A year ago we launched the Flak Sack, the World’s Greatest (okay, maybe just the world’s only, which by default makes it the World’s Greatest) theft resistant drawstring backpack. The response from the marketplace (I actually hate that word “marketplace”, as it loses sight of that fact that you guys are actually people…) was overwhelmingly positive. We learned that people really like innovative, super-tough, useful stuff. For us, it was like a coming-out. We realized there were other nerds like us, and we could embrace who we are, totally geek-out on innovation, and that there would be other people like us who would appreciate what we came up with. So, with the shackles off, we went to work.
The number one rule in business is to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, which is pretty easy to do in my case. From our previous work, we believe that our future lies in ultra high molecular weight polyethylenes (UHMWPEs). And who is the leader is those… Honeywell. Yup, those same guys that make turbine engines, thermostats, chemicals, and missiles. They also make Spectra, which is known throughout the industry as the highest-quality UHMWPE fiber available. Good enough for Uncle Sam, good enough for us. What are the chances they would have any interest in talking with us? Somewhere between really-close-to-zero and zero I thought, but I was wrong. They actually took an immediate interest and and immediate liking to us. Why, I don’t know. I’m just thankful they did. This is the 800 lb. gorilla we needed in our corner, and we felt like rock stars having Spectra (that’s our nerdy side coming out).
Our friends at Honeywell introduced us to a bunch of textile mad scientists. I’m talking about pocket-protector propellor-headed textile engineers so far over the edge of normal, they probably still live with their mothers. The funny thing is, they appreciated us as much as we appreciated them. They were just waiting for somebody to come along and challenge them with a set of problems and parameters just for the fun of the mental exercise. Well I’m here to tell ya, I’m just the guy they were looking for. “Make it feel like this.” “Make it no heavier than this.” “Shape it like that.” “Remove the stretchiness”. “Make it glow”. “Oh, and by the way, what’s highest cut resistance available in a textile today?” “Oh really, it’s a 5?” “What’s highest level on the scale?” “Oh really, it’s a 9?” “I WANT THAT!”
Done! Yeah, seriously. They did it. So what would we call this freak-of-science textile that would eventually make its way into the Flak Sack? — FLAKnit, of course!
The next step was to convert FLAKnit into a product. You can’t really cut it, so we had to figure out how to manufacture it in the size and shape we needed for the final product. Then we had to figure out how to make a bag cool enough to house all this technology. I’m not exactly the pop-culture icon role model every kid aspires to. In fact, I still think my 1995 Coogi sweater is the da bomb. That’s when we decided to collaborate with local Buckeye football legend and NFL wide receiver Braxton Miller. His sense of fashion and understated style is just the influence we needed to design the final product.
So what do you call a Flak Sack designed and created by a coalition of corporate engineers, textile mad scientists, some jack-of-all-trade nerds, and a happening pro football player? The Flak Sack COALITION, of course.
I hope you enjoyed this little trivia lesson, and will continue to follow us. Our drawing board and mad scientist lab are packed with new ideas, and I can’t wait to share some of our new things with you.
Take care and stay healthy,