The AcroGrip Story
To help create new circus success stories, I’ve also decided that 10% of our annual profits will go to support the London Youth Circus at The National Centre for Circus Arts. I had my start there, and without the support and instruction of those who worked there I would not have the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have, and would not have the career I have now without them.
I want to take a moment today to reflect on the journey I’ve taken over the past 8 months, and to remember some of the hurdles we hurdled, highlight the highlights and to thank those who need to be thanked and to tell the story of how AcroGrip came to be.
Since I’ve been traveling across the US & Canada this whole time, changing city every week, these highlights are tied to the cities we were in, and are sometimes the only reason I can remember details from the otherwise blurred memories of cities we’ve visited.
Train ride to York, UK - February
The birth of the idea. I decided I wanted to make my own brand of liquid chalk. Rather than use the time to plan the business or think anything through, I spent the train ride brainstorming what stupid joke I should put on the bottle with Madeline. #priorities
San Diego, CA - March
Read about Alibaba, thought I could just find a Chinese manufacturer and get it done on the cheap. That’s how that works right? Yeah, except for the little fact that Alibaba seemed to be full of the crappiest knockoffs you’d ever seen, and to find a good supplier is like finding a needle in a haystack. Spent $80 on a sample shipment that never arrived. Gave up on Alibaba. Decided to do it myself.
Portland, OR - April
The first round. It went as well as you’d think a first round would. I spent four hours blending chalk in a too-small-blender, not measuring anything, googling what a Fl Oz was and making a mess in our Air BnB (stained the floor but I don’t think anyone noticed). Madeline came back after my days work, tried the first batch and said “It’s not very good”. And she was right. It was not.
Abbortsford, Canada - April
I bought a bigger, more powerful blender. I did not however, remember to put the lid on the blender. And proceeded to blend chalk all over the room. Covering furniture, carpet and everything else in a fine white powder. The maid eventually believed me that it was not in fact, cocaine. I also made 3 trips to a pharmacy and bought copious amounts of rubbing alcohol. Enough to arouse the suspicions of the cashier, who felt it necessary to involve the manager to make sure I wasn’t making moonshine or crack or something.
I sat down at a desk, and worked my way through 20 pages of manufacturers. I called between 150 and 200 before I found one place who was able to do what I needed. Shoutout to my boi Ed.
Spokane, WA - May
Figured out the missing ingredient and spent three hours traveling around the city to find somewhere that stocked it. Made the best batch I’d ever done. Didn’t understand I had to measure ingredients accurately. Had no idea what went into it. Took me two weeks before I could recreate it. Managed to recreate it with Madeline’s help. She was able to keep some sort of ratio as I yelled ingredients and numbers to her from the kitchen.
Backstage somewhere - May
Sat on my phone, trying to wrap my head around being asked to get a resale certificate to certify I wouldn’t need to pay sales tax, even though the state we’re incorporated in doesn’t have sales tax. I needed three forms to prove I wouldn’t collect sales tax in a state where there isn’t a sales tax. The first of many bureaucratic headaches and challenges.
Tour break in Santa Monica, CA - June
Organized the first sample batch to arrive for the start of our tour break. Sent everything to the wrong address. Saved by USPS who were able to unravel my mistake. Got it to the correct address. Sat in the kitchen pumping 4 gallons of liquid chalk into bottles. Made six trips to Staples because I kept on screwing up the label. Eventually figured it out. You will see a recurring theme in the lack of ‘break’ on my tour breaks.
Sunrise, FL - July
Decided I didn’t know what I was doing RE; Design. And made the decision to hire a designer. Best. Decision. Ever. I really didn’t know what I was doing. He did.
Basically every bus transfer for a 3 month period
Listened to the Hamilton soundtrack religiously because a musical about someone who worked obsessively on something they feverishly, and unwaveringly believed in resonated with me. For some reason. My work is obviously as important as that of the founding fathers. I am the founding father of chalk.
Raleigh, NC - August
Received the final labels and bottles and stuck the first 10 of them upside down. Couldn’t remove them. Managed to do at least 1 right.
Tour Break in St Pete, FL - September
Placed an order for 800 bottles, 6400 gallons of chalk, and 1000 labels. Made a makeshift greenscreen in my apartment. Spent 6 hours trying to take product photos. Tried to create a cool ‘rotating bottle effect’ with a macgyvered lazy-susan and string. Failed. Spent 30 minutes the next day at The Movement Sanctuary trying again. Got it.
Grand forks - September
Took our first order. 1 box to Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal.
Divine Play - Portland, OR - October
My first divine play, arrived with 12 bottles, sold 10 and gave 2 away as gifts. Saw people using it and training with it the day after. Filled with an overwhelming sense of opportunity, gratefulness and the thought that this just might work. I created something from nothing. And not only that, I created something people seem to actually like.
Greenbay, WI - October
Where I wrote this at 1am jacked up on soda, nervously scheduled the post for 12pm Monday October 8th, and proudly launched & introduced AcroGrip to the world.
I’d like to take this moment to thank all those who have so far bought a bottle and are already characters in our story, and to welcome all future characters!