Last July we told you about how the Unbelievable Testing Laboratory—a technology-driven footwear company, created an awesomely light, waterproof shoe made out of cutting edge materials, using advanced design processes and ultra lean production methods. They turned to Kickstarter to fund their Light Wing Trainers—the impossibly light Tyvek Paper Shoes. They ended up achieving 947% of its funding goal—raising over $142,000 from just over 2,000 backers and ended up donating $5,032 to their partner Teach for America.
Now, THE UT.LAB seeks to further change the way footwear is brought to market globally by partnering with Crowdtilt, a San Francisco-based crowdfunding platform. THE UT.LAB will launch its new Light Wing series in cooperation with Crowdtilt on November 4th, 2013. THE UT.LAB is based in Shanghai and Las Vegas, home of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project.
“The art of footwear demand forecasting is an age-old practice that we want to spin on its head. Instead of guessing what the market needs, we are going to let our fans tell us what they want,” says co-founder Joseph Constanty.
THE UT.LAB and Crowdtilt will create a ten-day demand channel to take pre-sale orders for the Light Wing series. Shoes will be available in five new colors (red, blue, gray, black, and white). As customers place orders via the Crowdtilt platform, THE UT.LAB will begin producing the shoes in real time and shipping immediately thereafter.
THE UT.LAB has a philosophy of validating all products with customer data before it moves forward with full-scale production. The Crowdtilt crowdsourcing concept allows pre-sales activity to determine demand and create more of a more on-demand production model that reduces material and investment wastage.
Lead designer Token Hu
“Implementing this strategy allows us to take out the guess work and risk in bringing colors, sizes, and styles to market,” said co-founder, Shaun Nath. For the past fifteen months, THE UT.LAB team has been perfecting this process domestically in China, and will now be taking their best practices to delivering on their know-how to customers across the United States.