The Unbelievable Testing Labs had a goal to reach; $15,000 in 45 days. UTLabs introduced the most lightweight shoe on the planet with Kickstarter. The Limited Edition Light Wing project brought in an unbelievable $142,197 from 2,178 backers in only 28 days! Of which, 215 supporters pledged $120 or more for a pair of the ultra lightweight kicks made of Tyvek paper. In fact, UTLabs collected over 900% of their funding goal.
The congregation of engineers and designers with two home offices - one in Las Vegas and in Shanghai - call the invention; The Pencil. The Pencil shoe is sustainable and completely engineered by founder and lead designer, Token Hu. What started as an idea from seeing Tyvek paper in action, turned into an added value product for the design firm.
Extensive Product testing, science and a little bit of ingenuity aid in a successful launch. What about the product? According to UTLabs PR/Brand Development, Joseph Constanty: “Combined with the URT Rubber sole, and utlra-minimal design of the shoe, you get a low profile shoe that gives you similar cushion to what you feel in a more advanced cross-trainer athletic shoe." And that "as a company based both in Shanghai and Las Vegas we have the good fortune to have two homes that keep us close to our marketplace, and at the same time our manufacturing base. We believe that the footwear industry has a number of disadvantages when bringing new footwear to the marketplace, and Kickstarter is an awesome tool that allows a new brand to learn very quickly what the market demands, and then go straight to production based upon those demands."
The shoe also features POLIYOU (third party trademark insole) which features crazy ventilation ability, absorbs moisture and has "a thing for hunting down that nasty fungus and bacteria that tends to stick around in your shoes.” UTLabs has already started negotiations with the largest online e-com sites and has created a strategic retail partner list for 2014. Next up for the firm is a lightweight "trainer" prototype.
Over two thousand backers believe in science, technology and a clean sleek design that they can draw on and is ultimately waterproof. And with over one thousand facebook fans to the designers, that probably helped out a great deal. The lab also did some wonderful PR prior to the kick off in design, business, technology and online sneaker magazines.
“In the four months that led up to our launch on Kickstarter we studied every successful Kickstarter across multiple disciplines that we believed had a similar customer base to our own. Everything from gadgets to apparel. With a great story and product in hand our whole team (including partner Shaun Nath) made every possible effort to activate our personal networks to support us in the first 12 hours, creating an awesome network effect.In a nutshell – Project research, Great Product, PR homework, Activate Network to get to initial goals as fast as possible, and then reach out to PR contacts with the success story.” Constanty reports.
Needless to say – you have to hit the ground hard and fast.