My dearly missed mother-in-law used to say, "the days are long but the years are short" when offering advice about the the challenges of being a good parent. While nothing can quite compare to the work, sacrifice and ultimate joy of being a father, trying to start a business on your own while keeping your day job and raising a family feels pretty close. There are certainly ups and downs but I was not prepared for the emotional toll of trying to develop the product, obtain a patent, produce the product and then market it.
Oddly, in the beginning marketing was the least of my worries. My father has an incredible reputation and a long list of contacts. I also have many contacts and experience as a D1 head coach, D3 assistant and HS head coach even though it was many years ago. Little did I know that marketing would be my greatest challenge. This reminds me of another saying of my own (I think); "the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know".
Probably the best marketing strategy for us is to simply hand someone a stick with a Head Rock on. It is admittedly an unusual concept (you don't use a ball?) and I have found that there is nothing I can say or no video I can make that is as effective as having someone actually try it out. I have had old teammates tell me "when I first saw this thing I thought good luck with that, Tillzy...but now that I have tried it out, I really think you have something."
That all said, I can report that our first nearly two years have been an overall, exciting success! We were granted a 2nd utility patent that was published July 2018. The Head Rock website went live almost two years ago and is in the top 25% of Shopify sites launched that month.
First prototype makes an appearance at Homewood field
There are currently over 500 Head Rocks in use. OK, that's not Swaxlax ball numbers, but you have to start somewhere. We have sold about 200 to date through our website and nearly 50 at Laxcon 2019 We have given away more than 150. A good friend tells me I need to keep planting more seeds.
I learned to use social media after shunning it all my life. Hey I'm old and I don't really care what someone I knew in college had for lunch :) In this pursuit, I have gained the most encouragement. The community at Instagram and Twitter have really kept me going. We have had some encouraging feedback (one could say informal endorsements!) from professional players. Early adopters are reporting increased shot velocity!
Partnering with like-minded lacrosse entrepreneurs like Rocket Mesh is also something I am very grateful for. Let us know if we can partner with you!
In the Media/Testimonials
- We made the front page of our local Hyattsville Life and Times. This is a really nicely written piece.
- The very first article by Stringers Society gave us a valuable boost. Thanks guys!
- We had a noticeable sales surge thanks to EDC Greg's Stick Accessories Vol. 2 video. Greg was very gracious and helpful.
- Head Rock spotted in the UK.
- Head Rock Spotted in Mexico.
The Coming Year (or two)
We are currently investing in new tooling - expensive, but needed to make the leap to sell on Amazon and retail. The new tooling includes our logo on the face of the weight. We will also be better positioned for discounted team sales.
Future goals include developing a 10 oz. version. That will be like having two lacrosse balls in your pocket. The slogans will write themselves. We also want to create a version strictly for women (our current, "Model A" can be adapted for women's sticks), and a goalie version. Lets GOoooooo!
Sneak peak of our next version