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Website: www.topknotch.etsy.com or search Top Knotch Gear on Facebook
Owners: September Howat and Morgan Wujkowski
What products do you offer?
Top Knotch Gear offers hot new accessories perfect for the everyday adventurer. Whether you're exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu or those in your own garage, delving into the Mammoth Caves or the depths of your purse, searching for a new species or the remote control, Top Knotch Gear has something for you.
We create custom survival bracelets and keychains from military parachute cord (paracord) as well as ultra-durable and slim Tyvek wallets. The bracelets and keychains come in TONS of color combinations and look great on both kids and adults. They're called "survival bracelets" because I knot the paracord in a way that can be unraveled if you find yourself in need of rope. An 8" bracelet is made of about 8 feet of paracord! Survalists love this gear because it's an easy way to take extra cord on trips, but it turns out everyday adventurers like the cool look and the handy cord which is a perfect fix for a snapped shoelace or tying down the load in your truck!
The wallet is actually made of a Tyvek mailing envelope! It's trimmed and folded to form a super thin, ultra-strong wallet that's tear- and water-resistant. They come in clean white making them the perfect blank canvas for lists, important dates, or your own doodles! Whether you're a fan of a durable wallet, or kayaker who wants to keep your cash dry, I have just the thing!
And coming soon: Pet collars and leashes, lanyards, luggage tags and NEW bracelet and keychain styles and colors...
How did you learn how to make your product?
Although I've never been particularly crafty (not in the Bedazzler sense, anyway), when my girlfriend Morgan saw a survival bracelet and LOVED it I thought, "I wonder if I could make that..." My first bracelets were made with cat collar buckles from the clearance rack and rope that my Czech friend found in a drawer. They weren't perfect, but I was hooked. Fast forward to today: I tie and Morgan does all the photography. For years we've dreamed of taking a trip around the world and the paracord gear is going to help the dream become a reality. If the gear takes off like we think it will, in 2013 Morgan and I will take off too!
What is the difference between paracord and utility cord?
The biggest difference is in the strength of the cord. They're about the same diameter, both come in great colors and both look cool as bracelets and keychains. The paracord I use is military spec 550# which means it's rated to hold 550 pounds. This could come in handy if you were, say hoping to snare a bear ala Elmer Fudd, but most of us would be pleased with either paracord or utility cord as a drawstring substitute in a pinch. The utility cord comes in a lot of bright varieties with color flecks and reflective bits while the paracord has both bright and muted colors. I also have hemp cord in several colors, which makes a thinner bracelet for those who desire a slightly more "sophisticated" look.
What is your top seller?
The top seller has to be the U Call It bracelets, although the Steeler Special is getting a ton of hits too! With the U Call Its, you get to choose your favorite color(s), so you can support your high school or professional team, or get a keychain to complement your eyes, it's all up to you!
What made you decide to start a business?
Friends and family snatched items up left and right and convinced me to open a shop on Etsy.com... so here I am! Because Morgan and I like to move a lot (Philly, Grand Rapids, Detroit) and do a lot of traveling, the online format is as convenient for us as it is for our customers.
What occasions could people order for?
Oh, you don't need an excuse to order gear from Top Knotch, but here are some common reasons people order:
for the kid's sports team, parents of kid's on sports team, groomsmen or bridesmaids, hiker/backpacker, someone going through tough times, teacher thank you, outdoor adventurer, teen trend-setter, book club, college student, nature enthusiast, teambuilding groups, fan of a pro football/baseball/hockey/basketball team, cancer survivor, babysitter, stocking stuffer, bowling team, holidays and so many more!
Do you do custom orders?
Absolutely. Top Knotch Gear lists some popular color combos, but you can also customize to get the gear in any color you'd like!
Do you have a storefront?
The storefront for Top Knotch Gear is purely virtual at this point. I'm always looking to explore partnerships with brick and mortar retailers though. The gear is perfect for retail locations, marinas, dealerships, college/university centers, high school offices and there are discounts for orders of 10 or more!
How do people contact you?
Well, the best way is to visit Top Knotch Gear on Etsy at www.TopKnotch.etsy.com. There you'll find pictures, sizes and ordering information. You could also contact me by email at TopKnotchGear@gmail.com.
Do you ship?
I certainly do. Shipping information is included on the Top Knotch Gear esty page.