Tenikle was created by 26 yr old Hans Dose and his soon to be wife, 24 yr old Lydia Firchow out of a tiny garage in Huntington Beach, CA. Below is their story as told by Hans.
So a few years ago, I had this idea after coming back from surfing and seeing a starfish holding a mussel on the pier piling that sea creatures have a better way of holding things than we do. So I went into my garage and started drawing some concepts for a car mount that could do more. I've never made a working prototype like this before so I thought it would be a fun project. That fun project turned into an obsession.
We learned 3D design, we wrote our own patent, learned some metallurgy techniques, 3D printed molds and made hundreds of prototypes in the garage, and having a background in graphic design — we designed the branding logo and website. Once we had something we knew we could sell we started scouring the internet for USA manufacturers who made plastic parts similar to ours.
In 2017, we enlisted the help of one of our best friends, Erik (@cloud.roamer), to shoot a video for a Kickstarter campaign. We launched the Kickstarter in August which during the campaign, Lydia and I took a trip to Hawaii where I proposed to her (it was awesome). Our Kickstarter went on to do over $100k in funding and at that point, we knew we had created something that people wanted and that we could nurture into a business.
In January we quit our day jobs (which was hard to do because we loved our jobs) and moved down to San Diego to be closer to our manufacturer and work on Tenikle full time.
We've since hired our closest friends to handle various parts of the business, including all the hard financial stuff by Mikey, the best ads management on earth by Shannon, very thoughtful social media by Carina, retail sales is starting with our buddy Will, and we finally hired an awesome customer service guy named Joe.
Although the experience has been rewarding, we have definitely hit our fair share of struggles (some much gnarlier than others). So many wins followed by so many "Oh Craps", but we've done it all together doing what we needed to make ends meet.
In the end, we persevered and created an even better product with Tenikle 2. We care about making awesome products and continuing to come up with new ideas. We're learning so much about business and how to make our products better.
We love the stories we receive about how Tenikle helped them take a portrait for their resume or a family photo or even a sailor in the Navy sticking it to the bunk to watch his shows helping him feel at home when he was at sea.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us and helped us get this far.