It’s official! We are launched!! Hip, hip hooray! Yes, the XpandⓇ Lacing system is now officially on the market and we are ready to take over the world, two stretchy laces at a time! What a ride it has been...
It started about 2 years ago when we (my wife and I) thought… what if? What if we totally turned the whole shoe tying game on its head? What if elastic shoe laces could disrupt the market? To some, these probably seemed like silly questions (and we had no idea if anyone would take to the idea), but that didn’t stop us.
It certainly didn’t stop us from weeks and months of testing. We tested everything from materials to elasticity rates to components to functionality until we hit the nail on the head with the perfect no tie shoelaces. Plus, we spent hundreds of hours on color choices, packaging, barcodes and preliminary patent researches.
We were like kids in a sandbox, digging our way to China with a shovel and bucket -- and a whole lot of hope and determination.
When we decided to take the idea to crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, we had no idea what would happen, but thought it would make a good litmus test to determine if there was a need or want for a product like the Xpand® Lacing System.
Well, it turns out there was more than a need. Our elastic, no tie lacing system was a smokin’ hot hit, and we were able to raise a total of $1.2 million dollars and growing. With 35,000-plus supporters we were ecstatic and a bit petrified at the task in front of us, which would require 12-15 hour work days at a minimum, everyday for months.
Manufacturing, processing 35,000 orders, shipping logistics and color details: they all seemed, at times, like mountains we couldn’t move. But inch by inch, and every once in awhile, mile by mile, we did. Behind the scenes of a project like the Xpand® no tie shoe lacing system was insane at times. As organized as we were, it felt completely unorganized. There was just so much unchartered territories, things we couldn't have possibly prepared for. I guess we should have known manufacturing 200,000 Xpand® Elastic Lacing Systems for 35,000 backers with 40 color options shipping worldwide could get a little crazy!
On the shipping front, we have to give a huge shout out to Backerkit.com, who assisted us greatly in successfully fulfilling our orders with minimal issues. International orders got shipped from our overseas fulfillment house and domestic orders from our U.S. fulfillment house Firstmile.com. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, our little team of 8 in Anacortes and Seattle, WA were pounding away on keyboards, getting our website and other sales channels prepared and responding to hundreds of emails from interested potential retailers, distributor, etc. While having hundreds of interested parties is a fantastic “problem” to have, there were crucial factors to weigh like exclusivity, pricing and more. So much was at stake and we had to get it right the first time around.
So, yes, it’s safe to say the last 6 months have been startup, manufacturing, logistics and business bootcamp -- and it was worth it. While we’re not sure when we’ll ever sleep again, we can’t wait for what’s next! Thank you to everyone who helped us... and watch out as we take this product to the moon!