When Mark Dwight purchased Timbuk2 in late 2002, its main asset was its cult brand. People loved both the merchandise and the company’s story (it was founded by a bike messenger in 1989 and used local San Francisco labor to fashion its sole product — a messenger bag). Despite about $4 million in sales, however, Timbuk2 was broke. Dwight brought some of the management principles he had learned at Cisco, and he jettisoned the crippling consensus-driven decision making. “I came here and said, ‘You guys have to trust me to make certain executive decisions about what we’re going to do.’ That’s leadership.” Dwight maintained local manufacturing for the flagship product, but in his expansion drive, some of the 30 new items, such as yoga bags and duffels, are made overseas. That compromise has turned Timbuk2 around, with one of the best-selling computer bags at Apple’s retail stores. It hit $10 million in sales and turned a profit in 2004.
2005 FAST 50 WINNER
Mark Dwight, 45
San Francisco, California
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