I personally began hollering at buyers at Zumiez, Foot Action and Champs letting them know that we had bags that were killing it. Imitators were chomping at our heels, but we knew we had a good 6 months of lead time ahead of their imitative efforts. Zumiez was the first chain to buy from us. They were concerned about our style name “Chest Rig” and said they’d buy if we changed the name. Understandably, they didn’t want the military reference during the plague we have with mass shootings and school shootings. We came up with “Chest Utility” and forever cemented this style name into fashion. So much so that Nike, adidas, Black Pyramid, ASRV and even Shein have named their bags “Chest Utility” in recognition of our SEO and first to market naming rights.
And here come the rip-offs. We knew there’d be biters. We just didn’t know how massive that bite would be. Black Pyramid just straight up ripped off our bag first. Mesh exterior pocket with the logo print underneath the mesh. I guess that gave license for every other brand that has no originality to do the same exact thing. Then the retailers got involved, Urban Outfitters did an exact bite, ASOS did a bite, I’m sure there are others. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Our customers were elevated by having a superior product that inspired all these other imitations. If you went around rocking a chest utility that wasn’t Official, you just didn’t know what was up.