Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
Through the years people have found some interesting places to hide things. Sometimes it is money stuffed in a shoe or sock or even a well hidden wrist money pouch. ArchPort is giving customers yet another option: in the sole of their shoes.
ArchPort has created a unique shoe that allows you to hide card-sized items within the sole of their specially designed shoes. Whether you’re hoping to hide your license, cash, and car key for a trip to the beach or sneak in somewhere with your MP3 player, their unique shoes can help keep it stored.
The founder, Matt Potts, recently spoke with me about his unique shoes and his inspiration for them.
Tell us a little about ArchPort.
ArchPort footwear include removable compartments in the soles. They are patented under US Patent 6,094,844, and include two compartments (one in each sole) in the arch region of the sole. All ArchPort footwear include a compartment in the arch region since the arch is the most biomechanically correct placement. This is the first footwear in many years to enter the market with a utility patent. There are many design patents, but very few utility patents in footwear (in history) that reach the market.
Arch Port sandals (and other ArchPort footwear) include a wallet clip that fits into the sole that can carry several credit card items, cash and a key. The wallet clip snaps securely into the sole. Either compartment can also be used without the wallet insert. The sandals include a hook and loop closure to secure the contents. For example, the current promotion is a flashlight and multi-tool that fits into the sole. It is placed directly into the sole and secured to a cavity by Velcro, then enclosed by a cover.
Technical Background: The primary impact areas of the foot while walking are at the ball of the foot and the heel of the foot. The arch area is the “rolling’ area, subject to less impact. Therefore I concluded it is the best area to place a compartment. The name ArchPort came from the idea that the compartment is in the arch, and also from the idea that it is a port which can one day be used to interchangeably carry various items, including GPS, music and other forms of data and data communications.
What inspired it?
I was inspired originally after a tennis match. I had walked across the street from my home to play, with only a key and tennis racquet in my hands. I dropped the key on the court, and after the match, considered that it would be nice to have a small stash in my shoe sole. After the initial thought I had an “aha moment” at the gym, needing a place to keep my id and key, and seeing others (guys) dropping their wallet and keys near to exercise equipment.
What is included with a pair of ArchPort shoes? How much do they cost?
ArchPort sandals include a wallet clip, flashlight and plastic bag – all of which fit securely in the compartments. The cost is $54.95.
Besides your special flashlight, do you offer any other products that are made to be hidden in the sole of your shoes?
The flashlight is the only item currently offered as an accessory. More items are scheduled to roll out in the future. Part of the Company’s strategy is to offer promotions initially, later offering accessories for sale. The promotions are designed to let customers try out the sandals with complimentary accessories, offering extraordinary value at no additional cost.
What protects anything in the hideaway from getting damaged?
The compartment casing is constructed of high density nylon, so it will not break under pressure. Essentially the casing, or cavity protects items from damage. Additionally – as mentioned above – the arch area I the “rolling” area of footwear, and not a high impact area like the ball of the foot or heel. Storing items at either the ball of the foot or heel would not only increase the likelihood of damage to items, but would also transfer the shock impact up into the body.
Is there anything else that you feel helps separate your product from the competition?
The ArchPort compartment is far and away the most distinguishing feature of this product. And because of the strategic location of the compartment, many customers claim the arch support of this new sandal is like no other sandal, offering outstanding support.
Do you have any goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next year or so?
The goals over the next year are to reach specific sales objectives, and to introduce new styles, new colors, and footwear in another footwear category.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
I’ve learned to 1) carefully target markets, 2) never to be afraid of experimenting and 3) that “money to marketing BS – or fluff” rules in the footwear industry – and fashion generally. This last lesson learned is true of many industries, but particularly in footwear and fashion.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Being successful in business requires a combination of passion and business acumen. Those with business backgrounds are often too inclined to use their critical thinking to take risks, and those with extraordinary passion, often too inclined to take risks to recognize the need to carefully target their market.
Do you have any advice that you would like to offer fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?
Entrepreneurs need to understand their industry and market. Probably the best advice is to pursue an idea in a market you are most knowledgeable about. This can significantly improve your chances of success and reduce your time to market. The most valuable advice I can give is to avoid letting your passion get in the way of business.