Behind every badass design is an even more badass story. Today we’d like you to meet Brian and Matt, founders of Monster Mouthguards. They reinvented a critical piece of sports equipment for kickboxers, body slammers, quarterback tacklers, jabbers, chokers, clinchers and high stickers everywhere.
By making a personal connection with their customers, big and small, they announced their presence with authority in a very niche market. Read on to see how they built their business from the turf up.
If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly
Brian Sanger and Matt Arrington are regular dudes who recognized a need for better mouth protection in full-contact sports. They didn’t want to lose their teeth and figured other sports enthusiasts didn’t either. Sure, there were other mouthguards in the marketplace, but they were weak. Some didn’t fit right, some offered zero absorption of force, and some were uncomfortable to wear. And they were ALL boring. All this was validated after talking to friends, teammates, extreme sports enthusiasts and kids. The two even spoke to professional athletes to better understand their needs, and how the right equipment could help them tap into their beast mode.
They learned the kids wanted something fun and cool, and combat sports athletes wanted something that didn’t rattle their jaws. And Moms? They wanted to protect all that expensive orthodonture. But everyone wanted something representative of the inner monster it takes to crush the competition, so they named their company Monster Mouthguards.
Kicking ass and taking names
Matt and Brian went into designing their product with one mission in mind. They were going to make guards better, stronger and more killer than they had ever been made before. Customers were inundated with “sub-par products, false information and lack of options,” said Matt. So the guys started with the most scientifically shock absorbent material available. They developed prototype after prototype making sure they secured the jaw, and that they were the uber comfortable. “We also stress tested the crap out of our products to make sure they were the safest guards in the market,” says Matt. They tested them using different methods, and different materials for different sports. And what they landed on was a mouthguard made with state-of-the-art polyshok technology. It was 140% more absorbent than the competition and offered some fun designs that actually made each user’s mouth look monstrous.
They now had a product that kicked ass. Next step was to re-brand with a logo that had an attitude that matched and communicated that same never-say-die passion of full-contact sports enthusiasts.
Enter the logo. And the devil, who came complete with horns and fangs and beady eyes. Not someone you’d want to meet in a dark alley, but definitely someone you’d want on your side during an UFC deathmatch fight to the finish. It was perfect and spoke more about the attitude of the company than any sales literature or social media ad ever could.
Today, Monster Mouthguards are tackling the market like William, “the Refrigerator” Perry tackled anyone who got in his way. Kids love them because they’re fun and they make them feel tough. Athletes love them because they fit and stabilize their heads and jaws.
Starting a small business can be a real cage match
When it came to their business the best thing the guys did was something that came very naturally – they lived their product and tested every design personally. “Fight for your business. Don’t give up. Be tenacious and grind it out even when you want to quit.” That’s some rock solid advice for anyone looking to KO the competition. And with a monster drive like that, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when Brian and Matt enjoy world domination in the mouthguard business.
New Year’s business advice from two modern-day gladiators
- Go big with your marketing, especially if you are in a sports or fitness industry – there are a lot of new and motivated consumers out there in January.
- Take advantage of any unused tax breaks for small business – every penny counts when you’re running your own game.
- Set your goals, and stick them out. No one got successful being a flake.
- Always wear a Monster Mouthguard because you never know when you’re going to take a shot to the fizz-ace.