Hamilton Perkins – Founder and President of Hamilton Perkins Collection

I believe in making the best decision that I can make with the information I have and then moving on.

Hamilton Perkins is the founder and President of Hamilton Perkins Collection, a certified B Corporation, offering designer travel bags at an affordable price, while holding the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Prior to starting Hamilton Perkins Collection, Hamilton was an Investment Advisor at Merrill Lynch and, earlier, worked as an Analyst at Bank of America.

He has also served in a leadership capacity with various non-profit organizations and has been recognized for his volunteer work and service hours assisting low-income populations.

He is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a degree in Business Administration and he earned his M.B.A. from William and Mary.

Where did the idea for Hamilton Perkins Collection come from?

I started with a personal problem. I couldn’t find a travel bag that I could be proud to carry. My thesis evolved from there. I sought to elevate social responsibility with the brand while offering affordable designer bags to be sold direct to consumer.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day for me starts with exercise and I write in my journal before I start to work. I start out with business development and marketing work in the first half of the day. The afternoon is usually operations and finance. I make it productive by keeping a check list each day. I usually don’t have more than 5 tasks a day that I really want to accomplish. The trick is to go back at the end of the day and to actually see what has worked and what did not.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Testing. I’m always testing and communicating. I adjust to what is happening in real time. I try to create the most value and present these ideas to my audience. I am constantly seeking to provide a good experience and then find ways to be of service. People eventually find out about my bags.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m excited by all of the trends that emerge. I’m always looking at the social media world and what is happening there. I got to try virtual reality out for the first time this year at a conference and I was impressed by the experience.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Keeping a journal has been the single most helpful habit for me. To me, entrepreneurs do a lot and have to stay focused on their goals. A way for me to measure where I am relative to meeting my goals is to track it every day before and after the work is done. This helps me stay motivated and also lets me know what I have to do to keep progress moving forward.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I always learned from every job I had. I’ve always been an entrepreneur even if I worked for someone. I sold candy, posters, sneakers in middle school. I made a habit to maximize my learning whenever I had a job working for someone. I feel like when you sign up to work for someone you have to keep that in mind when you think about the experience of it all.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t think I would do anything differently. I believe in making the best decision that I can make with the information I have and then moving on. I don’t have regrets or anything like that.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Over and over again I am finding ways to solve problems. I’m focused on addressing the biggest challenges with our product. I recommend that if someone else is looking to start a business or has an idea to research the problems that they feel qualified to work on and get to work.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Social media has helped me grow my business. I was able to reach people that would have never found me if a conversation was not started digitally. I found the different mainstream apps and even some less mainstream apps to be key drivers for growing my business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I fail all the time but overcoming obstacles drives me. I hardly recognize failure because its only failure if you don’t continue to look for the success. That’s the secret. There’s no failure as long as you are still looking for success.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m usually getting new ideas from my daily operations. I think there is a lot of room for any product or service that helps save time. Time is something that we still haven’t figured out how to get back.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Recently, I’d have to say the money I spent on my recent product samples is the best $100 I spent. It’s such an achievement for what we want to accomplish and moves the ball forward in so many ways.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I’m always trying out new web services and software but the most solid for me right now is Evernote. I like the organization and convenience. I’m still a big gmail user and find a lot of utility from countless Chrome plugins.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

If I had one book to recommend it would be the bible. It has everything that you would ever want to know. The stories that you will find there are so relevant to today. It’s really timeless.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I think the biggest influence was my mother. I think a big part of how I think and operate today is a result of my upbringing. I think that we can all learn a lot from our parents. I think this goes overlooked sometimes when we are looking for help and advice.