Published on January 3, 2018

What a year it has been! We’ve successfully built a new business anchored by OTTOLOCK from the ground up. So many highlights and challenges, coupled with laughter and tears. Any of you who have taken the start-up leap can appreciate this journey.

Thanks to our many customers and collaborators, we’ve delivered over 25,000 locks in under one year of business. We’ve built a great following, received amazing press, and made our product even better in a short period of time. I could not be more grateful for the teamwork.

That’s not to say we haven’t got nicked up in the process. Getting our supply chain and production assembly up to capacity has been the dominant theme of the year. This led us to many months of order allocation and answering daily “where’s my lock?” emails. One remarkable fact is that every single part in the OTTOLOCK has been changed to ensure quality and make our production system work. We are appreciative of our Kickstarter backers and early adopters who have hung in there with us.

My top lesson learned is never underestimate a great product and what it takes to make it in mass volume. It is tough to define a great product, but I define it as one that solves an unmet need, is positioned right, and reaches the mainstream. Our Kickstarter campaign, customer events, and early premier dealer sales have proven this and we are now making much bigger investments to fill this broad market demand.

The OTTO Brand is being built to create and deliver purposeful products for outdoor markets. To achieve this, we are building a company founded on four operating values:

  1. Think like a customer.
  2. Always innovate.
  3. Collaborate as a team.
  4. Keep your promises.  
We’ve got room for improvement, but these values are how we’ll make it happen.

I am so proud of the team we’ve assembled - inside and outside - from our production crew, to our suppliers, to our PR & marketing partners, to our management leaders, and most importantly to our customers and users. It’s really these people that bring me to work every day, not locks. It’s cliche, but true. I love every single person who posts #ottolock showing our product in use!  

Here’s to 2018 and unlocking even more potential with OTTOLOCK, the next great outdoor brand. We’ve got some great marketing and new product plans to share in the coming year. Thank you for your support.

-  Jake VanderZanden
 

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