Nick Shabazz

Nick Shabazz

Gear Reviewer, YouTuber, and Jackass-of-all-trades
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‘Stealth Review’ Consulting

So, the basic idea is that you send me gear, in the form of a prototype, pre-production sample, or even 3D print, I carry/use/examine, and then give feedback. The sent items do not have to be final products, and I’m happy to reference prototypes with lists of upcoming changes,

This is something I’ve done for around 20 companies and/or makers, of varying sizes. In many cases it’s been a one-off thing, or a sequence of single reviews of items, but in others, I’ve looked at a series of prototypes over many iterations. I’d tell you who all I’ve worked with and what I did, but that would entirely defeat the whole ‘stealth’ bit. Anyways, here’s a bit of detail:

This is not the right road for ‘exposure’

First, a stealth review is not a sneaky or paid way to get a public review. On some occasions, a stealth reviewed product has been excellent enough that I think my viewers would be passionate about it, and I may ask about (or purchase independently) a post-release sample for public review. But this is not generally the case, and there are several companies who send samples for stealth review, but whose products never appear publicly on my channel, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Again, this is not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way to get your product exposure, stealth is stealthy, and public reviews are an entirely different thing, and are not available on a paid basis. You’re welcome to provide product for me to check out, but you can’t buy your way onto the channel, and all the provisos on my disclaimer will apply.

The Process

The process is pretty straightforward.

The Feedback

Stealth reviews are designed to give you some feedback from a passionate member of the community who has handled more EDC gear than most. Feedback will consist of…

Please note that your product will only be discussed in the context of publicly available products. In the same way that your stealth reviewed products ‘don’t exist’ until made public, theirs don’t exist either. I have nothing to win and everything to lose by sharing details about upcoming releases, please don’t even ask.


During this process, there is zero public exposure of the products. Not on YouTube, Instagram, or anything. Not in the background, not on the sly, not to my patrons. In fact, without your consent, I won’t even mention that I’ve gotten a product from you at any point. This is something I take very seriously, and the lack of pre-release items on my channel is evidence of that. You don’t know who I do this for, and it’s going to stay that way. I’m also willing to visit you on-site if you’d rather ensure that nothing leaves your facilities, as I’ve done before, but at your cost.

Note also that even once the item is released, I continue to hold in confidence the things discussed here, as well as any changes from the prototype(s). It’s easier for me to simply forget that the stealth review ever happened, publicly and privately.

I’m open to signing limited and targeted non-disclosure and embargo agreements, as I have many times before when consulting. But I encourage you to avoid being too heavy handed, as legal fees on my end required to evaluate and negotiate overly onerous NDAs will need to be passed on as a part of the consulting fees.

We’re on the same team here, but as somebody who will (potentially) be looking at your products publicly later, many NDAs are over-broad, and my inclination will be to pass on the opportunity if your lawyers get too creative, or even worse, if you write one yourself.

As an aside, do-it-yourself NDAs I get are generally amusingly problematic, often with little practical legal value. The DIY NDAs I’m sent regularly often include major issues like preventing me talking about the product or company even years after release, keeping me from talking to you the maker about the prototype, blocking me from reviewing the production version publicly down the road, preventing my sending you an email or talking to you on the phone or via Zoom about the prototype, from writing down notes about the product in preparation of the review, or my personal favorite, prevent me from talking about anybody’s gear, ever.

Negotiating these issues is my least favorite part of the process, so please respect my time by either making the NDA very specific, tailor-made to the situation and written by a lawyer, or by skipping the NDA process altogether and understanding that I have no desire to screw you over in this way, and agreeing like reasonable adults. Consulting is something that I do mostly because I love seeing great products get greater, but this isn’t my day job and I don’t ‘need’ this to happen, so if you (or your lawyers) are making this difficult, or if we’re having to go ten rounds to get an NDA which doesn’t substantially interfere with the process or my life, I don’t have much motivation to proceed.


My main motivation is to create publicly available content, and my Patrons pay for that to be a major component of my time. When I’m carrying something I can’t talk about or review publicly, there’s an opportunity cost and writing my reviews is not quick. This, alongside the expenses associated, is why I ask for payment.

My general fee structure is in line with industry standard design consulting fees:

That said, I’m passionate about the gear and helping the community and makers, and I’d rather see great gear get better. If you’re a new maker just getting started in the industry, I’m happy to waive this fee for your first product you bring to me, asking only that you cover shipping both ways. And for other makers, particularly small businesses, I’m happy to work on a sliding scale.

I wish I could do this for free for the world, but I hope you can understand why I need to charge for my time and effort, and respect my perspective enough to make it worth my while.

What I need from you

If you’re interested in setting this up, send me an email (nick at letting me know…