up, but they were a problem is then weird also eating the fish as well. So we're ingesting the plastic that was so and is it's a huge problem. Every ocean in the world has got plastic in it. So and it's a very hard issue especially because of micro plastic, there is a lot of variable work being done, people collecting Plastic with Fishy in the great Pacific garbage packs. There's lots of companies looking to solutions to how to clean that up, but it's a micro plastic that is nearly impossible to that.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Yeah. It goes beyond that mark.
Mark Windsor: We don't have a solution for a moment.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Unfortunately, because we even have startups and start up in Switzerland, who is collecting and working on collecting and helping us collecting our own garbage in space. Not only in oceans,
Mark Windsor: yeah, so yeah, we're human humans are unfortunately our wastefulness
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: I maybe taking you by surprise, but would you what are your next plans? If you can say a few words maybe to who to conclude about, What are you going to? Which direction are you going to aim now after the country?
Mark Windsor: Yeah. so,
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: And the bike?
Mark Windsor: Because I'm within so much success, with Magware and sort of been sort of a pivot with the brand. So, we're gonna stick on the same trajectory where we want. Ubiquitous products that sort of don't target such a small niche where, you know, they're usable by most people rather than a select niche within and the outdoor market. So we want people. So yeah, we're taking the same thing using high-end materials and little bits of innovation and we're focusing on the camp kitchen area just because it's yeah, so amazing space to be in and you can also because people that sort of appreciate the outdoors and there's the high end sort of level products within that space. We can use sort of materials that we want and there's a market for and also, we can also target areas where we think that is waste.
Mark Windsor: Well, where people we could target products that would help replace other single-use products. So we'll look into, there'll be will expand the med will range balls plates will be as differently coming soon and then we visit another few products as well within this camp kitchen range that we've started designing small innovations and we're still sort of haven't worked out all the but the little problems but we're in the process of development of these camp kitchen products. They're quite ubiquitous in terms of how they can be used, they can be used to picnics campaign traveling. Yeah so that's the sort of area that we want to target.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: A great. This actually combines super well with our interest in red dolphin because we we do promote and solar kitchen and cooking with ghosen and your Mac wear and the ghost. And the combined really well for people with RVs camping, cars or camping, so great, great combination in our portfolio, actually.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, and they have a good thing about it as well. People might buy in for camping, but then we can actually find. We've got quite a lot of feedback that people will just. They buy them originally for camping, but then, they check them in their bag. And they're actually just using every day. Just why they're at work sitting at a desk. So, yeah, daily every day uses also a big thing, as well.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Absolutely, yeah. So I'm I'm really looking forward seeing and the next innovations and products you're gonna prepare for us. And will be there to propose these two-hour resellers and and users in in Switzerland.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, I I wish it was fast but every time I design you product, a just make it very difficult for myself because I always like to apply these small innovations that make them more pleasurable and more exciting to use. But unfortunately soon as you come up with innovations, you make your life difficult in terms of. Once it's outside the existing manufacturing processes. It's a lot of backwards and forwards getting it to work.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Take your time Mark. Just design them as perfectly as we are used to from from you and and then we'll be so happy to to get those when they are finalized and ready. Do you think you're gonna use again crowdfunding?
Mark Windsor: Yeah, so we definitely all our products we because we've got this such a strong community within the crowdfunding community. Now, there's no downside to launching. We serve our community. We, we offer them before anyone else. They get a small sort of discounted price, but just because they're backing us before they even received the product. It's great for marketing and getting the word out there about the. So there's no real downside. It just and it had also helps with being a small bootstrap company, just cash flows and all always a big concern. When you have to have these big, minimum autumn runs products. So their crowdfunding community, just helps with that. And it just means that basically we couldn't even, we wouldn't even be in business if we hadn't kickstarted and use reached out to those people just because they sort of get behind it. And then once that one of our products and they sometimes might be a little bit late arriving but we sort of I net out and the past
Mark Windsor: Them once they see the quality and things then they'll usually each time we do a crowdfunding we actually look and see who's actually backing it. And we find that up to 60 70 percent of the back is actually from coming from the last campaigns just because they enjoy using those products so much
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Is growing. So, we hope to be contributing to this growth and bring you backers for for your next campaigns, and in your next products.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, sounds amazing to me.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Well, thank you Mark so much for being in this discussion and sharing to help people understand better who's behind, who will win Windsor. And, and why you are, you are doing it. And we're gonna expect really an excited to, to see the the new products coming. Thank you very much.
Mark Windsor: Yeah, if thanks Laurent. Thanks for sharing our products with us Switzerland.
Laurent @ RED-DOLPHIN: Thank you, Mark. Bye-bye.
Mark Windsor: just like,
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