In the summer of 2016, while on a family vacation my husband and I were replacing the lines on our sailboat with new double-braided polyester lines manufactured to withstand the extremes of ocean yacht racing.  While we were working on the boat our three boys were playing lacrosse down by the water.  Each of our kids started playing lacrosse in kindergarten and they always bring their sticks on vacation.  We were yelling to them to get the sticks away from the water because we had just had their heads restrung at a cost of between $40-70 per stick.  We didn’t want them to ruin their new heads by getting them wet before they even played in a game with them!  Meanwhile, we were holding in our hands a durable, waterproof material that’s about the diameter of the rails in a traditional lacrosse pocket.  That was our Eureka moment – why couldn’t you replace the leathers in a traditional pocket with sailing lines?!

HyWinds Technologies was born from that idea.  The HyWinds pocket is the first truly waterproof lacrosse pocket, the only lacrosse pocket on the market that maintains its performance in all weather conditions.  We researched, tested and selected rope that has the right abrasion and elongation (“stretch”) properties and flex for the lacrosse pocket “feel” and “hold” to keep the ball in the pocket.  HyWinds lacrosse pocket will not "bag" or get deeper and allows the player to focus on managing their play rather than managing their pocket.

My successes. 

In the winter of 2017 HyWinds on-line store was up and running.  Vincent’s Sporting Goods in Simsbury, CT began selling HyWinds lacrosse equipment in the spring 2017.  Additionally that spring, the HyWinds Sports sales booth began travelling to lacrosse tournaments and generating sales. The HyWinds’ trademarked logo is gaining traction in the lacrosse world as well as boating world.  At the Vineyard Vines lacrosse tournament in Newport, RI a gentleman purchased two HyWinds’ gear bags for his son and nephew.  A few days later he called and made a bulk purchase of the bags to provide to his Hinckley Yacht clients for the upcoming Nantucket Rendezvous.  His clients loved them and another bulk order of the bags was placed a month later! 

How SCORE helped. 

Starting up a business can be somewhat isolating and unnerving and my mentors have been there for me providing sound advice and encouragement along the way.

In January 2017 I reached out to the Small Business Association to inquire about SBA guidance for small business development and growth.  In my career I have always worked with and for multi-billion dollar public companies in accounting and finance roles.  I am a CPA, with experience in the energy and insurance industries.  Small business was new territory for me.  The SBA recommended I reach out to SCORE to find a mentor to help me through the start-up process.

Score assigned Charlie Peake in Simsbury as my mentor.  Over this year Charlie has brainstormed with me on cost-effective solutions for stringing the lacrosse heads, market development ideas and connected me with several people in the lacrosse world from players to coaches.  Charlie also connected me with Andrea Tannenbaum of SCORE who has been a great resource related to website review and development as well as social media norms for business.  Andrea reviewed my website, provided useful and actionable feedback and helped me streamline my social media postings.

What's great about my mentor? 

My mentors have truly been cheerleaders and confidants over this past year.  They have taken the time to understand my products and the market I am targeting.  They have been a continual sounding board for manufacturing, sales, marketing and technical issues.  Charlie in particular has reached out to me by phone, text and e-mail between our scheduled mentoring sessions.  He has connected me many people in his vast network who have helped me progress in my business development and market expansion.  His involvement has helped me work through challenges and motivated and inspired me.