“It is not only one person’s work, it’s really a partnership and collaboration during all these years.” – Christo (Artist)
It’s funny how the most popular image in my portfolio, ‘Crank’ shares the same word in the company name that produced the product of the year for my business, as 2014 was coming to a close. It’s one of those things that “were meant to be”, I guess. That company called, ‘Crankshooter’ was behind the production of the product called the ‘Hi-Impact Shot Trainer’.
The introduction started when the company’s founder wanted to use a couple of images for his lacrosse team’s website. That was back in 2009/2010, I think? The Art of Lax™ was just in its starting mode to see if this is something real, or not. I gladly accepted to let him explore a licensing for his website, in which he paid a fee for the usage. I thought that it was a great way to expose my art to his network, or expose my art to anything. Little did I know that the company’s founder (a real-estate developer by trade) was an entrepreneur himself and had other ideas in the making, or already set in place – Crankshooter.
Fast-forward to last year, I remember wanting to do more than reproduction prints, apparel and other accessories. I wanted to push the art more – to be innovative, somehow. But how? I was sitting in an airport gate on the phone with a business client, while I had an issue of Lacrosse Magazine on my lap. With the phone up to my ear, and my fingers drifting through pages, so did my mind. I glanced through the back of Lacrosse Magazine where the product and business ads are located and saw numerous lacrosse goals, or “cages” as they are called. I looked at shooting and target aids and all had company logos on them. I remembered that good, old “Hector the Rejector” still existed, but realistically didn’t look like a goalie. And the idea was born. Would it be possible to print from The Art of Lax™ portfolio our best goalie image called ‘The Stare Down’, on a shooting/target aid?
The idea came to me in just seconds but it felt like a good while, because I was originally on a phone call with a client discussing something entirely opposite, than what just came to mind. I got off the call, boarded the plane and in my head, drafted an email to Dale Tweedy, the founder to Crankshooter. The pitch was made when I sent the email after being picked up at the airport. Upon my return home we got on a few calls and came to agreement after smoothening out the details and going over concepts. That was April.
I was excited for this to happen! What I wasn’t prepared for was how long it would take in production from an overseas location.
I was getting impatient but in a good way, because it would be the biggest product my art would be reproduced on for the individual customer’s purchase. Now, one could get used to a goalie in the cage. And if not in use, it would serve as great piece of “lawn decor”. By late-Fall and early Dec. the finished product finally arrived into our North Carolina warehouse ready for distribution. We decided to release it after New Year’s and ready for the start of the lacrosse season.
We physically released it to the crowd at the 2015 US Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore, where it attracted a lot of attention and inquiries. We’re happy to say that sales have come in! As for me, I still need to get mine on a cage but there’s just too much snow on the ground where I’m located. Eventually the time will come soon and when it does, we’ll have a different blog post about that! :o)
Looking back, I’m happy that the initial working relationship with Dale wasn’t a “one-hit-wonder”. I’m very thankful for a partnership between The Art of Lax™ and Crankshooter, and the product we’ve collaborated on. Good things always take time, as they say.
To learn more about our product and to purchase, click here.
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