Leveraging Licensee Deals to Explode a Customizable Footwear Brand with Founder of ISlide, Justin Kittredge
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Justin is a born entrepreneur who spent most of his life gaining valuable experience and connections at Reebok International. His wife Lindsay and him started Shooting Touch, a non-profit basketball organization that positively changes lives all using basketball as the critical vehicle
In 2013, Justin combined his passion for footwear, sports, and innovation by founding, ISlide, the first company to offer premium, customized, athletic slides. ISlide has been partnering with top major leagues (NBA, MLB, NCAA), cultural influencers, and athletes from youth to professional for the past 10 years. Justin believes everyone deserves to stand in what they stand for from head to toe, expressing their passion and beliefs through customized footwear.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
- Creating a quality custom item – why the extra work is worth the effort to create a unique item for every customer.
- Printing on demand – how ISlide manages their inventory and workflow, to provide a quality product and experience for their customers.
- Interviewing on Shark Tank – how the experience was not only a game changer for Justin and I Slide, but how the free marketing boosted their web presence.
- Competing in the market – how ISlide has positioned itself to offer a unique, quality experience for its customers, setting them apart from the competition.
- Using licensee deals to help market your product – making the right connections and deals that are beneficial to both sides.
- Having a customer-focused business model – how focusing on creating the ideal product for each customer has set ISlide up for success.
- The pros and cons of having a large market base – the difficulty in choosing who to market to and partner with, but also having numerous opportunities to sell to a wide variety of markets.
- The importance of having a positive mindset – when you leave no room for failure, you find creative, alternative ways to stay in business and grow.
Connecting with Guest:
Connecting with the host:
- Rebecca Babicz on LinkedIn
- 4:13 “Taking that first step is always the hardest.”
- 5:36 “There was a void in the marketplace, there were quality slides that were out there, with no customization from big brands. And then there were low-end, kind of cheap slides that were custom. But they had costly setup fees, and high minimums.”
- 5:54 “I always felt that customization was the wave of the future.”
- 6:51 “We print everything on demand. That’s who we are and what we do.”
- 7:08 “I didn’t mind the grittiness and hard work to be able to print one pair at a time.”
- 7:36 “They want to make one model, and make millions and millions of them. Where for us, it’s more about, we don’t mind that labor intensiveness because it’s a very high barrier to entry, and that’s what we’re looking for as a niche business.”
- 11:50 “We were helping them express themselves in a very different and unique way. They’ve never been able to do that.”
- 13:40 “Whoever you’re trying to work with, is how is it going to benefit them. Instead of talking about how great you are.