Back in May we told you about a revolutionary wetsuit company with a bold new vision: to make the ultimate custom-fit wetsuit. While it sounds simple, the idea has proven to be full of hurdles, which is why up until now, no company has been able to pull it off. For starters, an in-home measurement system that could translate into a form-fitting suit had to be invented. Not any easy task by any means, but with the online shopping revolution in full swing, this very well may be the future of retail. It’s taken the boys at Carapace Wetsuits several years to iron out the kinks, but after a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are pleased to be open for business. We sat down with cofounder Alex Wang to talk about the road to get here, and what lies ahead.
What’s the latest news with Carapace?
The biggest news is that we've launched our online store. After almost two years of development, people are finally able to purchase a custom-fit wetsuit from us.
Since our Kickstarter was funded a lot of really cool things have happened. We've been approached by a couple larger brands to manufacture custom wetsuits for the military, as well as had a few private label opportunities. We've also produced a few suits for National Geographic skin divers who are exploring Fiji, Bhutan, and a bunch of other fun and exotic places. I'm pretty excited to see the photos that come out of that.
How was your experience with crowd funding on Kickstarter?
Kickstarter was probably the most stressful but exciting 30 days in my entire life. There's so much pressure to execute, and this stuff stays on Kickstarter forever whether you are successful or not, so flopping really wasn't an option for us. I have to say it was exhilarating and humbling to see the people who stepped up and supported us. The 119 who supported us will forever be a part of our story. We'll never forget that, and I think that's really cool.
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What’s been the biggest hurdle?
A huge challenge is the workflow and the processes. There's a reason why no one else in the world is doing this. It's really damn hard. We're manufacturing suits one by one and trying to deliver at scale, keep the prices fair, and the quality high. Not to mention, we have to develop and manage all the custom fitting and web technology. So operationally, it's been a huge hurdle to work all of that out. Our back-end developers have custom-built tools for us to manage the order process and website. I have to give credit to Alliance Technologies for backing us on this. We really wouldn't be here without them. Holmes Koo, Armando Andrade, and Alan Wang, if you guys read this, thank you for all your dedication, hard work, and support.
How can we order our own suit? How does that process go?
Go to our website at www.carapacewetsuits.com, choose between our two lines, pick your thickness, add the product to the cart, and check out. You'll be asked to sign up for an account to put in your measurements before the final checkout and we will begin production on your custom wetsuit!
Our EXO2 line is priced at $390 and our EXO1 line is priced at $490. There are very small increments in price if you want a thicker wetsuit.
We initially projected turnaround time to be two weeks, but we are already backed up with pre-orders and finishing up Kickstarter backers. So we were forced to push out our delivery time to just under three weeks. We're hoping that once we scale the business a bit more, we can invest more in our manufacturing and reduce the lead times a bit.
What’s the future hold for you guys?
We are really excited and bullish for the future. We want to become the most technologically advanced wetsuit company and fundamentally change what people expect in quality, fit, and pricing. We also want to build a company culture that we are stoked about, inspire other entrepreneurs, and in someone else's great words "shake up" the industry. We're on that trajectory right now.
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