Graduates launch Kickstarter project to support new retail brand
Tempe-based action sports brand hotmix is helping bring manufacturing back to the U.S. by launching the 4x4x4 Project on crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The project revolves around creating four new products with four artists in four weeks, all manufactured here in the United States
The hotmix brand was founded in late 2012 with a core belief in the competitive advantages of manufacturing locally and supporting U.S. artists. Using new technologies, smart sourcing, and modern manufacturing techniques, the brand offers tremendous flexibility and speed to market.
The founders, Matt Boyd and Cynthia Valenzuela, started parent company KVZ Sports Inc., a two-time winner of ASU's Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, in 2010. It serves the resort and promotional gear markets, where they have been able to build a following with more than 50 clients in six states. They are making their first foray into the retail market with hotmix.
The Kickstarter campaign features the hotmix brand and aims to raise $30,000 by Feb. 20. The funds will be used to carry out the first full production run.
“We are excited about launching hotmix on Kickstarter with the 4x4x4 Project,” Boyd said. “Our action sports gear is packed full of great features, including cool technologies such as Outlast® thermo-regulating fabrics. We are also dedicated to creating new jobs – our stuff isn't just designed here, it’s made here.”
At a time when almost all apparel sold in the U.S. is manufactured overseas, the company prides itself on producing action sports gear locally. It also is implementing a pay-some-back strategy to reward artists with royalties on product sales above the routine flat fee.
“By utilizing technological advances in the industry, we can compete effectively,” Valenzuela said. “This means smaller order minimums and a speed-to-market that simply is not possible with an imported product.”
Boyd added, “By localizing our manufacturing efforts, we can complete much smaller runs efficiently. This makes teaming up with U.S.- based artists early in the production process a realistic proposition. Not only is ‘made in the USA’ a good story, it is a competitive advantage!”
In addition to winning the Edson competition, KVZ has been accepted into the Arizona Commerce Authority's State Trade and Export Promotion program, which helps Arizona small businesses enter export markets. They are also one of the first entrants into the MAC6 incubator and business accelerator program in Tempe.