Since the dawn of time, the laces that have held together shoes have been overlooked and boring. Rumor has it, even the caveman cruisers were held together by the classic brown wax laces. Pssh, cavemen, am I right?.
Fast forward to a few years back, when our founder Kyle Groth snapped a dress lace when lacing up for the day. Searching for a replacement lace, Kyle went into an upscale shoe store. No dice. They told him they “don’t just sell the laces”. What? Why not just sell the laces? And when he finally found a replacement pair, they were the cheapest strings he’s ever seen.
Just then, a cartoon light bulb illuminated above Kyle’s messy bed head. Nobody sells quality or unique shoelaces – and the laces that do come in men’s shoes are all the same. Boring. A tiny hole in the world of fashion opened up and Whiskers was born to fill it.
We DO just sell the laces. And we’ve taken the most mundane part of the modern wardrobe and transformed it into tiny little rebellious threads of self-expression. Tastefully wrong. Wrongfully right. Because well, your shoes deserve better. And so do you. So go on ahead - lace-up, and Whiskers on.
MEET THE TEAM
We may be a small team, but we pack a punch. Here’s a little blurb on each of us, so you have some context when you are praising or berating us online or chatting with us via email 😊
CO-FOUNDER & CEO
Kyle Groth. Our fearless leader. The grand poobah of Whiskers Laces. Kyle is our founder and CEO. This isn’t Kyle’s first rodeo building a business, he’s been doing it since graduating from Cornell in 2010 (ooooh fancy). He’s helped build everything from spirits brands to media and tech startups, so naturally, he decided to take a stab at shoelaces. He’s a self-described “cat guy” and the ultimate Dad to two little boys, one dog, and two cats. He used to be an athlete and now sports a glorious Dad bod. He loves his weekend adventures with his wife Sakina and their boys.
CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
Mike is our resident foot expert, AKA our 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. He’s a devoted Dad and enjoys spending time with his family when he isn’t out shredding on his road bike (no Dad bod for Mike). He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his family and three rambunctious cats.
MANAGER OF OPERATIONS
Julia is our Manager of Operations, AKA doer of all the things (from inventory management to customer service to marketing). She’s an organized go-getter, but also quite the hippy (self-described). She loves dogs and tends to impulsively adopt rescues that become part of her family and ours. She also likes to read books when she isn’t binge-watching The Office for the 57th time. She has experience in pizza slinging and teaching kindergarten in Prague (yes, those are both real), and graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences. Despite being the youngest on the team and the semi-adopted little sister of the Groth brothers, Julia is basically the big sister of the Whiskers team, and we would be in some serious trouble if she weren’t around to keep the lights on. Oh, and orders would probably arrive empty or with the wrong laces (this has happened each time she’s gone on vacation...ahem KYLE).
Paul is our Content Manager and the maker of things. He makes everything from email designs to website imagery to social posts. Paul has always been a bit creative (maybe too much so if you ask his old teachers). He’s always enjoyed the startup world, having worked in two early-stage businesses before the lace game. Paul graduated from college at Florida State University (go Noles). If you haven’t guessed it by now, he is the younger brother of our founder and CEO Kyle Groth, but nepotism is NOT a thing here at Whiskers. We keep him in his place with constant shaming in our Slack channels and refusing to acknowledge his good work. Paul enjoys fly fishing in the summers and snowboarding in the winters from his home base in Denver, Colorado where he lives with his cat named Howard (are you seeing a theme here?).