Matt Benedetto quit his job. Last fall, while hanging with friends in Burlington, Vermont, he was looking at the generic white iPhone cord that comes standard with every Apple device. He thought he could make it better. A few weeks later, he had a multi-colored cable and promptly began selling them on his site as he’d done with countless products in the past. What happened next was unexpected.
Benedetto’s brand, Eastern Collective (formerly known as EC Headwear), has roots in the skiing world. At 14, he began crocheting custom hats for kids on Newschoolers.com. Soon after, he had a site offering quality goods like hats, sunglasses, and gloves at affordable prices. He also had a team representing him on the hill that included Matt Walker, Matt Margetts, Andrew Hathaway, Ian Compton, L.J. Strenio, and Tom Wallisch. It was a side project while he finished high school and college at Saint Michael’s College, and skied at Mount Snow, Stowe, and Killington.
After he put his cables online, they exploded across the Internet and print world, garnering attention from Wired, Surplus Mag, Urban Outfitters, Cult of Mac, Fox News, The Hundreds, Entrepreneur Magazine (twice), GQ, and Gizmodo. Overnight, his colorful cables were everywhere. He’d struck gold, but the demand was too much for Benedetto to keep up with while maintaining a 9 to 5 with Fuse Marketing, a youth marketing firm based in Winooski. So he gave his two weeks, and after nine years of running Eastern Collective as a side project, it became his one and only job.
The cables, available in a variety of colors and now compatible with virtually any phone, are now an accessory that I keep in my computer bag all the time. It’s handy and the color, while cool looking, also help distinguish it from the other cables shoved in my bag.
Today, Benedetto spends time in Eastern Collective’s office in Burlington, creating new designs, working on a collaboration with J.Crew, and making cameos in Ian Compton’s video blog, “The Weak.”
Eastern Collective Cables