More Olympians wearing Kentucky product in PyeongChang
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A few years ago, WAVE 3 News first told you about a family owned and operated Louisville business when it took off during the Winter Games in Sochi.
Now, Ski Skootys are back in the Olympic spotlight with more business and more athletes wearing their Kentucky made product in PyeongChang.
The company's promise? Their lightweight boot protector takes painful ski boots to a comfortable glide.
Going back to the Olympics, the Louisville inventors knew getting star skiers to sport their skoots in South Korea was the key to soaring sales. Ski Skootys have Olympic cred on the slopes.
"Stacey Cook, Laurenne Ross, Alice Mckennis," Ski Skooty's Vice President Sally Lawler said, naming off some of the skiers wearing the product.
Check out Team USA on social media and there's a good chance they're sporting Ski Skootys.
"Once we give them out you just kind of scan Instagram," son and business partner Reid Lawler said.
Team Sweden, Team Italy and Team France are also wearing the Kentucky product. Sally Lawler, a former marketing rep knows, when an Olympian wears them, it's pure gold.
She started passing them out in the fall like swag bags for Hollywood stars.
"First one (box) goes to Copper Mountain, Colorado where they're practicing, so we can get it to the US skiers," she explained.
She said after other skiers see them, "then they go to another country, then they go to another country and it spreads like the flu."
Riding high from the slopes of Sochi, the company is growing fast, with sales up 40% in the last two years as Lawler's Louisville family keeps exporting to more countries.
Now, they've added Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgaria and South Korea.
"This is hard to measure, since it's sitting there in Korea, I just don't know," Sally said pointing to a Winter Sports Magazine that has a Ski Skootys ad in Korean and English.
Putting it in PyeongChang hotel rooms was a no brainer.
The Olympic success is sweet, especially considering the lovable Louisville family hasn't changed a bit. When we found the three sitting at the kitchen table in their Highlands home, they joked with each other about their roles in the company.
Reid said, "I thought you were the CEO and he was the President?" Sally replied, "Doesn't matter." Dad Rob Lawler added, "I sign whatever I'm supposed to sign," and they all laughed.
What has changed? The product Rob Lawler invented to be light, portable and affordable keeps evolving even though it had, a rough start.
"Actually, I did buy this at Pet Smart," he laughed pointing to a dog leash. Yes, Rob started with dog collars, Velcro, surgical tubing and rubber sandals.
There's no massive overspending in this local company. Once Rob found a material to hold up to heavy ski boots, he sought the help of Prestige Plastics Technology in Brooks, Kentucky.
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Prestige Designer Hal Nagel pointed to the design, "This is actually the mold, this is what's in the machine."
But before it goes into the machine it starts off as tiny balls of pigmented plastic that are then melted.
"It injects the plastic into the mold, it goes through a cooling cycle," Prestige Plastics Vice President Chris Nelson explained. Seconds later, "The mold will open and you have a finished part."
Reid Lawler picks up the Ski Skootys and takes them to the family's Highlands home to get them ready for delivery.
Reid just bought an old conveyor belt on Craigslist to get large shipments ready for trucks during their busy time.
For the two WAVE Country companies, the Ski Skootys sky is the limit.
"This product being involved in the Olympics, I think we're going to have good years to come," Nelson said.
The latest Ski Skootys are lighter, come in five colors and have mouse ears on one end, so skiers can add a string if they'd like to pull them up, that way they don't have to bend down.
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