2017 - ZEALIOS YEAR REVIEW

Posted by Austin Britts on

It's December already?

That went quick. 2017 was good to us and we owe it all to you guys! Your continued support allows us to keep the lights on and fuels us to push the growth of our company even harder! 

I'm going to take a leaf out of Jesse Thomas' playbook and attempt to give you guys glimpse at our year. 

 

Growth! 

Zealios' top-line revenue grew 104% in 2017. We've bootstrapped this thing from the beginning and let me tell you how good it feels to experience good, consistent growth. Of course, rapid growth comes with its own set of headaches, but I'll take those problems any day over the opposite scenario. I'd attribute our growth to a few factors:

Stacey - Stacey joined our team as the Director of Sales in November of 2016. She has brought her high-energy, competitive A-game to the office EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We feel incredibly lucky to have her aboard and can't wait to see what she accomplishes in 2018. She has also been entertaining us with her native mid-west lingo. Did you know people in Wisconsin call tortillas "burrito wrappers"??? (I'm still calling bs on this).

The Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) -  We wrapped up our time in the 4th cohort of the BOW's outdoor products accelerator program. It was an incredible experienced. We learned so much from the mentors and our other cohort companies. Their feedback, guidance, and reassurance kept us on track all year. We came to think of it as "business therapy". It was a safe place to test ideas, troubleshoot problems, and gripe. 

They also helped us introduce a management and planning structure that has added some guardrails to our decision making. 

I think I speak for both of us when I say that starting this company is the most difficult thing we've ever done. It can be a scary, lonely pursuit. But whenever we see our products on the shelf, or receive an email from a happy customer it truly makes the struggle worth while.

We feel more poised than ever to have a breakout year in 2018. 

Kevin's a certified road warrior - 

Kev put together an aggressive event schedule for 2017. I think our eyebrows all went up when we saw it for the first time. But, true to form, he pulled it off in style. Kevin and his loyal Honda Element E-Camper "Rocky" chased events all over the country.  IM Boulder, St. George, Wisconsin, Santa Cruz, Arizona, and Kona (no Rocky) were all attended.

 

Ginger Awareness Month - If nothing else happened this year, we'd consider it a success solely because of this video:

Free Range Gingers Long from Zealios on Vimeo.

 

 

We are LIVE with Quality Bicycle Products (QBP)!

Woohoo! We've been trying to get our foot in the door with QBP for some time, and thanks to some hard charging by Stacey, Kevin, and the QBP team it's finally a reality. QBP is the recognized industry leader when it comes to distribution in the bike industry. We are excited to have such a fantastic partner to help us continue to grow out distribution in specialty retail.

 

Lavaman, check.

Much to Stacey's (who is an actual triathlete) amusement, Kevin and I finished our first real triathlon. In April Kevin and I toe'd the line at Lavaman to honor a fallen friend and teammate. Kevin took top Zealios honors by a few minutes * and I didn't die....so we considered it a success. My race was full of rookie blunders but I have to admit it was a blast. I know I'm far from the first person to express these sentiments, but there is something about being in the pain cave that makes you ponder what's important in life. About two miles into the run I did a experience a profound sense of gratitude for my friends, family, and health. This feeling faded quickly as my legs began to fatigue and I started to think about the tasty beers at the finish line. 

A moment of honor and gratitude. Thanks, Siggy.
The crew raising one for Sig.
KONA -  we attended the Ironman World Championships in Kona for the first time in October. When people ask me to describe the experience the word I keep circling back to is "emotional". A spot to race in Kona is often a lifetime bucket list item. People have trained YEARS for the chance to hear the cannon go off and to ultimately hear the phrase "you are an Ironman!" directed at them. So, it's emotionally charged to start. At the same time, it's a time of celebration. People who have finally made it to Kona are able to revel in the experience and soak in the emotional reward for all their hard work. There is electricity in the air. 
The expo was great and we were able to introduce a ton of people to the brand. The first Zealios Scavenger gram was a hit. We even managed to make friends with the local fuzz. 
Walking the beat in Kona. Tough work fellas...but someone's gotta do it.
The Ginja Ninja and the OG Free Range Ginger
About the race.....the heat. Oh man, it is a different kind of heat. It comes at you from every direction and before you even hit the bottom steps of the hotel your back is a full-blown sweat river. Just spectating was tough. 
Over the years we've become close friends with a lot of our pro-athlete ambassadors. You can't help but cheer for them from the bottom of your heart whenever they pass you on course. I'll never forget watching Sarah Piampiano fight through devastating muscle cramps...desperately willing her legs to continue. I'll never forget Heather Jackson's smile as she ran by....seemingly winking at us saying "I've got this". We worried when we saw Jesse Thomas begin to struggle in the energy lab, but were inspired that he fought through it and found his stride again while coming down Ali'i towards the finish. Both Haley Chura and Linsey Corbin always managed a smile even though you could tell they were hurting. 
The most emotional moment for me was when ZIP Mike Ergo crossed the finish line. When he made arrangements for us to hand off the Marine Flag so he could carry it down Ali'i he said "you'll hear me coming". Sure enough, as we saw him approaching on our tracking app, we could heard him singing Marine field hollers through the darkness as he approached. As Kevin handed him the flag and he passed us by I felt tears rolling down my cheek.
On the advice of many people, we went down to the finish line around midnight to help cheer on the last finishers. It's hard to put what you see there into words. It's heavy. Like I said, it was emotional. 
That brings us to now! Well...we are preparing for 2018. We have some big things on the horizon and we can't wait to announce them soon! 
To wrap up, THANK YOU! We are humbled by your continued support and can't wait to see what adventures 2018 has in store.
See you out there!!!!
Austin, Kevin, Stacey, and the rest of Team Zealios

 

*no official bike time was ever posted for Kevin. Some speculate he took a short cut through the lava fields but who are we to circulate conspiracy theories??

 

 

 

← Older Post