WilkWear | Skillshare Projects



Background:  I have been involved with an exercise program called CrossFit where I am both a participant and trainer.  I see the benefits CrossFit brings to people's lives both physically and mentally.  I encourage people to live an active lifestyle and CrossFit helps with this.  Unfortunately, there are certain exercise movements that can cause bruising on one's body.  Wilkwear is identifying areas of bruising and creating padded apparel to help reduce bruising.

Problem    Solution

Lesson 1:  The Art of Starting a Company

1a)  Define the "meaning" of your business

  • Exercise has growing within the US especially a new phenom called CrossFit which is steadily growing.  CrossFit has brought the benefits of Olympic Lifting such as the Clean, Jerk, and Snatch to the general public.  These movements can cause serious bruising on one's body.  This bruising can deter people from continuing doing these movements.  Wilkwear is a company that is designing padded athletic apparel to help reduce bruising.

1c)  Company Mantra

  • Rev 1:  Padded Athletic Apparel
  • Update Rev 2:  Workout With Less Bruising

Lesson 2:  The Art of Launching

2a)  Don't Worry Be Crappy

  • In the above picture, you can see my MVP (Minimum Viable Product).  It is the first version of the shirt I designed.  So far, feedback from users has been positive.  Check out the latest testimony:
  • "The T-shirt is awesome with an ingenious design! Great compression material with breathable vents by the arm pits. The collar padding sits perfectly on my collarbone and absorbs the shock over sensitive areas. It makes racking and re-racking of the bar during heavy jerks and overhead presses much more comfortable. The usual pain and bruising I get from repetitive dropping on my chest and shoulders is minimal to non-existent. I'm more confident and able to concentrate more on form as weight increases. Great quality and very functional. I highly recommend it for weightlifters and crossfiters of all levels."

2b)  24 hour Rule of Business Planning

  • Validate "Proof of Concept" by designing and testing prototype
  • Create Ecommerce website
  • Market website and product

2c)  M.A.T.T

  1. Milestones
  • Market Research:  People who do CrossFit suffer collarbone bruising very frequently
  • Proof of Concept:  Design and test prototype for shirt
  • Prototype:  Find a manufacture to create working prototype of shirt
  • Raise Capital:  Kickstarter campaign to pre-order shirt
  • Ship testable version to customers:  Kickstarter campaign supporters will receive a testable version of the shirt from the manufacturer
  • Customer feedback
  • Product changes needed?
  • Breakeven point

As of right now, I am currently at the step of "Ship testable version of customers". The Kickstarter campaign I launched in April 2014 was a success and has allowed me to bulk purchase 400 shirts.

  1. Assumptions
  • Identify target Market and Customer
  • Price Point for shirt
  • Inventory Levels for shirt
  • Conversion Rate
  1. Tasks
  • Design specifications for shirt such as shirt material, padding thickness, padding material etc..
  • Find, contact, and work with a manufacturer to create working prototype
  • Create ecommerce website to handle online sales
  • Form Business Entity as well as business credit card, business banking account
  • Work with lawyer to make sure company is working in a legal aspect
  1. Test
  • Test the functionality of the shirt.  Does it work?  Do users like it?
  • Test online marketing strategies.  Which strategies are driving the most traffic to the website?
  • Test ecommerce user experience.  Are people buying the shirt?

2d)  Create emotional connection

  • As a CrossFit coach and participant I see the looks of joy and happiness when someone achieves a goal or hits a new PR.  PR stands for Personal Record.
  • I want to create an emotional connection with customers by emphasizing that wearing this padded shirt you can work out with more intensity, to help you achieve your goals.

2e)  Spreading the word

  • I am currently searching for bloggers who have shown enthusiasm in CrossFit and are just starting out with CrossFit too.  I plan on reaching out to them to see if they would be interested in testing, then writing a review of the shirt.
  • I have someone lined up who is excited to try the shirt.  Fingers crossed he likes it and helps promote it.

2f)  Pre-Mortem

  • Legal:  Is my product already on the market that I didn't discover in my initial research?  Is my product infringing on any existing patents?  Am I operating within legal boundaries?
  • Financing:  Do I have enough cash flow to continue business operations?
  • Marketing:  Am I generating traffic to the website?  Are customers buying?
  • Functionality of the shirt:  Does the shirt work?  Positive reviews?  Do I need to modify?

Lesson 3:  The Art of Fundraising

3a)  Know What You Are Getting Into

  • According to 3 questions regarding VC backing, I don't think I qualify for VC funding.  Looks like I will raise capital through organic growth, and reinvesting the profits back into the company.
  • I'll keep bootstrapping the company.  I recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign which helped cover the cost of production.

3b)  Get The Basics Right

  • I don't believe I fall under the category of a company that is VC back able, so this section doesn't totally apply to me.
  • I have formed an LLC
  • I currently am working with a lawyer who has helped me create and file a Trademark application, create a Terms & Agreements, and Condition section for the ecommerce website.
  • I also have filed a Provisional Patent application for the shirt and will begin the Non-Provisional Patent Application within the 1 year window the Provisional Covers.
  • As I continue to get closer to company launch, I am involving Legal into each step to make sure I am both operating legally and protected

3c)  Put Together A Team That Is Fundable

  • I guess it's a blessing that I won't be seeking VC funding because currently I am the only one working of this company.  I have learned a great deal thus far but the work has been tremendous.

3d)  WOW

  • This is the first shirt, on the market, designed specifically to reduce bruising to the collarbone for weight training.  This shirt was born from the popular exercise program called CrossFit which has seen tremendous growth in popularity over the last few years.



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