Press Release: Boston footwear start-up Forsake is debuting its line of all-weather sneakers on crowd-funding site Kickstarter.com in a forty-day campaign to raise over $200,000 for mass production. The company – founded in 2010 at Union College in Schenectady, NY – is foregoing traditional distribution channels in favor of an online pre-order campaign that makes its products available to the public at wholesale prices. Co-founders Jake Anderson and Sam Barstow are using the strategy to overcome a common challenge facing manufacturing start-ups: reaching their supplier’s minimum order quantities.
Forsake’s debut footwear line combines technical fabrics and features with modern sneaker styles. The founders, both outdoor enthusiasts and avid skiers, credit their time working at resorts in Montana and Utah as inspiration for building high-performance products that can be used in a variety of settings. “We wanted to bridge the gap between your favorite pair a sneakers and more heavy-duty boots or hiking shoes,” says Barstow. The idea eventually became the topic of each founders’ senior thesis and a full-time pursuit after graduation.
To develop their products, the company partnered with a manufacturing company based in Taiwan whose client list includes top U.S. athletic and outdoor brands such as Nike, Timberland, and The North Face. Anderson and Barstow travelled to Asia in January to tour the facility and confirm final prototypes. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, the brand will begin mass production in June with orders delivered to customers in September.
The Kickstarter campaign encourages the public to pledge money in exchange for rewards. A pair of Forsake shoes, which carry an MSRP between $120 and $140, is available for a pledge of $75. Backers of the project can choose their preferred model, color, and size. Rewards for other pledge levels range from simple (t-shirts and stickers) to quirky (crayon shoe drawing with a refrigerator magnet to hang it up) to elaborate (attend a Red Sox game with the co-founders). The campaign began Wednesday, April 4th, at 4pm EST and can be found by searching “Forsake” at www.kickstarter.com or by visiting the brand’s website at www.forsake.co.