Ever heard of Moldova? It is Europe's poorest country and formerly part of the Soviet Union. Back in 2002, I went there to teach English many summers ago and made friends with some of the folks in the country's small but unified military. An older gentleman by the name of Oleg took a few classes from me and would always tell me amazing stories from World War 2. One day after one of our English classes, he came up to me and said that even though the classes are free he would like to give me a gift. Oleg told me about his "glory days", including military apparel of the time, and then out of nowhere he pulled up his shirt and began to unbuckle his belt. I was shocked as he whipped off the belt, until I realized he was graciously giving me the very belt off his waist!
After parting ways with the beloved people of Moldova, I tried to source the same buckle and sell it to consumers. the ratchet buckle was quite popular, but there were two problems:
(1) the mechanism would still "catch" on the leather, sometimes causing frustration for customers
(2) there were foreign patents for this buckle and I did not want to run into legal problems.
I had to improve the design, both for my loyal customers and to recreate a product that I could call my own. From 2007-2009 I worked hard redesigning the concept from the ground up while preserving the simple idea: a leather belt that you could fully adjust. The product qualities would be the mantra for my company: SIMPLE. STYLISH. SLIDING.
With the help of college professors, we made improvements to the original concept, made architectural drawings for possible manufacturers, and patented the mechanism. The buckle would now be of a stronger grade metal, spring-driven instead of magnet, plus I made the buckle removable from the leather so you can interchange colors and buckle types. These changes allowed us to grow the product and the company to almost limitless possibilities.
We spent a summer traveling to Armenia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, and other locations until we found a manufacturer who could produce a quality product.
After a few failed prototypes, delayed productions, and SlideBelts that just weren't up to my standards, I finally received a product I was proud to stand behind. Variations of the belts exist all throughout the world--ratchet belts, holeless belts, clickbelts, and others--but in America they are known as SlideBelts.
Great Story. But tell me simply, what is a SlideBelt?
What is this "SlideBelt" I hear so much about? It is a leather belt that lets you freely adjust the size without the limitation of holes in the leather. It is an Eastern European style belt that has no holes, but uses an automatic buckle instead--making it fully adjustable. This type of belt is called a Slidebelt; simple, slick, and stylish. “A SlideBelt is a leather belt without holes. Instead of holes, we have a row of notches, or teeth, sewn into the back of the leather. When you put a SlideBelt on, you slide the leather through the buckle, and the buckle catches on these individual notches.
Traditional belts have only five holes, giving you only five sizes – unless, of course, you start poking your own holes. But with a SlideBelt, the notches give you over thirty sizes. To release the buckle, and adjust or remove the belt, simply lift the frame.” “After going through several versions of buckles, and improving the mechanism, we finally created a belt we were proud of. Other adjustable belts have awkward release levers that just get in the way and ruin the overall look of the belt. But we decided to make the release mechanism part of the buckle face – creating a sleeker and simpler design that is much easier to use. We also know everyone loves variety, so we made the buckles interchangeable – simply push the leather unto the buckle to swap out different leather colors or buckle styles.”Why poke holes in a perfectly good piece of leather? Use a sleek sliding one."
Who is "Erik Blaire"?
Erik Blaire is the name of this company: Erik Blaire SlideBelts. The SlideBelt is the product line, and Erik Blaire is the fashion brand name. The name comes from the book 1984. Remember that crazy sci-fi love story your teachers made you read in high school? Yeah, that
"1984." Good ol' Winston. Well, the author was George Orwell, a literary genius and master story teller. Unknown to many, this was not his real name. Most his friends and family always knew him by his birth name: Eric Blaire. We love the name, love the man, love his books, and have built a fashion name around his style and the era in which he lived.
- Phase I: Designing [DONE]
- Phase II: Prototypes [DONE]
- Phase III: Pre-production / Test Market [DONE]
- Phase IVa: Speed Pitches, Elevator Pitches 
- Phase IVb: Backer Feedback / Revisions & Improvements
- Phase V: Integrate new color styles & buckles, and build sales [2009-NOW]
- Phase VI: Explore Future Concepts [ONGOING]
- How long you have been running your online shops
- Who are the people on your team
Man with the Plan: Brig Taylor
Guest Service Guru: Max Proler & Michelle Taylor
Head Designer / The Architect: Seth Eli
Second Architect: Gyorgy Petrovich
Financial Advisor--"Wearing the Finance Pants": Michael Philman
SlideBelts Fax #: +1 (916) 527-0822