As with most things I love, I dove right in.
So with the first scribbles in my business notebook on January 29, 2017, I had only an idea of the processes involved, who I may meet, and where I may go in creating a new something from nothing. Thereafter my mind couldn't stop thinking about what to do, how to do it, when to do it– and that was all good for me.
First page of my notebook
Meeting with purpose
At the time I was living in Nagoya, Japan, and had recently made a connection with the designer of an up-cycle fashion brand. We worked on marketing strategies to introduce the brand to the USA market. As with all business gatherings in Japan, the time came for associates to meet for dinner and drinks; this is called a nomikai.
Seated across from me at the table was a kind pair of gentlemen from Hiroshima, who months later would become business partners in bringing my vision of what Asher Athletic can be into real life.
Hiroshima Orizuru Tower / Hiroshima, Japan, June 2, 2017
Enjoy the process
After sketches are up it's time to make prototypes and choose materials. This is one of my favorite steps because it is both technical and creative. Little else makes me happier than this enthralling combination of ways to go about doing something.
The prototype is an obvious and important early step. Balance must be worked through to arrive at the product's desired effectiveness and visual appeal, with an economical and streamlined method for manufacturing the eventual product. You can see more about this on our Instagram page, @asherathletic.
Designing this first product was challenging. A lot of time, resources, variations and versions were required. But we persevered and powered through. In the end I believe it was either nine or eleven definitive prototypes and sending several of those to the United States for lengths of gymnast testing before arriving at the current version of the Bar Heel Pad. Much was learned from the first product development phase and moving forward I will work smarter and more efficiently. With life in general I am reminded to trust where I'm at and enjoy the process as much as possible.
Prototype #1, what a hoot
Prototype #85 (at least that's how it felt at the time), right foot, minus the mummy wrap
Bar Heel Pad final samples on my apartment tatami mats / Nagoya, Japan, May 3, 2018
Made by hand with Mitsubishi industrial sewing machines, so cool
The best is yet to come
Thank you to my family and friends who offer their advice and expertise, listen to me go on and on about this and that, and encourage me on this endeavor to bring something special and refined to the wonderful sport of gymnastics.
Denver, Colorado, 4/20/2019