How We “Liberated” Our Manufacturing Equipment From Our First Supplier

In 2014, Justin Arquilla had the idea for a product that lets the sweaty-footed go sockless, using thin, odor-eliminating liners that adhere to the insides of shoes. He and his brother Christian launched Chicago-based Gekks, a $1.2 million company. They learned the importance of controlling quality thanks to a failed outsourcing arrangement.

CHRISTIAN AND I developed a product that required the application of a tacky silicone to the bottom of a sock liner. No contract manufacturers could handle it. So with $100,000 worth of presales from Kickstarter, we secured an SBA

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