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3 of many learnings from setting up production in East-Asia

3 of many learnings from setting up production in East-Asia

If you did not notice – the WhipperKids equipment is unique in many aspects. Kids and adults alike may notice that it is super easy to rig, it is durable, it performs, it is feather light and it is affordable.

 

 The components in the Whipper are different down to the last detail. We have thought completely out of the box. The dark side of the medal is that we needed to start from the bottom  when getting this stuff made into a mass produced product.

 

Here are 3 learnings from my last trip to the land of chicken feet, big machines and hardworking people.

 

1. Let-go-and-label

 

In China there are tons of windsurf-equipment which is pre-produced and ready for labelling. That is why you often see different brand-names on the same product. There is nothing wrong with this, and many times these oem products are actually pretty good.

 

Most of the time the equipment is designed by Chinese engineers. They design/iterate upon existing products and that’s why radical new stuff rarely comes out.

 

It’s super easy to take advantage of this if you are new to the industry, but notif you want to stir up the pond and create some original stuff

 

2. Chinese are excellent craftsmen!

 

Whipperkids has to be the most accessible windsurf-gear on the market. A part of this strategy is to have our stuff made in East-Asia by a handful of different specialized manufacturers.

Many of these manufacturers never made windsurf equipment before (which also influences the price in a positive way). We chose a specific manufacturer because they are awesome at a specific craft, may it be thin-wall welding, 3d-sewing or rubber-tube extruding.

This strategy requires more instructions to the manufacturer, but in the end is worth it. The quality of the craftsmanship over there is just another level! When it goes wrong (and yes it does sometimes), it’s mostly because of misunderstandings, which is a result of not being there…

 

3. Be there or be square

 

 

This is my 2nd trip to East-Asia. Every trip has been a blast. Sci-fi architecture, dumpling-overload, lightning fast infrastructure and inspiration overdosis.

 

When being there, on the factory floor, you get as much done in an hour as you would do over 500 emails with the supplier. Because our suppliers have no clue on what they are actually creating, the chance for misunderstandings are rather high.  By being there, you can see what the factory is capable of making and agree over samples.

 

The norm is that you also eat dinner/lunch together which helps on building friendships / trust. This way you also get a taste of the local cuisine which can be cool if you have an experimental mindset!

 

Three quick learnings from the recent trip to East-Asia. You can follow the Whipperkids journey on Instagram & Facebook and order your own example on www.whipperkids.com.

 

Mahalo and Aloha till next time

WhipperKids mingling at the PWA

WhipperKids mingling at the PWA

Just like the former years, the World Tour of Windsurfing (PWA) had a stop in the windsurf capital of Denmark (and home town of WhipperKids) Klitmøller, Cold Hawaii, in september. Obviously the PWA is packed with professional windsurfers, devotees and expert old stagers. Moreover the event usually attracts every single windsurf enthusiast from the adjoining area – so naturally WhipperKids had be right on site!

 

Prior to the competition week we made sure that our danish-located prototype was all set and ready to pose & perform. We designed and ordered cool little contact cards that could quickly be cast in the hands of curious parents or interested windsurfers. Our plan was to plant the Whipper on site everyday while staying close by to watch the kids interact with the gear, and to answer potential curious questions.

 

Unfortunately for the competition organizers and professionals, the wind and weather gods did not provide conditions to run the heats as planned. With weeklong light winds and a sunny blue sky, it wasn’t possible to single out a winner of the danish tour stop. In return these weather conditions fell in favor of WhipperKids. With lots of children, families and windsurfers enjoying the weather at the venue site, the activity around Whipper was thorough – especially in the weekend! Handing out small Whipper giveaways and letting kids play with the prototype was priceless – boy did we see many happy faces! Lots of kids fell in love with the Whipper while we inescapably fell in love with them. Watching our upcomlings talk about, as well as play and pretend with the gear, planted several fresh ideas about design and development of assisting teaching material and accessories. Furthermore our numerous talks with parents, kids, other windsurfers as well as prominent people within the windsurf world also provided food for thought. 

 

 

As icing on the cake we were asked to do an interview on the PWA livestream during the thematic feature on the future of windsurfing. Getting to present the Whipper story and our product in this forum would be invaluable and pretty darn FUN, so of course the answer was an echoing YES! 

 

 

Showing up with salty hair in post-morning-surf-outfits pretty much set the tone for the interview. At least when thoughts like “Whaat, am I going on TV?” led to “Should I have changed my clothes?”, it was too late anyways.. Luckily this is probably what made the interview seem so natural and smooth, while of course having Ben Profitt himself to lead the conversation was a sweet finishing touch!    

 

Really.. Doing this interview seemed easier and more straightforward than anticipated, probably because you are talking about something you honestly believe in and are truly passionate about. This makes all sorts of regular TV-tricks like posing, pretending and faking completely foreign land! 

Anyways.. We really had a blast and are more than grateful for both the result and the opportunity itself. If you are bursting with curiosity, you can watch the full interview here.

 

Summing up.. This week was a excellent experience and help when it comes to getting more people familiar with WhipperKids. We increased our network and number of contacts – and hopefully in a positive way. It was a great week for letting the kids teach us more about the product as well as the way they learn and have fun. To be reminded that the kids know better, is the best way to stay humble. We keep our fingers crossed that the Whipper made it to the christmas wish list in a bunch of families!

 

The Whipper is first and foremost a toy meant to help the kids have successful first encounters with the water. That is the way we spark the fire in our future watermen- and women. 

 

 

Aloha a hui hou

This is why the windsurf-industry needs WhipperKids!

This is why the windsurf-industry needs WhipperKids!

If you are reading this we assume that you, like us, are obsessed with activities involving wind and water. Being on the water is an all-encompassing passion that renders some of the best experiences of your life possible. There is no doubt that windsurfing is a permanent virus that, once caught, never disappears – and for this we can only be highly thankful.

That windsurfing is excessively awesome, is probably not new to you – but maybe this graph from Google Trends is..

 

Source: https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fm%2F01gg0y

 

This graph is showing a pretty sad and, the above description taken into account, incomprehensible trend within our hallowed sport. Since search queries on windsurfing was first recorded back in 2004 the interest, pictured in the number of search queries, has decreased every single year adding up to a total of 80% drop. This is sadly enough a spot-on analogy to what is going on within the sport, and undeniably nothing but devastating.

 

When looking at this descending curve, it seems like windsurfing will die with the rest of us. We know.. That’s super gloomy and morbid – but in fact it’s true!

 

palmtrees

 

We believe there are multiple reasons for this wistful development, yet the main reasons are to be uncovered within the windsurf industry itself. In the previous decade the industry has tossed out equipment that is either high wind, top notch & expensive or extremely low-quality. This now acts as a huge barrier for those who wish to start grappling with the natural forces on a board with wind in the sail. The existing gear simply isn’t welcoming – especially for the little bullets out there. Children’s equipment offered today is usually nothing but lowest cost zero design effort that is too heavy, hard to manoeuvre, & uninviting for our smallest beach bums Really, if we aspire to save the sport and conversion of the downhill curve is the goal – we can no longer ignore and neglect the entire future generation of windsurfers. It’s just not cool brah!

 

So.. It all comes down to the fact that we, in WhipperKids, think everyone deserves the chance to get their feet wet and enjoy the infinite energy source called wind. For that reason we set out on a mission to break the adverse trend – and is there any better way to start, than by building some easy to handle, super light, fair-priced and FUN windsurf gear for kids? We think not!

 

We could brag about our design for ages but summing up, the greatest thing about the Whipper is the low weight, simplicity and ease of use. It took ages to land the ideal design and together with unique production-methods and materials, we believe that the product itself is really close to perfect!

 

 

What it all boils down to… Along with our design, an unselfish business model and the idea of unique and innovative instructional material in our back pocket, we hope to destroy the obvious entry barriers once and for all. Planting the seeds of water addiction in our next generation is the chief goal when ensuring survival of our sport. With the development of WhipperKids, a new and marvelous windsurf-era can begin – it is the chance to revitalize the sport by making windsurf equipment accessible for every single young gun out there – pretty epic, right?!

 

BUT.. (yes, unfortunately there is a but, and it’s a pretty big one). We are nothing but a simple startup and there is no more gold in the treasure chest, than what we put there. If our gallant dream has to come true, YOUR help is of vital importance!

 

Our master plan is to solely make direct-sales. Even though it means harder work for us, we do it to keep the price low thereby hoping to see an infinite number of small WhipperRippers hit the water the coming years! Nevertheless we need to sell at least 50 Whipper1’s before December. The money from these 50 sets are indispensable for funding tooling-costs and deposits for mass-production. Present-day we have sold just about a handful. We are pretty stoked about that, but there is quite some way till we hit target.. If we do not succeed selling 50 Whipper1’s, unfortunately this mega dream will come to an end sooner than Philip Koster throws a double forward.

 

That means, if you are as much as considering buying a set of your own, or just want to see this project succeed, we beg you not to hesitate putting in your order. Remember, this is for all of us along with the mermaids and watermen yet to bloom.

 

To everyone out there, please spread the word, love and stoke – share the WhipperDream with all your friends, communities and most importantly – buy one for your kid, your nephew, cousin, your friends kid or your own future one. It will mean everything to us – and to the future of windsurfing.

 

Ending with a huge thanks to those who already supported our project by ordering the Whipper1 – we owe you an infinite number of waves! ♡

 

 

Massive Aloha and High-fives

The WhipperTeam