Dec. 9, 2014 — Don’t know what to get the person who has everything for the holidays this year? How about the “coziest pants in the world?”
A pair of University of Utah students has launched a line of uniquely designed pants — dubbed Sakpants — through a university-sponsored entrepreneurship program and completing a crowdsource funding campaign to raise capital for their business endeavor.
Students Brayden Iwasaki and Garred Lentz came up with the idea for Sakpants, a cross between “Thai fisherman pants” and children’s footie pajamas, in 2013. They developed an initial prototype and received a $3,000 seed grant from a U program affiliated with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The students used the seed money to refine their product and then raised nearly $25,000 from 476 supporters on Kickstarter.com to continue moving their idea to production.
The product is now making its debut in time for the holidays, with a hilarious video at sakpants.com. The product’s features include a secret slot that allows people to access feet for “emergency toenail-clipping,” as well as a design with mass appeal to consumers.
“The built-in footies trap heat, and coupled with the soft, lightweight fabric of the pants, create the perfect temperature during those cold, winter months,” said Iwasaki, a co-founder of Sakpants who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from the U. “Socks compress feet, isolating them from your legs and making them colder, and slippers are always getting lost. We feel like we’ve designed a better alternative that everyone will love.”
Lentz, a master’s student in the David Eccles School of Business, noted his Utah roots helped generate the idea.
“Growing up in the land of ski resorts and freezing-cold winters, I was constantly trying to wrap my feet in my sweatpants to stay warm when I was hanging around the house,” Lentz said. “That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands,” he added, of his motivation to create Sakpants.
They are distributing initial shipments of the product to many of the supporters who donated to their Kickstarter campaign — but are receiving orders from others already as well.
Lentz complimented the University of Utah for helping him and Iwasaki to navigate the process of forming a startup company.The seed grant program they received funding from, Get Seeded, is administered by the U’s Entrepreneur Club and StaC, with funds donated by Zions Bank.
“The Lassonde Institute at the U has been amazingly helpful in providing both funding and mentorship for our business,” Lentz said. “Thanks to them, we’ve got a market-ready product, efficient business and manufacturing processes, and the marketing resources we need to make Sakpants successful.”
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally-ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides engagement opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include graduate seminars, business plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute is also building a new facility for student entrepreneurs due to open in fall 2016. Learn more here.