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Entrepreneur's Edge: Vibram

Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 03:23

Reuters Small Business presents expansion pitches from upstarts across the country. Vibram Five Fingers has developed a unique running shoe with toes to provide a barefoot sensation. Here's the pitch:

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I'm Tony post I'm the president and CEO of Lieberman USA. Makers. -- game consoles and also -- from five fingers. Five fingers as a new product that we created a few years ago that allows the -- to move and work in a more natural way. Anytime you wear these out of the house it's hard not to get stops in the beginning it was pretty unusual to try to sell this kind of a product community product -- You know five to those people weren't sure -- it was really serious product and and our company as a longstanding. Heritage of performance are companies actually 75 year old company was started in Italy by. A climber and guide. And we've been making souls in the footwear industry for many years. And then about four years ago we had this idea and we tried to get this close to a barefoot sensation as we could. That was really the idea the Genesis behind five fingers it really leverages three million years of evolution. In the case of running when you wear product like five fingers that's very flat load of the ground. It encourages a four foot strike rather than he'll strike. And that four -- strike is actually far less impact full on your body and needs your lower back your ankles it takes a little bit of adjustment. You know -- take some time to get used to running that way. When you do. It actually is a more comfortable way to run. I'm a person actually had knee surgery about five years ago and I wouldn't be able to run if I didn't change the way I was running. So five fingers who has an invention that. Actually enabled me to continue running and stay active -- we have a young active. Target audience certainly we appeal to runners fitness and this is both men and women and there was a movement that kind of was almost a grassroots movement from consumers both runners and fitness enthusiasts they were the ones who embrace that concept and became the ambassadors of the brands. We've never advertised our product we found in the business entirely ourselves we're 75 year old company so we had cash on the balance sheet. We have about. 700 accounts. Across North America and -- probably double our distribution over the next year in terms of actual stores that might be 2500 stores across the country. But we actually have more than forty different patents. On the design worldwide -- patented the product and in a variety of countries and and that we -- futility and design patents around all the different models we have about 25 people in our office. Right now we have 34 people in the fields. We also have another. 26 people in China working on product product development there. So were still a relatively small company and our workforce will probably double its doubled last year and over the next year will probably double or triple that workforce again. Our biggest challenge honestly is that. The rate of growth today -- so much faster than it was. You know even five or ten years ago you know how we maintain. You know a quality product. Are able to service our dealers. And and still be able to manage this kind of very rapid growth our business will grow. Almost five times what it was last year this year.

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Entrepreneur's Edge: Vibram

Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 03:23