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Wayward Supply Co. has made it through the first round of cuts in the current startup category of the Grow America Springboard competition.
The competition has four rounds: Registration and Executive Summary, Video and Business Plan, Live Pitch and Final Pitch show.
Wayward Supply Co. is an apparel company that specializes in socks and underwear, and targets the action sports industry. Of the four Wayward co-founders, three are professional snowboarders and have industry expertise in action sport apparel.
Those three, Jordan Mendenhall, Jon Kooley and Will Tuddenham, all have significant experience in design for outerwear and accessories. Mendenhall and Kooley are designers for L1 Premium Outerwear Co., while Tuddenham has been involved with Mica Watches and Ashbury Eyewear.
One of the main products in design for Wayward is thermal layering underwear. “We are trying to model it after vintage, army-issue long underwear,” said Mendenhall. Wayward plans to have artist collaboration, with artwork on underwear, use unique stitches and packaging, and have as many products as possible made in the U.S.
According to Mendenhall attention to detail and design separates Wayward from the competition. He added, “And the fact that we are making underwear is pretty much unheard of in the snowboard and skateboard industry.”
Overall the four co-founders feel confident in the product and design and said the Springboard competition is helping in a major way. “It’s pretty easy just to say, ‘Oh yeah let’s start a company.’ And it’s another thing to actually have to write in detail exactly how you are going to do that,” said Mendenhall. “Details like where are you going to sell it, how are you going to get in to retail stores - every little detail about how you are going to launch this company. Things that I’ve thought about, but never had to put in to words. It’s been a huge learning experience.”
“This has been a huge stepping stone for us, just getting all of our ducks in a row and helping us prepare our business proposal for other avenues of capital. It’s given us deadlines, and we’ve been able to work as a team to meet those deadlines,” said Kenneth Styles, co-founder and manager of sales and logistics.
At the end of the competition, the winning company receives $25,000 in cash and services. However the mentoring services that have taken place just in round one have already given Wayward a giant boost.
“Even if we didn’t make it to round three or win first, second or third, it’s already given us an avenue to be prepared and have our business proposal completed and pitch to other investors,” said Styles. “Obviously the money is a motivator, but the mentor sessions, in my opinion, are more worthwhile. It is so valuable to learn from someone who has done this before.”
Grow America dedicates it resources to growing companies, creating jobs and stimulating the economy by helping entrepreneurs.
Wayward Supply Co. will find out on Oct. 15 if it will continue on in the Grow America Springboard competition.