Geekin' Out With Mike: Our Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer, and Resident "Shoe Dog"

Posted by Mike Gossett on

Meet Mike, our Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer. Mike is our resident foot expert, AKA our in-house shoe dog. He worked at a little company called Nike for 18+ years out of Portland, Oregon, before taking his talents to another tiny company named Crocs for 5 years. He knows a thing or two about footwear and has been switching up his laces long before Whiskers was formalized. His expertise guides our product line to success. He’s the man with the plan, the diabolical genius behind every new style and category that we release. As we head into this brave new year 2021, Mike wanted to take some time to talk to you all about our product line and where it’s headed. So if you’re a shoe-nerd like Mike and want to geek out on laces and take a peek into what this year has in store at Whiskers, scroll down and take notes from the Lace Master himself. Feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts or questions!

Hey There,

Mike here – I run product at Whiskers HQ. And by that, I mean I come up with the things you fill your shoe holes with… I know, I’m a pretty big deal. We are so excited for 2021, and Whiskers has some big plans to bring you more new laces for more of your shoes. We were hoping to bring a lot of new products in 2020, but things changed (AKA everything changed for literally everyone). However, we were able to give you a glimpse of some new products at the end of 2020 and the response was amazing. So THANK YOU all for that, that positive feedback really helped lessen the stress bomb that was 2020.

 

WHAT WE DID IN 2020

The first new products we launched were our new lines of sneaker laces. We were frothing at the bit to launch something really cool here since we all live in sneakers, especially after office life was shut down. Unfortunately, our production facility was no exception to that and had to scale back workers to only 20% of full capacity. COVID really hit our supply chain hard, causing our most-anticipated launches to be pushed back. In November we were able to launch an Athletic Sneaker lace in 10 colors. This is what we call a flat oval lace, and is perfect for running shoes. We were only able to launch in solid colors, but the response was amazing. This is a great performance lace. It’s comfortable and stays tied during running, walking, or spontaneous burpees. We plan to do much more around a performance running lace in terms of features, benefits as well as color and design.

We were also able to produce a limited supply of premium sneaker laces that we launched in November for casual sneakers. It’s a Tuscan Cotton Glazed Lace, and once you see these in person, you really appreciate them. The glazing on the laces gives them a super-premium look and feel, and they look great in a pair of Cole Haan sneakers, Stan Smiths, Air Force 1s, and any nice everyday sneaker you want to throw them in. These won’t last forever so grab a pair now before they’re gone!

One of the first products we were hoping to launch in early 2020 was a new Boot Lace. We know you all have been asking for this for a while and trust me, it was frustrating for both of us. But the good news is, that despite all of the COVID setbacks, we were finally able to launch 4 colors of the new boot lace this past December. We took into consideration feedback from you all when making these new boot laces. That’s why this new collection is a little thicker than the previous one and is a perfect fit for a Chukka or a mid dress boot in 29” and 48” lengths, respectively. The colors are reminiscent of the first collection and we’re extremely stoked at how well they came out. The new diameter looks and feels great and the colors really pop in any pair of boots. We also just launched another 4 new Boot Lace colors, check them out in our Boot Collection!

Our last new introduction in 2020 was the all-purpose sock, AKA the Jacques Sock – the sock of all trades. Ever since we launched our first 30 laces in 2017, we have been talking about expanding into socks. We wanted to do socks that you can match directly to our laces so your whole leg-fit is “on point” as the young folks say these days. We didn’t want to just do any sock though. We found a way to make socks in North Carolina using sustainable materials to make high-quality socks that are made to last. Our goal with this sock is to give you all a sock that would work great in dress shoes and then transition into any other activity you were doing. Mission accomplished. They’re breathable, snug, and stay up on your calf in style. Not to mention, the designs and color look awesome and when you pair them up with our laces they look perfect– because that’s how they were made to be worn. Boom.

 

WHAT WE’RE DOING IN 2021

So what does 2021 look like? As we slowly emerge (hopefully) from COVID, we are hoping we can continue to excite and delight. Imagine the day we all come out of our work from home hibernation… what a glorious dream. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to have fun with color and dress up a little more when I actually have people to interact with again (my cats don’t count). We have done a couple of consumer surveys and some of the key takeaways from the responses from you all is that we can take more chances on color. And if you haven’t seen it by now, we listen to our peeps. So in 2021, you’ll start to see us have even more fun with color. We will still have the basics, but we’ll be bringing you the unexpected and you’ll see some things on laces you haven’t seen before.

One particular collection we have big plans for is sneakers. Sneakers have become more and more acceptable in a work environment and they’re invariably a part of our everyday style. We all need more options here: a chance to customize our outfits and show off our personal style in our everyday shoes. We can’t wait to bring to life the concepts we have on our plan.

A lot of this hinges on our factory and protocols, but we are confident that as we all return to some semblance of normalcy, we will start to see our production abilities ramp up. So besides life in general hopefully becoming normal again, you can look forward to some really fun and new things from us in 2021. In the short term, look forward to a new sneaker lace launching in the next month or so as well as a new consumer survey coming your way. We absolutely love these surveys, as they provide great insight into what you love and what you want more of. So please know that I read through every result and take your feedback seriously! You are all such a valuable part of what we do, and you continue to inspire our products every single day. Wishing you all a wonderful, safe, and hopefully a somewhat normal 2021 (that’s good these days).

Keep on lacin’!

 

Mike Gossett

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

Whiskers Laces

 

 

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