Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current town: Philadelphia, PA
Job description: Product Manufacturer and Internet Marketer
Bio: Born and raised in Philadelphia, Matthew Baron has been in marketing and advertising products for 18 years. At the age of 17, while doing production work on the TV shows Freaktown and Squirt TV, he found a passion for advertising. After graduating from Northeastern University, it has been a long list of advertising work for clients including: BMW, US Army, Sony Playstation, Dell, Trump Casinos, and Petsmart. During this time he was an Assistant to the Director on the motion pictures, ‘Man On Fire’, ‘Matchstick Men’, ‘Domino’, and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. Since moving back to Philadelphia, Matthew Baron manufactures clothes for dogs and people, BBQ Accessories, and LARPing Toys, as well as, offering online marketing consulting services to small businesses.
Upcoming projects: Black Friday Readiness.
Select links: http://www.TheWoofer.com
What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?
My work focuses on supplying niche products to customers online. The Woofer is a dog coat with speakers built in. There was no product in this space so I started manufacturing them from my home. Churrasco Shop delivers Brazilian BBQ accessories to people that love Brazilian cooking methods. Epic Toys tries to serve products to people that LARP and desire hand made, foam weapons.
What materials do you work with?
When I started manufacturing Woofers, there were no portable music system that could fit into clothes. I still have to develop my own technology to go into my Woofers. I purchase the speakers but manufacture the speaker harness, wires, and amplifiers. So, as an example, I get to work with circuit boards for the amps, aluminum for the harnesses, and kevlar for the wires. Then there are the coats that come in different colors with new fabrics being considered every day. Churrasco Shop involves a lot of stainless steel and wood and Epic Toys is all foam.
What are you currently working on?
Always looking at new products. Some are easy to make and others are very difficult. I care most about finding underserved markets and having the customers tell me what they want.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
My role as the Sherrif of the Space Pirates Lounge is very important to me. In Port Richmond, I store and develop interactive art for the Space Pirates. We are a group supplying art to Burning Man, local parties in Philadelphia, and charity events. Managing creatives and the process and tools that they use comes naturally to me.
What’s your art background?
Making movies, promoting artists, and making things that people will love.
What’s been happening in your life?
Making money. Having fun.
What’s next for you?
What is the most exciting to me is that I just got my own server. With it, I can control the speed and quality of the experience that customers on my eCommerce website will enjoy.
Describe your current state of mind.
Hibernating for Winter. I usually run away from Philadelphia during the colder months but there is too much cool shit happening here for me to leave.
What’s inspiring you?
Burning Man and the Space Pirates.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
The biggest challenge that I face in marketing artists is to convince them that they can find out, using Google, what consumers are looking for. I want artists to make items that sell and to do that it has to be relevant to people.
How has the meaning of your work changed over time?
Most of my career was spent delivering advertising and marketing to prospective consumers. With the last four years in online marketing I have learned to make products of quality and they will market themself.
What do you dislike about your work?
Slow and steady does not always win the race. Mostly, it is running really fast.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Wood. I want to make stuff out of wood.
What is your dream project?
Video in clothes. I want to watch TV on your coat.
What are a few of your favorite spots in your area?
The energy at Next Fab (http://www.NextFabStudio.com) is fantastic. People building and making things with care and consideration. It is a place to learn new skills and meet makers.
Favorite artists and why? People in your field whom you most admire:
Director, Tony Scott, passed away this year. He taught me great lessons while working on ‘Man On Fire’ and ‘Domino’ to think big and do something different simply for the reason of doing something different. Also, I grew up across from Isaiah Zagar and learned that destruction is a necessary part of creation. When I prototype new product Ideas I enjoy seeing a product fail so that I can remake it stronger and better.
What are you reading?
Iris Has Free Time by Iris Smyles (http://irissmyles.com)
Favorite authors, fiction:
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is my favorite book.
Favorite authors, nonfiction:
The Razor’s Edge by W. Sumerset Maugham.
Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels?
The graphic novel for The Watchmen is so fantastic.
What are you listening to these days?
My goal is to listen to music that is trending on YouTube.com since I manufacture sound systems in Philadelphia.