icon-account icon-glass
Cold Drinks, No Ice...How Nice!

2019 IN REVIEW

It's the night of Sunday, April 7th, 2019. It's all been building up to this. Our website rebuild is complete, our marketing plan is set, and our operations are prepared to handle the mass influx of orders and messages. And then, it happens. Kanga airs on Shark Tank, and this little idea that came from a class project has been transformed forever.

Leading up to this point, our business had been defined by spurts of success followed by gut-wrenching dead periods. Just as we'd start to feel hopeless, we'd find another stint of success, and we'd start the roller coaster all over again. At this point, the only full-time employee of Kanga was our founder: a recent college grad who moved back home and used his parent's basement as an office and warehouse. We could keep up, but we couldn't find a way to get ahead.

We had filmed for season 10 of Shark Tank in September of 2018 and had no clue when or if our episode would even air. By March of 2019, we started to feel a bit nervous. The season is coming to an end soon, and we hadn't heard anything. How can we plan around this uncertainty? How can you prepare for something this monumental happening, while only being able to proceed as if it wasn't? Suddenly, around mid-March, we were told it would air, and our lives were forever changed. The frenzy had begun, and we only had a couple of weeks to prepare.

With all our friends, family, and supporters gathered round at the local Clemson Bar we had rented out, with all eyes glued to the screen we watched on in disbelief as our team strolled down that iconic hallway. The moment was so surreal, but about 2 minutes into it, the mystique wore off, and our focus shifted instantly to our website and customer service. What really mattered was the influx of orders and the exposure this would bring to Kanga rather than TV time for ourselves. As we stared at that computer screen, we all understood that there was no turning back. We were either going to make it or break it in 2019, and we were about to work (and play) harder than ever before. The next phase of our journey had begun.

This boom for our business resulted in a few sellouts, a few sleepless nights, and enough cash in the bank for us to believe we truly could make it. But, before we could take on the world, we needed to get out of the basement of our CEO’s parents and bring on the rest of the team full-time. So, It was time to go warehouse shopping, with big plans, and a tight budget we started looking.

Due to our tight budget, we had to prioritize a few things. First and foremost, we needed space. For inventory, growth, stuff like that, but mostly because we had to have a halfpipe in our warehouse. Was this the smartest idea? Of course not, but before you judge us, we were fresh out of college with an extraordinary amount of freedom. What would you expect?

Second, we needed both the warehouse space as well as office space to work out of, we didn't care about much else. After weeks of looking for the “perfect” space, we found it, located in a "not so great" part of town in Anderson, SC. Notice we didn't place "no rust raining from the ceiling" or "functioning HVAC" on the list. Do we regret it? Absolutely. It's hard to keep your eyes open when you've got rust and sweat dripping in them all summer, not to mention it's a little hard to type when your hands are frozen and numb in the winter. But who cares; we have a halfpipe, freedom, and a place that has more than deserved its title as "The Fun Factory."

Just as we got settled into our new home, the next wave of madness hit. Through a crazy series of events, Kanga's next big move was to sponsor a NASCAR for the M&M's 200, a truck series race in Iowa. If we had a dollar for every time someone said "Shake and Bake" leading up to the race, then we probably could've afforded to sponsor a NASCAR instead of a NASTRUCK, but that's neither here nor there.

So, with the track located in Iowa, and us in South Carolina, we figured that most companies in our shoes would probably fly to the race the day before, and then proceed to fly back the next day. That would've been a great idea, except for one small issue: that wouldn't allow us to truly appreciate the experience. Instead, we rented a minivan and made a trip out of it. We hit Nashville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and our favorite, Des Moines. Much like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens on a Kanga road trip stays in the minivan. It was one hell of a time, to say the least.

Despite the fun we had on the trip, we came back to a frenzy of work that had been left on pause while we were gone. As soon as we could get our heads above water again, it was time for some pure insanity. We had to attend a trade show in Atlanta, throw out the first pitch at an MLB game in Greenville (the M standing for minor), and launch an entirely new product that would arrive 2.5 hours away in the middle of the week. Not to mention, redesign the website for our first Shark Tank re-airing, all in the same week. Sleep? Who's that?

We didn't thrive, but nonetheless, we survived the week and were on to the next challenge. But first, we remembered that all work and no play makes Kanga a dull company. So, it was time for some more reckless fun before our next stent of workaholism.

So we got a blob. Which, in true Kanga fashion, arrived just in time for the event we had planned. And as we found out first-hand, you don't need rockets to send someone to space, only a small person, a blob, and 5 full-grown men. And if an attorney asks, nobody was injured, everyone signed waivers, and this *was not* a company-sponsored event.

With a full plate of work to look forward to, we were extremely proactive in planning our next event; in fact, we decided to turn these outings into a weekly tradition we now call "Fun Fridays." So, with a $0 budget (we got a blob, remember?), we decided to find some mud, a couple motorized vehicles, and get after it. Now, with one dirtbike to repair, a truck in demand of some TLC, and Jeep needing a new tire, we figured it might be a good time to get back to work. Because after all, this "business" stuff isn't all fun and games.

So, we put our heads down and went back to work (for what felt like years). And then, like leprechaun finding its pot of gold, we found our next fun event. A few months before this, we sponsored "Red Dog," aka "the John Daly of surfing." And after working with Red and his friends for a couple of months, we (almost) had ourselves a movie. The team then traveled to Charleston to watch it premiere at the Carolina Surf Film Festival. And once again, in true Kanga fashion, we finished it just in time for the airing.

With all this going on in the background, you're probably asking yourself? How do these guys get anything done? Well, I'll tell ya! While half the team worked on the movie, the other half was busy working to close a licensing deal with Clemson University. Which, if you've perused the site recently, you would see that we closed the deal. Doing so just in time for Black Friday Cy(beer) Monday! A smashing success, we came out of BF/CM like a crew of soldiers returning from battle. Well, kinda, we don't wanna offend anyone, so let's just say it sucked...it really sucked!

Wanting to end 2019 in good spirits, we had one last "Fun Friday" to capitalize on. So, what better way to end the year than to head to the Cornhole National Championship's to support another one of Kanga's sponsors, Branson Oliver, or as we like him, the Larry Bird Of Cornhole.

It's safe to say that a whole lot happened in a small amount of time. The beginning of this year feels like a lifetime ago, and it's hard to think back to the remotely operating, part-time, and homeless Kanga that preceded 2019, but it's impossible to forget it. We are truly living the American Dream. We have been blessed beyond measure, and we all agree there couldn't have been a better team for such a crazy ride.

While we're unbelievably grateful for such an amazing year, our eyes are now focused on what lies ahead. We are excited to take our next steps forward as a business and continue to chase this dream. We don't know if we'll ever fully reach it, or if a final destination even exists. All we know is that as we press on into the unknown, our journey will be full of blood, sweat, and beers!

2019 IN REVIEW

It's the night of Sunday, April 7th, 2019. It's all been building up to this. Our website rebuild is complete, our marketing plan is set, and our operations are prepared to handle the mass influx of orders and messages. And then, it happens. Kanga airs on Shark Tank, and this little idea that came from a class project has been transformed forever.

Leading up to this point, our business had been defined by spurts of success followed by gut-wrenching dead periods. Just as we'd start to feel hopeless, we'd find another stint of success, and we'd start the roller coaster all over again. At this point, the only full-time employee of Kanga was our founder: a recent college grad who moved back home and used his parent's basement as an office and warehouse. We could keep up, but we couldn't find a way to get ahead.

We had filmed for season 10 of Shark Tank in September of 2018 and had no clue when or if our episode would even air. By March of 2019, we started to feel a bit nervous. The season is coming to an end soon, and we hadn't heard anything. How can we plan around this uncertainty? How can you prepare for something this monumental happening, while only being able to proceed as if it wasn't? Suddenly, around mid-March, we were told it would air, and our lives were forever changed. The frenzy had begun, and we only had a couple of weeks to prepare.

With all our friends, family, and supporters gathered round at the local Clemson Bar we had rented out, with all eyes glued to the screen we watched on in disbelief as our team strolled down that iconic hallway. The moment was so surreal, but about 2 minutes into it, the mystique wore off, and our focus shifted instantly to our website and customer service. What really mattered was the influx of orders and the exposure this would bring to Kanga rather than TV time for ourselves. As we stared at that computer screen, we all understood that there was no turning back. We were either going to make it or break it in 2019, and we were about to work (and play) harder than ever before. The next phase of our journey had begun.

This boom for our business resulted in a few sellouts, a few sleepless nights, and enough cash in the bank for us to believe we truly could make it. But, before we could take on the world, we needed to get out of the basement of our CEO’s parents and bring on the rest of the team full-time. So, It was time to go warehouse shopping, with big plans, and a tight budget we started looking.

Due to our tight budget, we had to prioritize a few things. First and foremost, we needed space. For inventory, growth, stuff like that, but mostly because we had to have a halfpipe in our warehouse. Was this the smartest idea? Of course not, but before you judge us, we were fresh out of college with an extraordinary amount of freedom. What would you expect?

Second, we needed both the warehouse space as well as office space to work out of, we didn't care about much else. After weeks of looking for the “perfect” space, we found it, located in a "not so great" part of town in Anderson, SC. Notice we didn't place "no rust raining from the ceiling" or "functioning HVAC" on the list. Do we regret it? Absolutely. It's hard to keep your eyes open when you've got rust and sweat dripping in them all summer, not to mention it's a little hard to type when your hands are frozen and numb in the winter. But who cares; we have a halfpipe, freedom, and a place that has more than deserved its title as "The Fun Factory."

Just as we got settled into our new home, the next wave of madness hit. Through a crazy series of events, Kanga's next big move was to sponsor a NASCAR for the M&M's 200, a truck series race in Iowa. If we had a dollar for every time someone said "Shake and Bake" leading up to the race, then we probably could've afforded to sponsor a NASCAR instead of a NASTRUCK, but that's neither here nor there.

So, with the track located in Iowa, and us in South Carolina, we figured that most companies in our shoes would probably fly to the race the day before, and then proceed to fly back the next day. That would've been a great idea, except for one small issue: that wouldn't allow us to truly appreciate the experience. Instead, we rented a minivan and made a trip out of it. We hit Nashville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and our favorite, Des Moines. Much like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens on a Kanga road trip stays in the minivan. It was one hell of a time, to say the least.

Despite the fun we had on the trip, we came back to a frenzy of work that had been left on pause while we were gone. As soon as we could get our heads above water again, it was time for some pure insanity. We had to attend a trade show in Atlanta, throw out the first pitch at an MLB game in Greenville (the M standing for minor), and launch an entirely new product that would arrive 2.5 hours away in the middle of the week. Not to mention, redesign the website for our first Shark Tank re-airing, all in the same week. Sleep? Who's that?

We didn't thrive, but nonetheless, we survived the week and were on to the next challenge. But first, we remembered that all work and no play makes Kanga a dull company. So, it was time for some more reckless fun before our next stent of workaholism.

So we got a blob. Which, in true Kanga fashion, arrived just in time for the event we had planned. And as we found out first-hand, you don't need rockets to send someone to space, only a small person, a blob, and 5 full-grown men. And if an attorney asks, nobody was injured, everyone signed waivers, and this *was not* a company-sponsored event.

With a full plate of work to look forward to, we were extremely proactive in planning our next event; in fact, we decided to turn these outings into a weekly tradition we now call "Fun Fridays." So, with a $0 budget (we got a blob, remember?), we decided to find some mud, a couple motorized vehicles, and get after it. Now, with one dirtbike to repair, a truck in demand of some TLC, and Jeep needing a new tire, we figured it might be a good time to get back to work. Because after all, this "business" stuff isn't all fun and games.

So, we put our heads down and went back to work (for what felt like years). And then, like leprechaun finding its pot of gold, we found our next fun event. A few months before this, we sponsored "Red Dog," aka "the John Daly of surfing." And after working with Red and his friends for a couple of months, we (almost) had ourselves a movie. The team then traveled to Charleston to watch it premiere at the Carolina Surf Film Festival. And once again, in true Kanga fashion, we finished it just in time for the airing.

With all this going on in the background, you're probably asking yourself? How do these guys get anything done? Well, I'll tell ya! While half the team worked on the movie, the other half was busy working to close a licensing deal with Clemson University. Which, if you've perused the site recently, you would see that we closed the deal. Doing so just in time for Black Friday Cy(beer) Monday! A smashing success, we came out of BF/CM like a crew of soldiers returning from battle. Well, kinda, we don't wanna offend anyone, so let's just say it sucked...it really sucked!

Wanting to end 2019 in good spirits, we had one last "Fun Friday" to capitalize on. So, what better way to end the year than to head to the Cornhole National Championship's to support another one of Kanga's sponsors, Branson Oliver, or as we like him, the Larry Bird Of Cornhole.

It's safe to say that a whole lot happened in a small amount of time. The beginning of this year feels like a lifetime ago, and it's hard to think back to the remotely operating, part-time, and homeless Kanga that preceded 2019, but it's impossible to forget it. We are truly living the American Dream. We have been blessed beyond measure, and we all agree there couldn't have been a better team for such a crazy ride.

While we're unbelievably grateful for such an amazing year, our eyes are now focused on what lies ahead. We are excited to take our next steps forward as a business and continue to chase this dream. We don't know if we'll ever fully reach it, or if a final destination even exists. All we know is that as we press on into the unknown, our journey will be full of blood, sweat, and beers!