VALDOSTA, Ga. — Brian Collins was tired of losing stuff on the water.
“I lost a number of phones and wallets while kayaking,” the Valdosta resident said. Collins decided to do something about it.
The 36-year-old Valdosta State University graduate took on a business partner and started a company to save all those phones, cameras, wallets and other pocket paraphernalia from the hardships of outdoor living .
The result was DryPocket Apparel, which manufactures board shorts, swimsuits and dry bags using specially designed polyurethane pockets that close quickly, automatically and securely, keeping water out and personal equipment indoors where it is dry.
The secret to the special pockets is the use of rare-earth neo-magnets that line the pocket openings. Collins demonstrated how they work. Opening the pocket of board shorts, he demonstrated how the magnets automatically closed the pocket when he let go.
“It automatically seals just by releasing it, in less than a second,” he said.
Collins said the pockets are waterproof up to 100 feet deep and the magnets won’t interfere with electronic equipment.
The company’s bestseller is a waterproof backpack that Collins called a “game changer.”
“Our waterproof backpack is the only one of its kind in the world,” he said.
Currently, DryPocket Apparel has only three employees: Collins, his wife, Krystal Comer-Collins, and his business partner, Danny Saturday.
The company is licensed in Fernandina Beach, Florida, and uses manufacturing facilities in China and Thailand. Collins said they are also considering opening a manufacturing site in Colombia.
“We would like to do our manufacturing in the United States, but as a startup it’s too expensive,” he said.
DryPocket Apparel has no storefront; its merchandise is sold online and distributed to US, Canadian and Australian retailers.
The partners planned to launch DryPocket Apparel in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to push back to 2021.
Collins said future plans include expanding into women’s activewear and introducing a dry bag that can quickly be converted into a cooler.
One of the reasons Collins started a business was to help his family.
“I knew I was going to have to start a business to help my parents retire,” he said.
The company’s website is drypocketapparel.com.