Thank you for your interest in giving us a kick start! Pat & I are excited to introduce our system to you and hope that you'll find it's been worth the effort put forth thus far.
In 2001, Take-A-Seat was born out of necessity. We arrived at our tailgate party with everything BUT our chairs. A thought occurred to Pat, if a chair could mount to the receiver hitch on a vehicle, it would save interior space and ensure that once you arrived to your destination, you’d have a place to sit down and take in the fun. A drawing was sketched that night and the brainstorming began.
Realizing that a hitch mounted chair was a cool idea, the practical side of us thought – it needs to be collapsible for easy transport AND who’s going to spend ‘X’ on a chair you can’t take away from your vehicle? We needed to build functionality into the system. That’s when we really got into the design and usability. When we folded the arms of the system on top of one another – it took the shape of a cargo carrier.
When we placed the arms in an upright position, preparing to close the unit, it looked an awful lot like a frame for a bike rack.
Now – how do we tie it all together? With comfortable canvas fabric and Velcro straps, of course!
We made a few prototypes and used them everywhere we could; campgrounds, parades, bike trails and sporting events. Each time we would pull up to our parking spot- without fail – someone would inevitably ask a series of questions, “What is that?” “Where did you get that?” “Why didn’t I think of that?” and the kicker…”How/Where do I get one?” We knew when the last question was asked, we were onto something…so we continued our journey.
In 2004, we received a patent and started our search for a manufacturer. December 2007 we took delivery of our first order.
We sent the systems off as “demos” to large retail companies, gave some to family/friends to use and promote, set up and exhibited at flea markets and trade shows and knocked on the doors of local businesses asking for a coveted spot on their shelves or showroom floor. We began selling online through Northern Tool & Equipment, U-Haul and Discount Ramps. Momentum started to build and we were in serious talks with a national retailer.
Then, a little thing happened that you may have heard about…the bottom dropped out. The market crashed, economy crumbled and our business plan became obsolete. In the years since, we sold out of our systems (albeit gradually) and began to focus on additional accessories to enhance the Take-A-Seat.
We continue to talk with retailers that are interested in the system and use the unit every chance we get. What keeps us going? The same questions we were asked back when we first started, specifically – “Where can I get one?”
That’s where YOU come in! With your help, we will be able to get back to production and distribution.
Here’s how your support will be used:
Manufacturing of new systems – the engineering is complete and the packaging designed. The “easy part” is done! What’s missing? The units themselves. We plan to partner with a manufacturer in the USA to make the Take-A-Seat and get it back on the shelves. Although the product has been designed and engineered in the USA, the opportunity to have it 'Made in the USA’ is important to us.
Marketing – A tweak to our existing website, new brochures and other materials are needed. Plus, we need to put ourselves out there! The largest automotive accessories show, SEMA, is coming up and by exhibiting there – it will place us in front of major retailers and automotive accessory companies who are looking for new and unique items. SEMA serves as a huge opportunity to reach the diverse demographic that would benefit from a Take-A-Seat.
Misc Business Expenses - We work out of our home, which takes the need for office space out of the mix, for the moment. However, once we take delivery of the units - we'll need warehousing space and a way to transport them there. Postage, bank fees, administrative needs all play a part...
Protection – Liability insurance. Not too much more to say other than, we must have it!
Licensing – Outside of the system's many uses: Camping, cycling, hunting, etc., tailgating is where the system got its start and in the parking lot is where we see the system being utilized the most. Put the coolers on the cargo carrier, unload at your tailgate spot, flip the back support up and...voila! You are ready to get your tailgate on!
The travel cover fabric and backrest is the perfect canvas for logo placement. We plan to first obtain NCAA licensing as it is far more affordable than others. Additional licensing, such as NFL, MLB, NASCAR and corporate opportunities will follow. (See stretch goals)
Accessories – The prototypes are done and with your support, we can start producing “add-ons”. Umbrella clamps, tables, cup holders and upgraded bike rack mounts are a few of the things we have planned.
Stretch Goals - We will be able to accomplish a lot with our initial request of $25k, but if we are blessed to receive additional dollars - we've got ideas for those too!
$40,000 - Increased production and experimentation with additional materials. Is an aluminum frame possible? We'd like to find out and the increase in donations will allow for that.
$60,000 - Other licensing opportunities. NASCAR licenses are awarded by driver/team...we'd like to approach a few individual teams and work our way up to several more. With the revenue brought in from our initial re-order and additional funds through Kickstarter, we can also begin the process of gaining NFL and/or MLB licensing.
$100,000+ - Get the word out! We realize that Wisconsinites aren't the only people who love their sports teams and outdoor activities. By earning additional backing, we will be able to travel to other states and venues, exhibiting the Take-A-Seat and finding new methods of distribution.
Risks and challenges
What could go wrong? :) In a perfect world, nothing...but we all know better.
What happens if you cannot connect with a US manufacturer?
This great country is filled with welders, machinists, tube benders, etc. We know that we there is a large group of capable fabricators available. But, if none of them can provide a system to us at a reasonable cost, then we will have to look at using a different material or an alternate quantity fulfillment request.
How long will it take to obtain NCAA licensing?
Obtaining licensing is a tedious and lengthy process…the good news is, we’ve already got a jump on the paperwork and have researched the process extensively. With our goal being met, it will afford us the opportunity to submit our forms for immediate consideration.
The standard system is intended to attach to a 2” receiver hitch, but my vehicle has a 1 ¼” hitch. Now what?
Have no fear; the 1 ¼” adapter is here! Take-A-Seat was designed with an interchangeable main post that slides into your vehicle’s hitch. So what changes? Weight restrictions. The 2” system is rated to hold up to 500# and the 1 ¼, 350#.
What happens if someone decides to ride the chair while the vehicle is in motion?
Well now, that might sound like a fun idea or possibly the perfect spot for your mother-in-law to sit on long road trips, but listen. IT’S A NO – NO and it says so - so…on the system, in the owner’s manual and on the sales receipt. That's what liability insurance is for!
Sit down and be recognized? You bet! A virtual “shout out” of sorts! A big ol’ ‘Thank you’ via Take-A-Seat’s facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts, letting the world know how cool you are and how much we appreciate your support!
VIP seating! Rewards above and 2 additional custom colored fabric sets of your choice! System comes with black fabric, Choose from Cardinal Red, Burgundy, Black, Royal Blue, Hunter Green or Blaze Orange.
Fun at the Frozen Tundra!! Rewards above PLUS a fully catered tailgate party at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. You get your buns there and we'll help you and a guest experience the phenomeon that is...Green Bay Packer football! 2 home game tickets included!