EDC and Us :)
When we launched Ridge, we were broke.
It was 2012 and there wasnt funding options for ecom companies.
Ecom was niche.
We had no network, couldnt even get credit cards.
So we went on kickstarter
It was the kickstarer era!
Facebook ads were new and cheap.
No one had gotten scammed yet…
It felt like a new avenue of entrepreneurship was just unlocked.
Communities coming together to bring products to life.
And the community that supported us on kickstarer?
The Everyday Carry community.
What the hell is that?
Its a group of people who obsess about the tools they carry with them everyday.
Check out the sub reddit. If you dont know about it, it wont make sense to you lol
Like any community, it is full of strong opinions.
People will fight over the BEST flashlight for every type of situation.
They could name 2 dozen brands, the pros and cons.
They are forum enthusiasts, posting reviews and photos about their hobby.
And they loved our wallet.
They shared it on forums and in buying guides.
We wouldnt exisit as a company today without them.
Everyday Carry (EDC) started as a tumblr blog, ran by Bernard, the editor in chief.
It was an outlet for him to share his favorite headphones or pliers.
(He is also very funny on twitter)
Some tech partners stepped in and tried to build the Men’s Pinterest.
That didnt work lol
So for a few years the tech partners just tried to juice EDC for money.
When Ridge reached out to buy them, things were stagnant.
Revenue was flat, traffic was flat, community was shrinking.
At one point EDC was the COOLEST gear publication, but the focus on revenue made it less cool.
Enter uncrate, cool material, gear patrol…
They took EDCs top spot.
The reasoning behind the deal below.
How does EDC make money?
Two main buckets:
The most steady bucket of revenue
$1,000+ every day
Mostly from amazon, but also through more direct affiliate programs
A less predictable bucket
One off ad sales to brands for launches, PR, direct sales
Makes up over 50% of the revenue
Ongoing yearly deals with top brands
Casio, Leatherman, 5.11 tactical
EDC was in a steady, slow, decline.
Costs were low, Bernard was a contractor at this point and the whole thing ran on freelancers.
EBITDA was like 400k trailing 12 months.
Thats what the tech partners were splitting.
We got EDC for 1m, cash up front.
So already, a very low multiple.
But then we had to plan the future.
We bought an asset that makes 400k a year in profit.
But, in its current state would it survive 3 years?
More importantly, ridge doesnt care about 400k.
How can we get 40 MILLION worth of value out of this?
Make Bernard the face of EDC
Original founder, most knowledge gear guy I know
Brought him full time into ridge as VP of EDC
Get him involved in Ridge product decisions
He knows what makes good products, have him help us make the best stuff
Build a team
2 contractors were running all of edc
We hired 8+ people to build out the org
Rebuild socials and community
Social was neglected
We are building a team to scale shortform and youtube reviews
Community was in an okay place, facebook group and discord were live
But we are going to spend 10k+ a month to grow engagement here
Rebuild the website
the website was a custom build from 2013
It should just be on wordpress lol
Get our credibility back
No more affiliate shilling, no more bad sponsored emails
every day we need to put out 2 HIGH QUALITY journalistic pieces
Become the trusted source again
12 month goal to surpass 1m monthly uniques
Value for Ridge:
Hey this is a ton of fucking work.
Why do this?
EDC drives a million+ in sales every month to amazon, thats where the affiliate commission comes from
So we have MILLIONS of dollars and YEARS of buying behavior in front of us
Essentially solved our product roadmap
When you hire someone, you often screen for competence, but do you ever screen for passion?
People can learn new skills in weeks/months, but you cant learn to be passionate about something
Ridge hires the BEST people, but sometimes those people dont really know about gear
Buying EDC guarantees us an inflow of passionate gear people into the business
Now we are surrounded by writers who live and breath the stuff
Yeti taught me you need to win over the Pros to win over the masses
Yeti sponsors bear hunters and fisherman to give their product the authenticity to sell to the backyard BBQer
Owning EDC puts me in the room with the most passionate consumers
I hear what they love and what they hate every day
Now I can get press passes to any event
Thats cool lol
But more importantly, if there is a brand we want to talk too, we have a PR trojan horse
We already get sponsorship dollars from the biggest outdoor brands, now they get to hear about how cool Ridge is at the same time
PR needs a kick to get started
Now every launch for ridge gets that PR kick
Every launch we do gets sent to hundreds of thousands of gear heads
New product launches have gotten 5x as successful
Publication ad accounts
We now have a new ad account to run paid content through
One with built in community and cache
Paid ads are only going to get more expensive
Buying a publication is a hedge on cost per impression
EDC will get a million monthly unique visitors in a few months
Cost? Just what it takes to produce the content :)
We bought EDC for less than a 3x multiple
Ridge would trade between 8-15x
So buying EDC ads enterprise value to the business
Profit is profit after all
EDC cost 1m upfront.
But it operates in the red right now.
That 400k in profit, 33k a month, is being put into the publication.
Our goal is to get EDC to 1m monthly visitors and 100m monthly views on social.
Building that takes time and money.
We want to build the best gear publication ever.
And the longterm benefits for ridge are huge.
Product data, PR, revenue, traffic, connections.
Brand owned media is a powerful tool.
But it is a lot of fucking work.
Thanks for sharing - big fan of this strategy.
Part of the magic is that you brought the founder back on - he's going to do 75% of the heavy lifting which is nice.
Fire article, thanks for the transparency. Just need a proofreader for these Substack pieces...