Cameron Paul had a great job in corporate America but he had a dark, lurking secret that would cost him his job, several friendships and many other things. Alcohol abuse tends to work out that way; a loss of many things.
Cameron turned to running as a means to rehab himself both mentally and physically and in June of 2014 he discovered the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. A switch flipped, “Suddenly running changed from an obligation to an adventure.”
On those early trail runs he realized there was something lacking in the fitness packs he was using. Storing an energy bar might not mean storing a cell phone. Water was its own issue. It was frustrating.
Unemployed Cameron had some time on his hands and few great resources. His mom, a seamstress, helped Cameron create the first Runband. ““I wanted something all-fabric, machine washable, and durable.” The design took a little longer than he expected. “That first one was pretty terrible, just terricloth and it didn’t work right. But it gave me an idea of where to go next. Within a month I tested multiple prototypes by running over 100 miles on the Ogden trails”
After several prototypes, Cameron was ready to launch a kickstarter campaign for his hydration arm pack which he was certain would literally kick-start his business and a new life.
It didn’t happen that way. As it turns out, most people weren’t interested in carrying water on their arms. “People wanted a cell phone specific Runband. That was a big revelation and in October I canceled my Kickstarter campaign mid-run. I began immediately offering cellphone specific arm packs to the public.”
How Mom’s Loan Turned Into A Huge Success
Cameron borrowed $100 from his mom and registered for the “What a Woman Wants” expo at the recommendation of a friend. The first day was rough but by day two it was clear they were on to something.
“On day two, we sold almost our entire inventory.” As they say, the rest is history. Cameron now operates Runband on a full-time basis. He has sold hundreds of the packs and is working his way through the expo circuit while preparing his product for retail stores. They can barely keep up with the orders and are looking for a local facility to expand their manufacturing capacity. Cameron is really interested in partnering with a local nonprofit “Give Me a Chance” which helps low-income women learn skills and get employed. He loves the idea of honoring his mother by supporting women through this organization.
What Cameron loves most about his business, besides the fact that it lets him be 100 percent himself, is that he hears from people all the time how they are utilizing the Runband beyond running.
“Aside from its utility while exercising, nurses were excited to use Runband for more storage while on the job. A girl traveling to Europe wanted to discreetly carry her personal belongings under her jacket… At one of the expos, a mother put her daughter’s inhaler and epipen in the various Runband pockets. I hadn’t even thought of the medical possibilities. That mom’s smile is pretty much the greatest thing I’ve seen to date.”
Cameron lost his job in June of 2013 and in the short 18 months since has found sobriety, health, happiness and launched a business that is poised for success. “Going from unemployed to building a business from scratch does not leave me with a lot of financial wiggle room and it can still be scary but my little company has a promising future. While I may have lost a promising career in corporate America, I could not have invented the armpack without having gone through that.”