From Kansas City-coded Stackify to his dream job at Microsoft, working in tech is a labor of love for Jason Taylor. But it couldn’t keep him from hanging a side hustle.
“I’ve always been a do-it-yourself project type of person,” Taylor said, noting numerous remodeling projects he and his wife, Lindsay, have taken on over the years.
“We always have some project going on.”
As the couple worked to build a new deck in the fall of 2021, they saw a need to upgrade the outdoor kitchen that surrounded it, Taylor recalled.
“I’ve been a Big Green Egg user for about 20-years. And I was looking for a cart on wheels that could hold one of these things,” he explained, referencing the popular, high-end grill and adding that he couldn’t quite find a product that fit the needs of the project.
“On the 30th page of Google results, I found this manufacturer I had never heard of before. I ended up giving them a call and it became a larger conversation about how they were a little bit new to this game — they are in the Amish community — and I said, ‘You have this perfect product, with all your cabinetry, for do-it-yourself people. … why aren’t you putting this online?”
The reply of the manufacturer nearly immediately opened the door on a new project for Taylor.
“They said, ‘We’d love to — we just don’t have any expertise in it. We’re B2B. We don’t want to be doing that directly. We need a dealer to do that for us,’” he said, recalling his decision to use his background in tech and experience with eCommerce to step in and help.
“The next thing you know, I went from a casual shopper to starting a business.”
Talk of the block
Now known as Matchless Cabinet, Taylor and his wife deal grill carts, as well as more than 50 base, upper, and closet cabinet options — made of durable, powder-coated aluminum and designed to be used in indoor or outdoor spaces, commercial or residential — shipped directly to the doorstep of DIY installers.
Click here to shop Matchless products or to learn more.
Each piece is engineered and manufactured by Rock Run Cabinetry — based in Topeka, Indiana, a Midwest town of about 1,000.
“I’m no stranger to the metal cabinetry that big box stores sell. It’s really inexpensive steel, it has very inexpensive finishes on it, it easily dents and scratches, and it doesn’t hold up incredibly well to the amount of weight that people sometimes put on it,” Taylor said of existing and competing products.
“It looks like something that should sit in the corner of an unfinished basement or unfinished garage, whereas we’re using high quality metal that’s more durable, holds a lot more weight, has a lot more strength, and is constructed by hand — all made in America, by masters of their craft.”
Non-corrosive, non-flammable, pest resistant, and easy to clean, Matchless has had no trouble finding customers — especially outside of Kansas City — Taylor said, a potential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and more time spent by customers creating well-designed and functional spaces within their homes.
“I don’t have the historical context to say what launching a business like this would have been like two years ago. … But when it comes to unique living spaces, outdoor areas, man caves — if you want to call them that — there’s always been a market,” he said.
“In the past two years, with the pandemic, people have spent a lot of time in their homes and doing improvement projects. Just in my own neighborhood here in South Overland Park where it’s all new construction within the past five years — I want to say everybody on my block [has done] basement remodels or basement finishes and landscaping projects.”
“I think that’s to our benefit. The whole market has gone that way and everybody’s been investing a lot in their homes and real estate prices are reflecting that. I think, ultimately, it’s [going to] positively affect what we’re doing here.”
Dealing with opportunity
Looking to the future, Taylor has no plans to leave his job at Microsoft, he admitted. But he does intend to keep growing Matchless and is eager to see what can become of the company — especially for the sake of his children.
“One of the first things my wife said to me was, ‘Please don’t ever leave Microsoft,’” he laughed.
“And I don’t think I ever will. I really do love it. For me, [Matchless] was more about seeing a really good opportunity in front of me and realizing that I was in a unique position to capitalize on that opportunity — while also doing something that I enjoy doing,” Taylor continued.
“I don’t plan on making this my primary job, but I also have two young children. And one of them is going to be a teenager soon. This is a great way to get them involved with this process and for them to understand what entrepreneurship means and what it means to be your own boss.”
In the meantime, the mission before Matchless is to take operations one day at a time and see how far and how quickly it can scale, he said.
“I like helping people and I like working on these sorts of projects. … That’s been really fun. That’s been really rewarding. … If everything goes well, maybe this turns into something that can be a family business that gets passed onto our children.”