Member Spotlight: Matthew Baron

Today we visit with Matthew Baron creator of The Woofer.

Where are you from originally? Where are you located now? I was raised on South Street and I still live there. God Bless Philadelphia and South Street

What do you create?

The product that I manufacture is called The Woofer. It is a dog coat that plays music from an iPod or smartphone. I turn dogs into boom boxes. You can play any type of music on the coat including audio books to podcasts.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
There are about 20 different materials that go into each Woofer. The waterproof speakers are held on with rivets and rings that I make out of aluminum. The wires are made by hand of copper and coated in plastic. The audio jacks are made of gold plating for performance. The amplifiers are made of a number components that I get online and powered by two rechargeable double A batteries. Then there is the coats themselves. They are mostly made of satin and microfiber for comfort easy cleaning. There is an inner batting and another batting fabric that is used to pad the back  of each speaker.

Describe your studio or workspace and tell us a little about your process?
My studio is located in my home. I have two desks; one for tinkering and one for administration. I have an entire wall dedicated to the evolution of The Woofer. Previous versions and ones that just failed. I have made thousands of mistakes to be able to quickly manufacture a working coat.

When are you most creative?
Most days, I am more creative when I am out of the house. You can catch me at Last Drop, Chapterhouse or B2 coffeeshops.

What (or who) most inspires you?
All the people who told me that this is a great idea. Somebody had to do it and it might as well be me. Nobody will do it for you.

Tell us something about you that very few people know? Any hidden talents?
My fear is that my product will hurt a dog some day. I spend hours working on safety. I add padding and coating and pay for the opinions of professionals. Still, if you watch movies like Jurassic Park or Anaconda or Man’s Best Friend or Jaws then you see what happens when man screws with nature. How about that women who had her face ripped off by her chimp? Will nature strike me back? Will dogs get mad if they think that I am making them look ridiculous.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Do your research and be prepared. You will need budgeting and statistics to start a company. Also, always plan on the worst case scenario.

What have you enjoyed most about being a part of Handmade Philly?
Being part of a group that cares about quality. Making something by hand means that you can make a quality product.

What programs/events/workshops would you like to see from Handmade Philly?
It would be great to see some classes from members on learning sewing or knitting or welding.

What is your dream project?
This is it. Making Woofers is living the dream.

What’s next?
Look for a Valentine’s Day Woofer Video on YouTube and Facebook.

~Tanna Paradis

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