Tell us about your business.My name is Matthew Swaggart. I founded HoldFast in the midst of a personal creative reinvention. During this time, I was inspired to holdfast to three very basic values. Taste: Things must look right. Logic: Things must make sense. Faith: Because logic takes us only so far... and then we must leap. I’ve traveled the world, capturing stories of humanity’s highs and lows. I always disliked the bulky and militaristic style of today’s photographer’s gear. And after years of creeping back pain, I became intolerant of its poor function. I determined to create a brand that blended the elegant styles of yesterday with unsurpassed modern functionality. HoldFast was born from a sense of adventure and the belief that history is waiting to be captured and made. I believe an image can tell a story. And a powerful story can make history--and change its course. My hope is that HoldFast equips my fellow image-capturers to better tell such stories.
What makes your business stand out?Not settling. I work extremely hard to have all of my products made within my own local community. I branch out statewide when I have to, then out a little further but ALWAYS within the US borders. Everything I make is made locally, greatly benefitting local businesses and a small number of products are made in New York. Even the materials I source I strive to buy within the US. I believe that carrying cameras shouldn't hold your wardrobe hostage. You should look as good as the things you shoot, and blend in by not standing out like an militiaman with a camera.
What's the best business advice you've received?Don't worry about companies that copy, they can't copy your brain so keep dreaming big. Stay out in front by innovating, not worrying about those that copy your innovation.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.Nominate yourself
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.See the finalists
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now