Meet Chad Porter, the 23-year-old founder and inventor of the Wearpack, a patent-pending detachable front handbag and backpack combined as one with an adjustable shoulder and waist bag. Because of its unique design, it’s lighter and easier to carry. He already has exclusive partnerships and licensing deals with three HBCUs — North Carolina A&T, Hampton University, and Simmons College.
Chad, who is from Cleveland, Ohio, says that he has wanted to be an inventor since he was in the second grade and he saw his opportunity when he was a sophomore at Ohio State University. He noticed that students were hauling fewer books and more technology around campus. That shift, he decided, required a change from the traditional, bulky backpack.
“The world is changing, the way we learn is changing,” he told Cleveland.com. “With the need for technology, we need to innovate that daily accessory. I invented the first Wearpack in my dorm room my sophomore year.”After multiple drawings, the former engineering student set up shop in his room. “I learned how to use a sewing machine, sourced supplies on Amazon, and began prototyping. It went through various transitions. I only sold 300 units my junior year.”
He has since trademarked the “Wearpack” name. And he created the “ChVd Justin” brand using his first and middle names to make, market and sell the new product.
After the first 300 sold, the business school student asked customers for feedback. Women wanted an adjustable Wearpack. In newer iterations, they got that, plus more padding, a water bottle holder, and reflective material for nighttime visibility.
Using what he was learning in business classes, Porter defined his market as college students. To that began branding bags with university logos. So far, he has secured five, Division I university licenses – The Ohio State University, North Carolina A&T, Hampton University (Virginia), Miami University (Ohio), St. John’s University (New York), and Simmons College (Kentucky).
“In the process of working with universities we furthered our innovation,” he notes. “We’ve developed clear bags for fans to take through security at games. We also sell a four-in-one stadium product.”
Creating and selling a product was just the beginning of building a business. During his college years, Porter says, “I started studying different founders and different products – Ralph Lauren and Under Armour — to learn what was needed to build those companies.”
Using their early examples, he notes, “I figured out how to make the business happen without having a lot of money.”
After graduating in January 2022, Porter moved back to Cleveland. He’s been developing and making the product as well as seeking funds. In October, he received $25,000 from the Cleveland FutureLAND President’s pitch competition. He’s planning to spend the money on inventory and marketing.
For more details, visit www.chvdjustin.com
This news was first reported on blackbusiness.com
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