D3Riffs Designer Chaps was officially formed in January of 2014. Everything was new and a learning process as I had never attempted anything like this before. Listening to customers, we expanded into the equestrian market in 2015, and I continued to create additional products adding to the D3Riffs product line. Realizing our products really make a difference in the safety of riders all of kinds, we had the love and passion but no precise vision. We took a step back to receive mentoring from BizStarts. A sincere thank you to BizStarts for their belief in her, and for pushing her outside of her box.
Read Full Story of Featured Entrepreneur – Tamara Jankowski, D3Riffs Designer Chaps
BizStarts of Milwaukee is excited to present the July 2016 Featured Entrepreneur, Tamara Jankowski. Each month, BizStarts highlights an entrepreneur and his/her company to provide inspiration to other Milwaukee entrepreneurs.
The Growing Career of Tamara Jankowski
I have been in sales and customer service all my life. After 20 years of working, raising my children, and a divorce, I found myself trying to recreate myself as many women my age find themselves doing. I returned to a struggling real estate market while working as an interior painter when I was truly given a gift. In September of 2013 I attended Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration in Milwaukee. I love to be different so I took a set of old half chaps and found a way to attach jewelry to them. As I walked through the crowd I was approached by an overwhelming amount of people asking me where I got my chaps, even people offering to buy them. When I returned home, I looked on the internet trying to find anything like what I had created and there was nothing. Although, I was not fond of the comfort and fit of the chap I had used that day, I set out to create a new version of chap, one that was comfortable, fashionable but most of all functional. I purchased some old boots from Goodwill and cut and sewed for weeks until I came up with what is now my Riffs. My new adventure began.
The Start of a New Adventure
D3Riffs Designer Chaps was officially formed in January of 2014. The first year was spent sewing, creating, testing, prototyping, patenting, and finding suppliers and quality manufactures for my products. Everything was new and a learning process as I had never attempted anything like this before. There were many obstacles, many closed doors and many “no you can’t,” but I was determined to succeed. For example, the first patent attorney I consulted told me he believed my products probably could not be patented. I took weeks educating myself studying patents and trademarks on the USPTO. I found a different attorney. I now own two US patents with a third pending, a Chinese Patent, Copyrights, Registered Trademarks and a PCT.
Production was also an issue. When searching for leather tanneries and a manufacturer to sew my chaps, some companies wrote me off because I had no track record in the industry. Others wanted me to purchase large quantities, which with self funding was a difficult undertaking. I kept knocking on doors until there was a tannery and a manufacturer who saw my vision and the products potential who would allow me to purchase small quantities to start minimal production to test the idea and determine the market.
In January 2015, with the help of family and good friends, D3Riffs Designer Chaps attended our first public showing at a motorcycle show in Chicago. Our booth was filled with curious people and buyers all weekend long. The result was an overwhelming success. Realizing I did indeed have a very special, unique product. I invested in a trailer and more inventory. My son, Jacob, and I traveled the country building our brand and promoting the all new D3Riffs Designer Chaps. Our goal was to give customers a top quality American-made product, caring customer service and represent our company with pride, integrity and class.
I feel tremendously blessed! With no experience in this type of business just a passion, love and belief in our product. My son and I met people who couldn’t fit in a pair of boots because they had larger legs and now they could with our custom chap extendors! We met people who lost a leg due to severe exhaust burns now they had protection for their other leg. We met people who had issues with leg swelling or a deformity in their legs and we could custom fit them with D3Riffs. We actually were helping people and it truly was an unexpected blessing! Listening to customers wants and needs, we expanded into the equestrian market at the end of 2015 and I continued to create additional products adding to the D3Riffs product line.
Everything moved so quickly and the response from not only customers but companies wishing to carry our products is very exciting. Realizing our products really make a difference in the safety of riders all of kinds, we had the love and passion but no precise vision. We took a step back to receive mentoring from BizStarts on creating a plan, increased production, marketing and licensing agreements. Our goal for 2016 is to expand and bring D3Riffs Designer Chaps to a new level of exposure while maintaining top quality production in the US and personalized customer services. Moving slow and steady is the goal while we make our “Riffs” a Brand name recognized around the world.
We are very proud to announce D3Riffs Designer Chaps has been invited as a Custom Culture Artisan at the Harley-Davidson Museum during the 2016 Milwaukee Rally, September 1st through the 4th. I would like to thank the Harley-Davidson Museum for this amazing privilege and opportunity.
I want to thank My Diamond, my son Jacob for putting his life on hold and traveling the country with me to help D3Riffs off the ground. I never could have done it without you! I love you to the moon and stars. Thank you, Jacob!
Tamara wants to give a sincere thank you to John Limbach and Jacquin Davidson of BizStarts for their belief in her, her products and for pushing her outside of her box. With their guidance, Tamara feels the sky is her limit and she is truly looking forward to a long future together.
To learn more about D3Riffs Designer Chaps, Visit Tamara’s company website >>
Congratulations, Tamara Jankowski, for being the BizStarts July 2016 Featured Entrepreneur! Read more Milwaukee entrepreneur success stories >>