Robert Sha, Founder of Capsule, discusses designing the perfect wallet

Robert Sha, Founder of Capsule

Robert Sha
Founder of Capsule

Robert Sha is the founder of Capsule™, an emerging lifestyle brand focused on challenging the design of products we use every day. He garnered early support for Capsule™ from Kickstarter, where he led a campaign to introduce a more sophisticated compact wallet made for cash — the Minimalist™. The project initially sought $16,500 from the popular crowd-funding site, and went on to exceed this goal by more than $100K, ultimately placing his campaign in the top 1% of all successfully funded Kickstarter projects. He has been a FoundersCard member since 2013.

1. What inspired you to create the Minimalist™ wallet?
I’ve never been satisfied with traditional wallet designs because they are either functional or fashionable, but never both. With the Minimalist™, I set out to create a wallet that not only accommodated a normal amount of cards, but more importantly, remained slim while effectively and securely storing cash. It was also critical that the wallet be stylish and sophisticated enough for the most important of social settings without breaking the bank.
2. What was the best piece of advice you received at the beginning of this endeavor to create the perfect thin wallet?
As entrepreneurs, we’re often our own worst critic, so we constantly second guess ourselves. Is it good enough? Will people pay money for it? Is it better than what’s already out there? When I started this journey, I received all sorts of great advice, but the one thing that still sticks out in my mind is something a good friend said to me: “If you never try, you’ll never know.” Sometimes a simple thought like that is all you need to get going.
3. You had an extreme amount of success through Kickstarter to get this product up and running. What advice would you give to someone trying to garner support for an new idea?
Be honest with yourself and make sure that your idea satisfies a real need or want. Talk to as many people as you can to get their perspective, but always give the most weight to your own vision. Once you commit, hustle your ass off. If you stumble along the way, get up and try again. You have to believe in your idea more than anyone else.

4. Aside from your Minimalist™, what are a few other things you can’t leave home without?

The one thing I really can’t do without is my iPhone. That little device gives me the freedom to run the business while I’m away from my desk and replaces my computer, notepad, and camera when I’m on-the-go. Most importantly, it allows me to process orders and interact with customers through our social media channels without having to be in front of a laptop.
5. Prior to your current success, what was the worst job you ever had?
In my former life as a strategic management consultant, I experienced a ton of interesting project situations. I’ve consulted for a wide range of companies like Apple and Walmart, but when I started copying and analyzing computer hard drives for forensic evidence on a regular basis, I knew it was time to make a change.
6. Aside from your company/job, what is your greatest success?
The birth of my son has definitely been the most awe-inspiring experience of my life. It’s given me great perspective and helped provide me with the courage and the conviction to pursue my dreams. After all, how can I tell him to chase his, if I don’t chase my own.
7. Who do you most admire?
There’s too many people to name here, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Jeremy Lin. I love stories of triumph over personal adversity. If you get knocked down over and over again and you continue to pick yourself up, then I have great respect for you. Lin’s had to overcome quite a few hurdles to get to where he is, and even though some may say he’s made it, I think his own personal goals are yet to be achieved. That persistent drive and determination to succeed is really inspirational to me.
8. What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
One of my favorite books is An Eames Primer by Eames Demetrios. I love mid-century design and this book provides great insight into the philosophy and process of Charles and Ray Eames. From architecture, to film, to product design, their bold ideas and concepts have an enduring relevance that epitomizes the idea that good design should be timeless and never go out of style. These philosophies played an important role in helping shape the aesthetic of both the Minimalist™ and the Capsule™ brand identity.
9. Who is someone we should be following on Twitter right now?
SethGodin. He tweets links to his blog where he posts inspirational and thought-provoking nuggets on life and business. On ‘shortcuts’, he says, “Take the long way. Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency. And then you won’t waste time doing it over.” Stuff like this helps me stay motivated and focused on what’s important.
10. What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?
Lemon Wallet. In an effort to help slim down your wallet and fit into a Minimalist™, I recommend digitizing the cards you don’t use on a regular basis (e.g.: insurance, AAA, loyalty, gift cards, etc.) Lemon Wallet is one of the better apps for tackling this and it’s available on all mobile platforms. Stop carrying cards you don’t need.
11. Any chance of you revolutionizing the woman’s handbag in the future?
Sure, anything’s possible. But I’d really like to revolutionize the woman’s wallet first. Most women aren’t used to carrying slim wallets, but there’s definitely a growing demand. For ladies enjoying a night out on the town or a busy mom running errands with her kids, the Minimalist™ is a perfect wallet for women on-the-go who only need to carry a few cards and some cash.
12. Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next?
The Minimalist™ is the only slim wallet on the market that’s made for cash.
All of our current efforts are focused on building awareness for the Minimalist™ and the Capsule™ brand. In the near term, we’re hoping to extend our current collection to accommodate a wider range of international currencies. Over time, we expect to launch complementary product extensions — all with the mission of introducing you to a simpler way of living. This could include bags for work, travel, the gym and more.

 

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