How The Internet Kicked Jetsam Wallets Into The Offline Market, An Online Success Story

make money onlineThis Week’s Cool Internet Business Idea started on the internet, but with a boost from several online platforms expanded offline and into 100 stores across seven countries!

Laura Skelton’s baby Jetsam is a fashion start-up that makes unique wallets from old clothing and men’s vintage textiles.  Originally hand-made, the wallets are now mass produced thanks to a little  internet elbow grease.

In an interview with Drew Guarini at HuffingtonPost, Laura explains how she started designing her eco-friendly manly wallets.

You’ve been making products from vintage accessories since your teens. What about this process still gives you such joy?

It’s a little hard to explain but it’s like I have this drive to create things with my hands. Even when I take a break from making products for Jetsam I ended up making these elaborate costumes and crazy installations just for fun. Part of what I really love about Jetsam is the challenge of tackling something with constraints. There’s only certain size pieces you can get out of an old necktie or an old jacket, so making them all work together can become a bit of a challenge. It’s sort of like putting a puzzle together. I get joy from it because it’s a combination of the satisfaction I get from making things but it’s also the intellectual satisfaction of solving these design puzzles.

In 2007, when Laura founded Jetsam, she began selling online through forums like, where artists can set-up shop online and sell their creative wares. Eventually, Laura built a following and had trouble keeping up with orders, always running out of stock. In fall 2011, she decided to upscale into larger production. To do this though she required more funds and made her way to Kickstarter.

make money from home

Jetsam wallets

Jestam’s original funding goal of $4000 was met and surpassed with a resulting and resounding $26,379! Laura credits the Reddit community for the large amount of  attention and dollars paid to her project.

Reddit is a social news website where users get to post interesting stories and vote on which are good and which are bad. If you’re story makes it to the front page, you get lots of exposure and in Jetsam’s case lots traffic and pledges.

So, what started as a micro-enterprise, grew beyond its online breeches with the help of such  platforms as Etsy, Kickstarter and Reddit.

For Laura, the extra funding gave her some freedom and peace of mind. Read her explanation to HuffingtonPost:

I was able to ramp things up much more quickly. It’s a scary thing taking that leap to mass production and it gave me so much confidence having that support out there for what I was doing. On top of getting things on the fast track and getting in a secure position, when you’re manufacturing on this scale one of the big problems is cash flow. In order for me to produce this line on a large scale, I have to come up with enough capital to buy all these materials and keep with the labor for potentially months before I can see that cash back from the actual sale. Without that money I would have had to make a small batch, get my money back, then a medium batch, get my money back and then a large batch to get my money back. But that $26,000 upfront meant that I could make a huge batch as my first batch. I can’t see how any of that would have happened without the support of Kickstarter and the Reddit community.


The main point I want to make is that online resources can really jumpstart a business. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes by surprise. You just have to get out there and try!small business news

What I adore about Jetsam’s story is that it shatters the age-old starving artist  assumptions that underline our beliefs around pursuing a creative life. I think Laura teaches us that yes we can follow our passions and new technology can help us do that.

So, what are your thoughts on Jetsam’s success? Does it inspire you to follow your business ideas? Do you know of other similar success stories?Leave a comment and let’s chat!

(HuffingtonPost full article: Laura Skelton, Jetsam: Wallets Reborn From Vintage Clothing )

Read about another crowdfunding website for performers, GigFunder.


Love what you do!

Do what you love!




Stay updated with the
Starting Your Own Business newsletter.


One Response to How The Internet Kicked Jetsam Wallets Into The Offline Market, An Online Success Story

  1. […] like Abby Gnanendran & Laura Skelton, you want to provide an ecological product and solution to help the […]