Recoiling in happiness
February 14, 2012
David Alden would call himself a Kickstarter success. The Park City local used the website, which helps to find funding for independent projects, to take his business idea from concept to complete.
Recoil, a plastic device similar to a fishing reel for wires, provides an easy solution to tidy up offices, entertainment centers or the ear buds in your pocket. Alden’s Recoil is a simple plastic case that wires hook and wind into, keeping them neatly tucked inside the case.
"This is a lot more than a winder too," he added. "This is a management system that we’re building."
Alden’s idea came from a typical frustration as he was moving into his new home in Park City just more than a year ago. Despite meticulously building a home for his family that reflected their personal style and accommodated the furniture and art, he couldn’t stop focusing on the chaos of wires strung throughout the house.
"I remember being mad that I hadn’t designed in a place to hide all these wires and cables," Alden said. "Who likes to look at all these wires hanging everywhere?"
He ran to a nearby store to pick up a fishing reel. When he realized it would work, he started to think big.
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"It was cool, but it wasn’t very practical," Alden said. "A $300 fishing reel didn’t seem like the best way to store a 50-cent cord, so right then I realized it was a matter of winding the cords up effectively."
Soon, he was on his way to China to develop and manufacture Recoil, but the company needed $60,000 before full production could begin and half of the project cost had to be paid up front. Alden paid the $30,000 and went home to start figuring out where he was going to find the other $30,000 to get the product into stores.
"I had begun production in China," Alden said. " It was all self-funded at first, and I remember scratching my head thinking ‘How am I going to come up with the rest?’"
In stepped Kickstarter, and within three days of posting the project Alden had met his goal. And then some. The project has little more than a week until the Recoil project closes, but with nearly 2,000 backers and more than 900 percent of what he was asking for in funding, Alden said the website has made getting the business off the ground a snap.
"I never anticipated all the added benefits to having a successful Kickstarter project beyond the funding," Alden said. "The funding is great, but I never anticipated all the emails I’ve been getting from distributors, salespeople, retailers and online companies that want to sell Recoil."
He plans to use extra funding to expand the business.
Alden came across big investors, corporations that wanted to partner with him. Even the storage company where he plans on shipping the product contacted him through his Kickstarter account. He’s sold 10,000 units so far without ever finding a distributor, reaching markets in Asia and Europe.
Since Alden watched his idea take off, he started building on his original concept with more products. He originally planned on selling 15,000 Recoils in the first year, but since that number was nearly matched in preorders, he’s been at work refiguring sales goals and marketing.
"I always thought this was a product that could succeed," Alden said. "People really like it and I was always optimistic about its potential, but for it to have gone from nothing to so many different opportunities, I didn’t know we’d have people speaking to us as though we’re a well-established, multimillion dollar company."
Recoil is scheduled to reach shelves including Park City Adler hopes in early April this year. To help fund the Recoil project visit http://www.kickstarter.org and search Recoil.