Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Tadhi Coulter: So, tell us Marlon, what is CapSkinz®?
Marlon Woods: CapSkinz® is a proprietary, all-weatherproof, protective covering and outerwear that prevents your flat-brimmed cap from getting stained, faded, warped, or shrunk due to water droplets and its harsh chemicals and pollutants, UV rays, as well as dust and dirt. Our fashionable design easily fits over your flat-brimmed fitted, snapback or trucker-styled cap. Each CapSkinz® comes with a drawstring pouch for easy, secure on-the-go transport. It's also customizable through sublimation to blend-in with your unique style.
TC: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the reason why you started Capskinz®.
Marlon Woods: I was born and raised in New York, the fashion capital of the U.S. Growing up in school, everyday was a fashion competition. Your credibility was based on your ability to color coordinate and to pay attention to the details. It’s also important that you had that crisp-fresh look everyday. If you'd dared come to school with a dingy or dated outfit, the word got out and spread wildfire. I get sick thinking about how much money I spent trying to uphold my reputation.
The main reason I started Capskinz® was really based on my personal need to protect my investment and large assortment of hats. When I wear a cap, it says something about my values, style, my sense of confidence as well as my commitments to other fashion and accessory brands. Many times I felt that my look wasn't complete without it--literally completing my look whenever I wanted to feel good about myself or wanted to impress the folks from my neighborhood and other places I've traveled. Having a protective style of headwear—that sheath of skin that covers the outer layer of the cap--to protect my favorite, iconic baseball cap is important to me. A lot of times, I remember what I’ve worn to particular events and outings really had more to do with the symbolic nature of the cap and what it signified to others than with other things I had on. I read somewhere that Spike Lee, for example, will not direct a movie without wearing one of his go-to caps!
TC: How do you want to impact or inspire other young entrepreneurs like yourself who might also have an idea but don’t know what to do next?
Marlon Woods: I want to inspire others who have similar ideas to follow their dreams, to turn their idea into a viable product, to bring it to life and market it to those who share similar concerns and connect with the story. Growing up in New York, fashion was always important--right! So much so, in fact, new accessories would allow me to stand out from the rest. People already had a preconceived notion of who I was and what I represented based on my style of dress. Oftentimes, my hat allowed me to strike up conversations and to actually get to know people in a deep and meaningful way. It was important for me to accessorize my outfits, and my cap was a trendy yet personalized accessory that brought many of us who supported the same sports team together.
TC: You shared with me that you are seeking funding. If you were able to acquire investment capital, what would you use it for?
Marlon Woods: After I receive funding, I’d like to be able to move to the next round of my marketing campaign tailored and geared for sports team challenges. I think this is a powerful way to get my overall message out there and for the actual sports teams and fans to see the importance of having their own Capskinz® both as a protective layer of their baseball caps and as a fashion accessory.
TC: How do you hope that people will connect with your product and story?
Marlon Woods: I want to be able to grow with my fans to the point where their kids, grandchildren, close friends, co-workers and neighbors don’t even think of leaving the house, their place of business, or sporting or gaming events without their Capskinz®. This is bigger than me. I believe that my product is about bringing people together in a powerful way. It’s like not leaving home without that protective layer of sunscreen.
The first baseball caps in the early 1860s were used both to galvanize sports teams and their fans around the logo on the face of their baseball caps as well as to protect the players’ eyes from direct sunlight. Capskinz® serves a similar purpose of bringing people together around their favorite cap too while protecting it from the elements. It’s just now the conversation shifts from ‘What’s your favorite sports team?’ to ‘I see how much you care about what happens to your sports team’! When we show people how much we value and care about something, it’s easier for them to see us—to detect what things in the world we take seriously. While Capskinz® certainly has been tested to protect your favorite baseball cap, it also reveals the very thing that you treasure in the world. In essence, when you’re wearing Capskinz®, you’re signaling to people that they can trust you to take care of things that are important to them.
TC: Where do you see your product being marketed?
Marlon Woods: With this GoFundMe campaign, I am raising funds to market my product to sports teams and their fans in a fun and exciting way that allows people to interact with the product for themselves. The more that people see what the product is used for and the powerful and uncompromising way it protects their caps from the elements, the more they will start to believe in and share the product with others.
TC: What has been one of the most difficult things you’ve had to face in starting your business?
Marlon Woods: Well, as a black-owned business, the only hardship that I’ve encountered during this process has really been about accessing greater funding opportunities. To overcome that, I’ve invested a large percentage of my salary in order to achieve my goal. I spent thousands of dollars of my own money just acquiring the patent, getting the product made and shipped overseas, traveling to different fabric and trade shows as part of the research and development process.
Support Capskinz® sports team & fan challenge now at: GoFundMe