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Rick Maderis

Burnside Knives

Rick Maderis

0:01 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Hello everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Flores. Today, again, we are doing this special of the where are they now series. And so this series, again, we're welcoming entrepreneurs from former guests of the show to really see what the heck have they been up to. And today, we are bringing one of my good friends, Rick, the owner of Burnside Knives, amongst other things. Rick, how the heck are we doing today, my friend?

0:40 - rickmaderis

Hey, what's up, buddy? How are you? I'm doing good.

0:42 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

How was the happy Thursday planet Earth? Well, happy Thursday planet Earth drinking some water and going the sun can't come plain. So really, you know, last time we chatted, you were just kind of starting up Burnside Knives. It was a new kind of con. It's after you kind of coming out of the you think you had just came out with the car and you're you're the knife that you Named after your child and and you're slowly starting to build this brand What's happening?

1:13 - rickmaderis

I Got thrown off a little bit actually there was a small hiatus and when we met it was revamping of Burnside That is true.

1:22 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

This is this is this is true.

1:24 - rickmaderis

caught you on the the rebound Yeah, it was Moment of life and work Pre-pandemic pandemic all of that stuff kind of life coming at you fast And I took a small hiatus to focus on my footwear career I was working at Nike and brand Jordan at the time and Pandemic came around did a kick starter just as some fun to keep busy and And Lost my job But Nike, I was doing the freelance gig for a minute while doing knives because the knife thing was growing, but it was not a full time gig, but passion project, you treat like a full time gig, like all good passion projects. And so I was able to go from freelancing during the pandemic, hunting for a new job, landing a new job for one of the coolest athletes in the world, working under armor on the curry brand, and working on step in shoes, and also creating more products. I think since we spoke last, we've come out with, and thanks to your help in the shades of entrepreneurship, and our friendship, we were able to link up with steelhead and Alex, and create a collaboration between Burnside knives and steelhead, as well as, what else did we come up with? a multi-tool for eating, I'm working on a new idea of a spork and I know that you run the shape of entrepreneurship but our friendship bleeds over into this and we've strategized and started talking about the idea of building a vertical knife brand rather than I can make a golf tool, can make a spork, why don't we make a couple of really good things and offering in multiple colors. So to answer your question, story short, we've been cooking, doing rad stuff, landed the largest partner as far as retail to date and currently proud to say I think there's like five to six percent of inventory left, zero debt, still own the LLC, want to grow it, make it a big thing. Knowing that tools and knives and this business, the longer you're around. the longer people have instilled trust in your products, and building knives both in the U.S. overseas, had very few returns, great customer receptivity, building the brand organically, just got out of Instagram, social media, jail, and boosted a post. So it's been kind of fun, but at the end of the day, it's like, you know, we're both dads, we're both employees, we're both passionate, creative people that don't turn off. Same stuff, different day, more products and bigger smiles, I guess. I love it.

4:39 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I love it. You know, one of the things you mentioned is, is there certainly that moment with Nike, right, where you lost your role?

4:51 - rickmaderis


4:52 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

How do you come back from that? How do you continue to move forward and pass that failure part?

5:02 - rickmaderis

I think everybody has different ways of going about it. I think there are healthy and destructive ways to go about any kind of big changes in losing a job or separating from your spouse or divorcing your spouse, having a child, having a job, having a pet. But everybody has their own thing. I took to water, exercise, sleep, clean foods that, know, it sounds dumb and boring, but it was the healthiest, safest way for me to bounce out of a world of sport to a world of kind of being, I am every sport now on my own. I took to working out and drinking water a lot, replacing, you know, soda for carbonated bubble water, if you will. But underneath all of that, I got pissed off. I got mad about the fact that, like, I was putting in hours and I didn't feel seen in a world where other people deserve to be more seen than me I mean look at the color of my skin in my eyes, right? I'm not a dummy But I am an artist and as an artist and a passionate creative with an Unrelentless hunker in pursuit to build dope stuff.

6:19 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, I kind of had to sit back a little bit and like hey I found a gig.

6:23 - rickmaderis

I'm gonna do this one. I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna put it out there But underneath it all I got really pissed off and I was like I'll show you And that's kind of been my whole life though You know, I mean I think I grew up in a household and a community and A town of people that wanted a chance.

6:44 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

So I think that's just part of me I got this and I was like we're gonna do this and that's the I think that's the beauty of Entrepreneurship is I can remember the moments when people have Doubt me and I've used those doubtful moments as an opportunity to propel myself forward because man Please tell me I can't do something because I was gonna approach you in fact. It's kind of funny I know this is Comply I've died but last last year I went on a golf trip and a bunch of the boys played like crap absolute dog crap And so you know what this year I've been practicing my off because I was like no way in hell am I gonna show up again? That at planes because I'm just again There's just that that fire of like I'm not going to do it now one of the things you also mentioned was this this vertical Integration starting to change talk about that a little bit talk about Burnside Nines vertical integration.

7:40 - rickmaderis

Where are you going? I? Have no problem telling people where I want to take the brand because as we both know Where people who say something and do it I? Started looking at my product line and what people liked what was selling what people talked about but didn't? And so all of the Matrixes, all the SWAT stuff that we've talked about, and what I realized is that if I have a couple of flagship models, it's like, I do this for other people, but doing it for yourself is very hard. It's like, if I have a couple of flagship models, I can offer more finishes, more colors, more options within a confined space to really cater to that person that wants that exact thing. They want my cheeseburger or my piece of if you will. They want this pocket knife. I want them to come there because I can't serve everybody. I would love to be Santa Claus, I would love to be able to make anything and everything to everybody, but it's hard when it's a cutlery flatware outdoor inspired thing that's inspired by surf, skate, and music, but I really have to pare it down that it's like, hey, at the end of the day, if I can't put it into a backpack and sell it to somebody, if it's too much, then it's probably a different brand, and I think where I want to take this and think about it vertically. I'm going to focus on one of my models specifically. It'll keep the name but change the design because the design will be able to be used in a vertical manner for materials and finishes and things that I think that I think I found the right spot for a product that has transcended gender race as well as geography. I think I found what I believe to be the perfect little knife for people and I want to design and really you know flood the world with that cool pocket knife and so I think by doing that and offering it in some different colors and almost simplifying things that I don't need to have like I want to chainsaw. I want to cleaver. I want chopsticks but I think I need to focus on one thing first and then those others will follow and if they don't at please won't be risking building one product for a hypothetical. So this is the part in the business and the creative part where it's not exactly the most fun and creative, but it just challenges you to think about things differently. And in a way, that becomes an art in itself.

10:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

But I'm also winging it too.

10:23 - rickmaderis

Yeah, you know, it's kind of funny. You mentioned, you know, you're, you're, you're learning it.

10:27 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You're ringing it. What, what is, what is that? What are some of those things that you've learned as you're scaling Burnside Nines that you're like, man, I wish I'd have known this earlier.

10:38 - rickmaderis

The vulnerability and being confident to share your work, I feel so dumb for withholding so many ideas for years. I had just finished working on some footwear product at work and had a nice like handoff. And I had a moment where I had no responsibilities for like 72 hours. And I said to myself, there's a knife show in Utah, get on the airplane, go talk to the vendors, go talk to the other makers, go see if there's a retailer. And I worked till 2.30 in the morning. I got on a 5 a.m. flight, slept from Portland to Utah, met with all of the buyers that I've talked to for years that I've never shaken their hand and just said, hey, do you know who so-and-so is? said, hey guys, they're like, where did you go? It's like, I do this part time. This is one man show with a bunch of friends building it up. And they're like, They're like, I knew that you did it, but what? It's like, yeah, I had a day job and I love footwear. I love sneakers and knives. So what I did was I utilized the time that I had just kind of betting on myself paying for an expensive flight, going down, not taking a popular life with me, no checking bags. And we- back on the plane that night because I needed to take my kiddo to something so it was the idea that utilizing the time that I had taking the finances that I had and like not buying myself fancy things and like I'm going to put some of these sales back into this or that money can buy me a plane ticket to go and talk to somebody because it's more important to talk to them in person than it is or email or a phone call and that's an expensive hi what's up but sometimes you have to do that and that's been kind of one of the things about being vulnerable saying hey where should I go to get this made I want to do this I don't know how to do that and just being transparent with people like I want to do this I'm going to do this one way or another but I can do this a smart way and we can partner or I could do this the wrong way and I'll keep stumbling over myself and getting in the way so either we help make this thing beautiful or we just keep watching me bumble and so people were really encouraging. They're like, I would love to. You need to talk to this person. This person has that person. This person. And then it just becomes a thing. And it's like, cool, I think I might have just found like 12 people that I want to steal from all of the companies that they work for and do this together. And it's like, well, that's far from that. But all these people really want to help if you just ask. And I feel like an idiot for not being vulnerable sooner and asking people for help.

13:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, that's it. That's a great point. You know, I think I cannot encourage people enough to get out and networking with people face to face because it really, truly builds that in-person personalized relationship. Now, one of the things you mentioned also is you do have a day job. Sneakers and knives are your thing. You you left Nike and then you started actually designing shoes for quite possibly one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Arguably the greatest. Give us give us give us a little insight into what are you doing with with that kind of program? What do you build in there because that again that is its own entrepreneurial journey?

14:11 - rickmaderis

We are a very small footwear unit. I am just one person on the team My job title is a senior designer for footwear color So if you see Stefan wear anything out on court right now or in the foreseeable future It'll be something that the team that i'm on created so I do have a fantastic footwear designer and footwear design team Of that create the actual shoe and then I get to come in and Help with the color and the storytelling there's a material designer There is a footwear designer. is a director or a vp All of the people that you would need to help create product I do have the one cool job. I think I've earned it is being able to do a bridge between graphics Color storytelling packaging all of that stuff and and strangely enough after Just a little over two years. I actually got to sit down and have dinner with Stefan last night and meet his crew And it was really quite wonderful. It's something that I was looking forward to I was getting the guys a hard time I was like I had a bit MJ the first year. was over there come on guys This is giving him a hard time, but I'm very grateful for that opportunity because I Felt into sneakers by graphic design doing t-shirts hats and accessories and it's like hey We need some help and it's like oh man I cannot believe somebody just turned me on to this because of all the components all the like little tactile pieces and The build of all of that. It's just been I Geeked out on all those like little components, you know, like I still remember how a new era hat is made with it It's 21 or 22 steps depending on that stitch. And so there's just a part of me that that's like, that's my, I don't know what you call it, but that's the thing that turns me on is like the little building of things and building sneakers and telling stories. Niz is just, it's hard work. should have picked one or the other, but I'm trying my best.

16:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

No, and I think you're doing a great job, and one thing you mentioned, either people can help you and succeed or you'll do it by yourself when you're flounder. And I got to tell you my friend, you've been doing a lot of things by yourself because you know, I've been, you know, riding alongside you in some of these processes and you have not been fumbling at all. You have been just continuously riding this, this galloping, I would say, into the future. it's very inspiring and I'm very excited of where you're going and what you continue to grow because it truly is humbling to watch. You'll be able to take criticism and really pivot and... being able to like not say, okay, you know, this guy has an . He's telling me a bunch of that. And we've had some pretty frank conversations. I'm like, Hey, what are we doing? And then, and I got to tell you, you've taken the advice and like continuing to move forward and then seeing it succeed has been has been awesome.

17:16 - rickmaderis

Thank you. I appreciate that. And I could not have gotten here from without the help. mean, going back to the very first recruiter, Cody, who gave me a chance that brought me back to the Northwest or sitting down at like White Owl for an after work kind of social and meeting Shanika and 12 years later, she's calling me saying we want to work for Stefan. There's just moments where it's like, I've had pressing hard moments. I mean, I've had more crap sandwiches and I've had fresh sandwiches. However, part that I love that I don't think anybody can take away as I make my friends, my family, community proud. And I don't think there's a single graphic designer or footwear person. person that can come close to the athletes while they played or the roster of being able to. That was my trophy hunting. know, I collected baseball cards and basketball cards and football and all of those things, but to be able to, I mean, Andy Warhol out did people in the art gallery for his prints, right? I wanted to be somewhat in that realm of like basketball shoes. You can't beat any of the designers. The designers are the pinnacle, but the storytellers that come in and finish them and all of that, I'm like, I'd like to go down as that for that someday, but carrying a weight of family, friends and community and it's like, hey, if you know it's clean, you know, like all of those pressures for mom, dad and family, that stuff is stuff that is important to me and keeps me humble. For sure. Because... I know how many people would love to be in my position, and I also know how lucky and fortunate I am to have had as many crap sandwiches to get to where I'm at today.

19:10 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, well said, well said, know, you gotta, you gotta sometimes have those crap sandwiches in order for you to get to that sub for sure. Now, what looking back, you know, you know, looking back in the last few years, what would, what advice would you give a younger Rick. But something you wish you could have known.

19:30 - rickmaderis

I mean, that vulnerability thing is probably a big one that and one of the things that I'm most proud of that I would look back and tell my younger self is probably the good for you for keeping people relationships and all that ahead of work, because I know that's like to get inundated and get sucked into that and I've seen that with that. So I would probably go back and congratulate my younger self on that. And then I would would probably tell my younger self, be careful of the people that are the closest to you that you've trusted for the longest amount of time because you'd be surprised by giving good and good natured somebody that you just met versus somebody you've known a long time. That's a deep one but that would probably be like don't be so trusting and trust a little bit more.

20:30 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah you know I know I agree I think the person that probably hates you the most that actually despises the most is somebody you probably grew up with and the people that probably want to have you succeed the most are people that you've never met in your entire life. You know when you kind of go back and think about Nipsey Hussle and how he passed away, he passed away he got shot by somebody who knew from day one and they just hated him just because he was successful that was it you know and so I completely agree just be very mindful about those now Rick again you again I want to say congratulations because you just successfully closed another Kickstarter campaign one yeah about the Kickstarter campaign and then tell us how folks can continue to support Burnside Nives.

21:13 - rickmaderis

Yeah so I'm actually one of the largest customers that Burnside has ever had privately became a buddy of mine because he bought so many products and he kept talking to me about this thing that I was doing and asking me questions that it wasn't just like a transactional interaction and we started to create a dialogue and the guy knew somebody that I knew and then that guy knew somebody that and I was like oh man this is kind of like our thing where when we met we knew like a handful of people he reached out to me said I would love to do something with you someday Dan Cornado is a fantastic talent that I don't think gets enough do credit. And when he reached out to me, and I say that, like, he's already famous in my eyes, right? But when I saw his work in his portfolio, and the guy's got a stack of work to keep him busy for the next three years, however, I was sitting there, I was like, you know what? Why not do that right now? Like, let's do a project right now. And so to be perfectly framed straight up and honest with you, I offered him a percentage of the Kickstarter or a flat fee, because he's a video guy who could do all the editing. And I'm not very well versed at that. I had a good product. He thought that I should do it in a certain amount of colors. I made those colors. And then we were kind of talking and collaborating and picking his brain. It's kind of like, oh, have this really cool tool. He's talking to me and telling a story about what it means to him, what the brand means to him. And I just said, hey, your knife says just about as much as, or it says as much about me as it does you. Your life says a lot about you. Would you like to be the art director? And we made this beautiful film. We were talking about like little shortcuts and edits. And we were going to, and we are giving back now that it's a successful thing, donate to the veterans, foreign affairs or the veterans affairs. And this one that Dan had picked out about a firefighter who adopted a little girl, and he helps build homes and communities. I thought that was a fantastic one. And then the other one is City American Red Cross, which I thought is great in case of disaster relief or things of that nature. But the campsite knives was basically a paring knife and a mini bread knife. Two pieces that I think parents can use with their kids. They are sharp, but you know, whether you're cutting a grilled cheese or just having like a good extra little paring knife. These were two of the pieces that I wanted to start in the kitchen. Because I'd like to grow Burnside knives into a vertical brand, but I'd like to have a couple kitchen items as well And so we asked for $7,000 to help give us a head start on the production We made 74 or 7300 something like that So we made it in just a little bit extra I have to make my donations this week and tell the Kickstarter people Thank you and what have you And then the best part was I believed in this thing and had just done some sales for Burnside knives and had a little bit in the tank And I started production the day that I launched the campaign and I paid for production I believed in it so by the time the campaign ended I already had a 40 day head start So I'm really excited about doing that and I'm really looking forward to seeing those in coffee shops and the sandwich shops if those are going to Because I think that will be really fun and exciting And I just think it's a cool little tool. I'm very excited about that and then if people are interested after August after I'm done fulfilling all of the 61 orders I'll put them up on the on the website for sale But chances are I'm probably gonna reach out to the retailer and see if they want to pick up the rest of them because They called me the day that the campaign launched and they said hey, why didn't you just share this with us? And it's like what they're like we would have put in a you know couple thousand piece order and I was like So it's kind of rethinking like hey, I don't have to just like put it out there to the world and cross my fingers Asking people sharing building decks Sully hey Benbury's quote decks lead to checks that he got from somewhere wherever he got that from it's true I just don't ever apply it Like don't ask for help and so I had learned through the kickstarter thing Nobody wanted to work with us after we launched it We should have given it to an ad agency before stuff like that so it it was successful on its own with just a couple of guys like waving our banners and flags and hollering and thank you for your support and your community as well. Thank you to the Shades of Entrepreneurship community and man I just I think it was just one of those things where we wanted to see something fresh and new and I was like oh I have something that's kind of cool and actually useful and and I'm not it's not a hard sell if you can't if you can't use a new parry knife for a little sandwich knife that I don't know if I'm the right brand.

26:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah and I remember the conversations you know when you're showing me the golf pieces and you were kind of going and I was like look you know instead of going a you know wide and narrow how about we go vertical and deep and you know I'm really excited folks because I did I was literally talking to my wife about it and like hey by the way I forgot it's like we got some kitchen that's coming because the kicks are closed and they're about to be shipped out at some point I'm I'm super stoked I actually have several burdenside I know a lot of my friends keep asking me to get them some as well. My neighbors really love. So if you have not seen it yet, the burn site now is in still head knife for that. That thing is the coolest thing, especially for those that are fishermen. And it really is that your knife says a lot about you. the true beauty behind that, Rick, too, and then you're starting to see it. Does the story take hold is you're really creating stories, a knife for everyone, right? Whether it be a kitchen knife, whether it be a utility knife, whether it be for fishing, whether it be just a pocket knife, your knife truly says a lot about unit depends on what knife you have. And so I'm really applaud everything you're doing. And I'm really excited in how it continues to move forward.

27:46 - rickmaderis

I'm personally excited to continue to call you one of my close friends and being able to truly pick up the phone and then like, hey, let's bounce some ideas.

27:55 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Let's have a white whiteboard conversation. Let's just really figure out what the hell we're doing, because I think sometimes it's really easy to feel like you're floundering by yourself. when you put together a group of individuals that really want to help you succeed and want to see you succeed as well, it makes life so much easier. So appreciate you and all of everything you've done for me as well. I continue to be 100% of one of your fans as well. so before we go, please tell the folks, how can they learn more about you? can they contact you?

28:28 - rickmaderis

Where can they purchase some of these knives? Oh, boy. Okay. So is currently going through what you would see its first major sellout. I'm excited about that, but it also is creating a little anxiety within me. You can go to You can go to There's not a lot of stuff on eBay. Goodness about BurnsideKnives. of those other brands got stuff on Yeah, other than that, probably like, you know, friend of a friend word of mouth, it's still, I mean, like, I've been doing this for almost a decade and I still love the idea that it still feels like a zine if it was a brand, you know, or it is a brand and it feels like a zine. I don't know. mean, I think just the idea of like having something that you want to build towards the future that is a quality product and to the point that you mentioned, it is so hard to tell a story for everybody, but you have guys that are like, I want to be the hero or I want to be the villain or I want to make something that is different from the rest of the group. It's like, hey, I just want to make something cool. Y'all can sit with us, but the attitudes can't.

29:47 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You know what I mean?

29:48 - rickmaderis

so in that mannerism, it's kind of like, it's taken a little bit longer to explain what your knife says a lot about you. It's not about being better than somebody else or being less.

30:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

better than somebody else.

30:01 - rickmaderis

It's like, yeah, just be yourself. And in a way, it's like taking outdoors and basketball, which are my two favorite things, those cross from fashion music, etc., across the board to culinary. I'm like, if I can't reach people with basketball and outdoors, or sneakers and knives or whatever it is that I embody it because I do a lot of stuff for a lot of people and tell all of their stories. then when it comes to this Burnside thing, it's like, no, we're going to start with roses. And I'll share this. I'll put this out there in the world. Moving forward, Burnside Knives is going to focus on the rose. And it's settled audacious. It's a little crazy. I don't know how long it'll take me, but there will be a dozen options because everybody loves a dozen roses.

30:50 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Everybody loves the dozen roses.

30:52 - rickmaderis

It's just simplifying stuff like that. It's like, well, what kind of a rose is it? It's like, no two roses are the same. So we're going to really like take all the things that we know how to do and how to turn them up a little bit. But not give people what they expect.

31:08 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Oh, man, now I'm envisioning like a phenomenal display case where all the blades are open and each one of the blades has our own little filler because there's 12 spots and it makes like a beautiful bouquet of roses, but they're basically the end of their burdenside night.

31:22 - rickmaderis

Oh, man, see, Greg, we got to stop recording because people are going to be like, no, it's OK, I don't mind sharing this one because if somebody beats me to the punch on it, so be it, we got it on film here. You know those like blind boxes when you get a toy and it's loyal and you don't know what you get? You know what's beautiful about those is the little piece of paper that comes inside and you don't know what the mystery is, but you have that map. Which rose are you getting next? Even better, if the rose cost you X, but if you can buy the rose for 25% less on a blind, that might be good. And you have the option to turn it back in. I want everybody to win.

32:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah. Wow. Man. I love it. I love slowly building it up. Rick, man. I'm, again, very excited. folks, again, if you forget where Rick mentioned to actually purchase his knives, I will have this information on the Shades of Entrepreneurship newsletter where you can find us at If you also want to do me a favor, if you're visiting scroll down to the bottom, you'll see the Patreon section for a little less $5 a month.

32:37 - rickmaderis

You become one of this Shades of Entrepreneurship's Patreon, which will help support the show. Rick, thank you again so much. Is there any last words you would like to say for the listeners? Somebody reach out beyond all of this and make a friend with Gabriel Flores.

32:54 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You'll thank yourself. I appreciate you.

32:56 - rickmaderis

I appreciate you. good one. I appreciate you, bro.

33:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Oh, man, it's a bro fast over here, man. It's been a phenomenal time and we're just continuing to grow.

33:06 - rickmaderis

And again, I cannot wait to see the next iterations of Burnside Nines because it just continues to be a phenomenal, phenomenal thing.

33:14 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

So folks at home, please visit me at the shades You can also follow at the shades of E on the social sites. Thank you and have a great night. 

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