(Friday) 11.11.11

Surf Labor – Shortomatic

I love talking to good people who have good things happen to them. I sat with William Cawley, one of the founders of Shortomatic.com a couple weeks ago and am so stoked to share his story.

Here’s the two-sentence background on William. He was born/raised in London where he grew up to own a design agency. He got sick of agency politics, sold his share, was a Consultant for several years, came to USA on sabbatical with his Chicagoan wife, met a friend who complained that Yoga mats where only available in lame colors. That brings you up to 2008 and the cool part of the story.

William’s friend Maryl Georgi (now business partner) was bummed out that Yoga mats were uber lame. “Blue or purple that’s the entire selection” she told William. Insert light bulb that turns on here. William saw an opportunity to offer something more. He wanted Yogis to be able to design their own yoga mats – basically offering a custom printing service. So he travelled far and wide researching all the different types of printing processes, materials involved, plus a bunch of technical user interface stuff that makes it simple for you to upload a picture from your computer. But he did it! He was able to make high quality custom Yoga mats.

Now here’s where the story takes a turn for the awesome!

January 30, 2011 William gets a call from Jennifer Aniston who asks if he can make a custom yoga mat in 2 days because she wants to give it to Oprah for her b-day. William is like sure – send me the image. William explains “No big deal. I want celebrities to have the product so of course I rushed it. I was excited that Jennifer knew about us.”

February 3, 2011. William’s site crashes, phones are blowing up, and he has no freaking clue why the world is ending. Um, that little mat he made for Jennifer. Yeah, she was a guest on Oprah and gave the thing to her on TV! Truth be told, I am not a big Oprah fan but apparently she is like god to much of the US! So when Oprah got a yoga mat with a picture of her puppies printed on it she loses it. The site gets a plug on national TV and William’s website is getting 10,000 requests per second. Servers are melting, smoke if coming out of those little vents on the side, and that little green light that blinks on a server is flashing red. GAME CHANGER! His business was scratching along and after that 2 minutes of TV it has never slowed. Here’s the most important 2 minutes of yogamatic’s life:

Great story – what’s it got to do with surf?

Now with a viable business model for offering other Custom Active Wear and Equipment – they set out to build Shortomatic.com. The first cut and sew, 100% bespoke board short company on the planet! Launched early 2010. Users could finally upload their artwork, photos and messages into a premium “One-Off” pair of boardies.

The uptake was huge, particularly after the amazing Press reaction – one such article was the LA Times – which immediately led to a small Action Sports company called VANS reaching out to William and suggesting collaborating on a line of Vans custom shorts.

The Oprah ticket fuelled the Anymatic Team with funding to research and develop an alternative program to Shortomatic’s own – The collaboration strategy was to manufacture a 100% custom , technical, 4-way stretch short using editable patterns, prints and archived artwork from the Vans vaults. Everyone was stoked because the collaboration means his users have another option to create something nobody else can. Seriously – nobody! A math guy would be able to tell you the total number of combinations but let me tell you it’s like a million. Add to that every season they update colors and patterns so the chances of anyone else wearing your shorts are like a billion to one.

So where can you see people sporting these sexy shorts? Oh, how about all the contestants of the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational. Or how about the Vans team riders at The Vans Triple Crown. So names like Dane Reynolds, Nathan Fletcher, Joel Tudor, The Gaudaskas brothers, you know the popular surfers. Who knows, we may even have to get some Solspot boardshorts just so we can hang with the cool kids.

So next time you are looking for a pair of boardshorts and can’t find what you want – why not make them yourself. Check it www.shortomatic.com

Quick Facts/Information

Web URL: www.shortomatic.com
Hometown: London
Fun Fact: Bikinis are next. Watch this space!

  • RB

    Free boardshorts for 1st 4 posters: I’m in there

  • Kell

    Free Boardshorts??? Really??
    So old dudes can custom make retro looking boardshorts? I’m in.

  • http://www.morewaves.com More Waves

    Insane! So sick of the standard prints, especially with a giant company logo… I wanna surf with my cat.

  • JM

    They might have something there. Custom is the way to go. Can’t stoke this surfer more than by handing him a pair of FREE Shortomatic customs.

  • Phil

    Did someone say FREE trunks for the first 4 comments? I forgot my calculator, but I think 3 + me = four? I love this site!

    • BCS

      I read (and wrote) the article. No free shorties on this one…Stay tuned for a cool xmas promo.

      With love.

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