A BOLD Idea: An Interview with Randy Fenton of BOLDFACE Gear

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Southern California is bright and beautiful. It’s filled with the gorgeous, the gaudy, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It houses Hollywood and the Walk of Fame, the Lakers and the Clippers, Bad Religion and The Eagles. SoCal is also home to BOLDFACE Gear, a company that specializes in custom backpack and guitar case “faces.” They are also a Zazzle Maker, and we wanted to talk to them and get a deeper understanding of their genesis, their company, and their charitable work. Let’s get to know BOLDFACE Gear together!

Sewing a BOLDFACE Gear backpack

Music Makes Miracles

Any great venture begins with the spark of an idea. In this case, the idea started with Randy Fenton, founder and President of BOLDFACE. You see, music is very important to Randy, and he wanted to share his love of music with his children. Unfortunately, the only instrument he played at the time was the saxophone.

“I wanted to be able to sit around and play music with my kids,” Randy said, “and blasting the saxophone around the campfire, or in the living room, really wasn’t all that conducive to introducing them to music. So, I decided to take up the guitar.”

Guitar on BOLDFACE Gear backpack

Acoustic Guitar Backpack by Ron’s Passion for Design

Picking up the guitar lead him to the idea for BOLDFACE. As Randy shopped for his first electric guitar, “a beautiful cherry red color,” as Randy described it, he encountered a problem: it came with a plain black case. He had this same experience when he bought his first acoustic guitar. Why should this cool-looking guitar be limited to such a simple carrying case? He searched for a case that would complement his guitar. No one sold one, though. Randy decided that he would create his own case.

Hitting the Right Notes

In order for this to be more than a one-off idea, Randy knew he would have to appeal to a broad set of tastes and needs.

“I thought to myself, well, if I put designs on a guitar case, I might think the design is cool, but other people in the world with different tastes for different genres of music might not think my designs are as great as I think they are.”

Sublime BOLDFACE Gear backpack design

With these doubts in his mind Randy put the idea for BOLDFACE on the backburner…but only for a few weeks. One morning, at around 2am, a bolt of inspiration struck him.

“I woke up with the idea for an interchangeable face panel that comes off of the guitar bag, making the whole front of the guitar bag removable.”

A simple solution, yes, but it required rethinking how a traditional guitar bag is put together. If you’ve never seen a guitar bag, the front of it has pockets for guitarists to carry pedals, cords, picks, and other accessories. These pockets would be difficult to access and utilize with a panel blocking them. You would have to remove it every time you wanted to get into the pockets. Randy came up with another simple solution.

“We moved the pockets to the back, and now that whole front of the guitar bag could be covered by the printed panel, and it could come off and on. So, we could print graphics onto this panel and place it on the guitar bag. If your taste changes or mood changes, you could now swap out the face of your guitar bag.

“That was the beginning of BOLDFACE.”

Out of the Mouths of Babes

While BOLDFACE started with the idea to customize guitar bags, they’ve since added backpacks to their product offering. That idea came from a combination of market research and a request from Randy’s children. BOLDFACE conducted a little market research to see what sorts of bags would be popular, knowing that they already had a customer base of young people in their 20’s and 30’s. Also, Randy’s kids really wanted their own, cool backpacks.

“We looked at it, and we have this business, this cool idea, but we’re serving a very niche industry. Why not see if we can take this things a bit more mainstream?

“I have two little girls, and they were asking me, ‘Why can’t you make us some backpacks for school?’ So, with their input, and the market research to back it up, we thought, okay, let’s make the backpacks.”

Floral BOLDFACE backpack

Floral Pattern Backpack by DesignsbyDonnaSiggy

Backpacks turned out to be very popular, and BOLDFACE plans to take advantage of this with a whole product line.

“We do actually have other bags on the drawing board, as well as some prototypes. We have a sports bag. We also have a messenger bag in the works. We’re going to continue to increase our product line to include these really cool bags with interchangeable, custom printed panels.”

Randy’s children did more than just inspire a product line, however. They also inspired him to give back.

Paying it Forward

BOLDFACE isn’t just interested in making a difference with their customers. They are also interested in making a difference in the world. They have a campaign called “This Backpack…” that provides an outlet for their charitable endeavors.

“When I had children, my whole life changed. I look out into the world and there’s so many children that need help and support, that aren’t necessarily getting it. It’s heartbreaking to me. And so, being a father drastically changed the way I view the world. I decided that it’s going to be part of my mission to do whatever I can to help children in need, whether it’s personally, or through my business.”

This Backpack…” is a relatively new initiative for BOLDFACE. Proceeds from different backpack sales go toward different goals. One backpack sale may feed a child for a week, while another can help provide medical care. “When customers buy the backpacks,” Randy told us, “they’ll be able to choose what they want that backpack to accomplish.”

So not only is BOLDFACE making a difference in the lives of children, but their customers are as well. Taking care of the generations that will inherit the planet from us. That sounds like the perfect plan to make the future a little brighter.

Express Yourself

BOLDFACE is about letting you express yourself through customization. You can create one face for your bag, or create multiple faces depending on your mood. You can have different logos for your band to use with your guitar bag, or swap out the face of your backpack depending on the day of the week, or even what you are using it for. The BOLDFACE motto is “One bag…endless possibilities.” With the freedom to customize the faces the way you want, BOLDFACE holds true to that motto.

If you would like to check out what BOLDFACE has to offer, you can visit their Zazzle store. We’re excited to have them as a Maker, and excited to see all the designs created for their bag faces. Express yourself with BOLDFACE!

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