Four University of Arizona entrepreneurship students designed a patent protected product that will keep your boat shoes tied!
YOU CAN NOW GET A PAIR OF DockClips FOR A $20 PLEDGE. (see update #3 for more details on the change)
Are you tired of constantly retying the leather laces on your boat shoes? After bending over and retying our own shoes countless times, we had the idea to create the original DockClip made by DockWear. The DockClips are a functional and fashionable product that let you slide your boat shoes on and off each time you wear them without having your laces come untied.
All four of our founders are graduates of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Arizona. In just over a year, we have been able to take our project from a concept idea to a patented and finalized working prototype. With your help DockWear will become a reality.
James Dillard is from Tucson, Arizona and is the Chief Executive Officer. He has experience working with private equity and portfolio management firms. James has been acting as a general manager providing support to the rest of the team members as well as acting as the main point of contact for the company.
Jonathan Eastman is from Mequon, Wisconsin and is the Chief Operations Officer. He has grown up with a family manufacturing company and also has a background in engineering. Jon has been working directly with our product engineers to ensure design functionality and manufacturing. Jon also is heading up DockWear's web development.
Hunter Curtis is from Irvine, California and is the Chief Financial Officer. Hunter has experience in commercial real estate and plans to pursue his MBA and JD after DockWear is successful. He has been working on everything financially related to the company as well as being a main point of contact for licensing with other companies.
Kevin Elliott is from San Diego, California and is the fourth founder. Kevin has put countless hours into DockWear’s legal documents such as the provisional patent application and our operating agreement. He also is developing the company’s campus sales rep program for college campuses across the country.
Jake Broido is from Los Angeles, California and joined the DockWear team in May 2013. He brings extensive experience with social media and marketing. Jake filmed and produced the informational video on this page.
How it all Began
DockWear really got rolling when the four founders were all accepted into the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program through the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. DockWear was awarded a grant from the University for research and development within the first two months of the program. The grant was used to design and prototype the first version of the clip. DockWear continued to improve the design and functionality until we reached the design that is going into production. The images below show the steps we took to reach our final product!
The Original Idea
The First Drawing
First Round of Engineering Drawings
Above is an image of the first rough design we had for the clip, which we created with the help of a friend who was majoring in mechanical engineering. We realized that despite the seeming simplicity of the design we would need to enlist the help of professional engineers to create a working product.
Above shows the first round drawing we received from the engineering company we hired and as you can see it is much less aesthetically pleasing than we had in mind. We felt the hinge should be hidden so that only the circular top was showing when you looked at the clip; so we sent the design back for changes.
With some innovative design work, the engineers we were able to come up with the design pictured above which is essentially (with a few minor changes for manufacturability) the final design. Our next step was to create a prototype of the design to make sure that it was functional and able to hold leather laces tied.
The First Prototype
Pictured above is the first prototype of the DockClip we received. We had some pairs rapid prototyped and after testing it for months on our shoes we never once had the laces come untied. From this design we have worked with Solid Concepts to make small adjustments to make production feasible. Some of these changes include rounding some right angles and adding clearance for the hinges so that the design would work in an injection mold.
We had additional prototypes made after every design change to ensure that the clips were still functional and able to remain clasped over the laces. After completing this step, we were ready to run a small batch of the final product.
The Final Product
*Other Greek Letter Organizations logos available
After further testing and receiving a building interest from the public in our product, with your help, we are ready to send the clips into mass production.
DockWear is currently working with Solid Concepts, an American Manufacturer, to produce the DockClips over seas. The clips will be made in China; through a business partner they have had a relationship with for over 15 years. However, we recently learned that Solid Concepts is in the process of expanding their US facilities. Being a “Made in America” company for every stage of production has always been our goal and we are working with them to bring production home in the near future. We set up a shop in our roommate’s bedroom after he graduated to handle finishing and assembly for the first batch. This space will do for now because we have partnered with another American small business, Personalized Awards and Specialties to handle the customization of the Clips, product assembly, and order fulfillment. We are excited to work with them and have finalized our contract.
The DockWear landing page, www.dockwear.com, is currently up and running. The DockWear e-commerce website is being developed and will launch this August. We have partnered with a well-known e-commerce site builder to deliver a professional site within our budget. The site will allow us to sell our DockClips and accessories across the nation and our partnership with Personalized Awards and Specialties will ensure that the orders are customized for you, packaged professionally, and shipped on time.
A Little More About the DockClips
The DockClips come with the DockWear logo but we offer you the option to customize your own clips. The DockClips retail for $18. Partner organizations (such as fraternity letters etc.) retail for $22. Custom clips with your monogramed initials retail for $25.
*prices subject to change
Up to this point, we have invested all of the time and resources we have to make this project a reality. This includes pooling all of our savings together and getting loans from friends and family. With the money we invested, we were able to develop the clip design, receive a provisional patent from the USPTO, and develop our online store; but now we need your help!
Your contributions will allow us to produce our first large batch this summer, bring manufacturing back to the U.S.A. for future production, and offer additional customizable features such as sending us an image of your own logo for the clips in addition to monogrammed initials that we are currently able to provide. If this campaign largely exceeds our campaign goal, we will be able to use the additional funds to file for our utility patent sooner than expected.
Giving back is something all of the founders value. Each season DockWear plans to partner with a different philanthropic organization to offer you limited edition clips. A percentage of the proceeds will be directly donated back to the philanthropic organization each season.
For more information visit the official DockWear Landing page: www.dockwear.com
DockWear’s online store is coming this August!
Like us on Facebook: DockWear Company
Follow us on Twitter: @DockWear
Follow us on Instagram: @DockWear
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The DockWear team has been working through challenges for the past year while attending the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona. We have successfully completed more than five rounds of prototypes and have completed extensive product testing.
One concern we had throughout our time in the program was protecting our intellectual property (if we had any). We were able to work with a local IP attorney who discovered our clips were so unique that we definitely needed to protect the idea. He worked with us pro bono to get a provisional patent, which we were successful in receiving. Now, within the next 12 months, we will be filing for a full utility patent.
With any project there are manufacturing obstacles that are not planned for. To help us over come these obstacles, DockWear has hired Solid Concepts to lead the large-scale production of the DockClips. Solid Concepts has their own employees onsite at the manufacturing plant and will put our product through 3 stages of quality control before turning the product over to us for approval. In addition, Solid Concepts has assigned a project manager to our team as well as prototyping and tooling engineers to help ensure our product is ready for commercial use.
Solid Concepts is also expanding their Phoenix, AZ facility and DockWear will have the opportunity to manufacture the entire clip right here in the United States. DockWear is exploring this opportunity and plans to bring our production back to Phoenix as soon as Solid Concepts is ready.
Once our Clips are manufactured, DockWear has partnered with an American small business, Personalized Awards and Specialties, to complete our assembly and fulfillment. Our partner has been in business for over 40 years and is a well-known, trusted company in their industry. With this partnership DockWear can focus on selling our Clips and designing future products while our trusted partner fulfills orders, ensures product quality, and ships orders in a timely fashion.
Overall, with your help, we will be ready to successfully manufacture a large quantity and begin online sales this August.
We are planning on having the first batch of DockClips manufactured by early August if everything goes according to plan. So you can expect to have you pair by late August or early September.
DockClips have been specifically engineered to hold leather laces, like those commonly found on boat shoes. These clips are not designed to be used on any other form of shoe lace.
More information can be found at our website: http://www.dockwear.com
You can sign up for our email newsletter at http://www.dockwear.com
Initially our goal is to start our company by licensing and using Greek Fraternity letters and logos on the clips. We also plan on licensing and using College and University logos, with hopes of getting our product into school bookstores across the country. If you have any ideas that you would like to see us manufacture please email suggestions to: email@example.com
As of now our plan is to offer a custom pair of clips exclusively through this Kick Starter campaign.
Can I get DockClips featuring my Company’s name or logo to use corporate giveaways or sell in my store?
DockWear would be very interested in partnering with your company to make this happen as long as a minimum order quantity is reached (a minimum number will be decided on a case by case basis). Please feel free to reach out to us via our email firstname.lastname@example.org so we talk about options and get the process started.
The original DockClips have been designed and engineered based off the leather laces on men’s boat shoes but we have had success using the clip on some pairs of women’s boat shoes with leather laces as well. We plan on engineering a smaller clip designed for women’s boat shoes with leather laces at some point in the near future.
A pair of DockClips with the DockWear Logo on it will retail for around $18.
A pair of DockClips with a partnering organization Logo or letters on it will retail for around $22.
A pair of DockClips with a custom monogram on it will retail for around $25.
Several of the founders have put prototypes on their shoes to test this question and after 3 months the laces are still tied!
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