Matthew Morrison is going to be a dad – and a cool one at that, armed with some signature new gear.
“I’m so excited, and I just want to be the best father I possibly can be,” Morrison, 38, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, admitting that he’s “looking forward to everything” about fatherhood.
Says the actor of his new addition, due to arrive this fall, “The fact that it’s half me and half the person that I love most in this world … I’m so excited to meet our child and to see what he or she looks like, and to see what features of my beautiful wife that he or she has.”
The timing couldn’t be better. Though he and McDuffie have been working on bringing Sherpapa to life for a while, it’s May website launch allows Morrison to be a purveyor and customer.
“Zach and I were on this mission to build this company and now it means so much more to me,” he raves. “It’s so much more relevant.”
Sherpapa includes a range of high-quality products, including dad-branded tees and hats, as well as custom specialty items like painted baseball bats and canoe paddles. The business partners tell PEOPLE they hope Sherpapa encourages family adventure.
“In this generation, there’s a lot more dual-income families and shared responsibilities of raising a kid,” says McDuffie. “Dads are much more involved in raising their kids. There hasn’t been any lifestyle brand geared toward those kind of dads until now.”
McDuffie, a photographer, and Morrison first met through their wives, becoming fast friends. As the father of a 2-year-old little girl, McDuffie realized a lot of products for new parents were geared toward mothers.
“I was carrying my wife’s diaper bag and I started thinking. I was like, ‘There’s gotta be something cooler for guys,’ ” he says. “Yet there was nothing for dads – and it’s the best job in the world – as far as gear.”
Thus, Sherpapa was born. Explains McDuffie, “The name started out as a nickname my wife had for me, because when you’re a dad, you carry a lot of stuff for your family.”
“So it’s a combination of ‘sherpa’ – those local guides that carry all the gear for climbers at Mount Everest – and ‘papa,’ which is the most universal term for dad.”
“Our definition of Sherpapa is a modern family leader and protector of children’s futures,” McDuffie continues.
Both men are partial to the brand’s bags – the James and the Sierra – which, Morrison says, are Sherpapa’s “staple pieces.”
“It’s really a bag for all seasons of fatherhood,” he says. “From a go-bag for the delivery room in the hospital to the diaper bag, to putting tools in it. Zach uses it for carrying lunch around, and it’s a great car tote. I use it as a carry-on – it fits perfectly under an airplane seat.”
“There are a couple stereotypes about dads that we want to break,” says Morrison. “One, that dads are hard to shop for. And two, that men somehow lose their style when they become fathers. And that’s why we are creating these gifts and gear in a classic style that reflects the belief of quality over quantity, and durability over the disposable.”