When we posted the original Kickstarter information for Ripl Sports, I immediately knew that this was a company I wanted to support. Their whole business is based on runners inspiring others. I'm not talking about professional runners. I'm talking about runners like Hai Nguyen, captain and founder of the Sunstone Running Club in Beaverton; and Nikki Mueller, a woman who lost a lot of weight and now inspires moms as an instructor with Baby Boot Camp.
Here's how it works: you order gear from Ripl Sports. Then you select at least one runner you want to recognize because they inspire you or because you want to support them in their running journey. It's called the Ripl Effect. Hai and Nikki were the runners I selected, because they are awesome and they are creating their own Ripl Effect. They both encourage and support others in their fitness, running, and personal health goals.
My gear arrived last week. I got a pair of silver capri tights and a super-soft "vest," which is British-English for "tank top." As a founding supporter, I was buying my gear sight-unseen, and I'm really pleased with how the gear looks, feels, and performs. And I can't wait to give Hai and Nikki their Ripl Effect headbands - perfect for Oregon winter running! I also posed a few questions to their founder and managing director, Peter Thomas, to see how it's "growing;" and it's going great! Read on to find out what their next moves are and how you can start your own Ripl Effect ...
This is the women’s tank that I received. The material is smooth and super soft, drapes nicely and has no chafing seams.
Through their Kickstarter campaign, Ripl Sports gained more than 150 backers. Each of them started their own Ripl Effect, rewarding 1-5 other athletes with free gear from the Ripl Effect range of products. Thomas says, “I would say that Kickstarter was an incredible experience during which we had a lot of fun and learned a great deal! We entered the campaign very uncertain of what to expect, as only 40% [of Kickstarter campaigns] reach their target. We were delighted to exceed our target and to be able to move things forward.”
Since the Kickstarter campaign ended, Ripl did an amazing job of updating founders (the Kickstarter backers) on the status of the project. I received about six emails with updates on their materials, production, shipping, and how to select gear for my inspiring runners. The company’s efforts were met with excitement in the UK, their home market, where people became engaged with the concept and started placing pre-orders for Ripl Sports gear. The company was even featured in Runner’s World UK Edition.
Some of the feedback from customers on Ripl’s social media pages mentions the quality of the gear, some reinforces the unique and effective model that supports and inspires runners; it’s especially fun to read comments from those who received the Ripl Effect gear. “Hugely impressed with everything- the shorts, tops, ‘Founder’ headband😉 and even the smart packaging,” said customer Andrew Rogan. “Can’t wait to try everything out!”
Here’s some of my Ripl Sports gear: My “vest” (tank top) is on the left and my two-tone silver capri tights are on the right. The red headband is for Sunstone Running Club Captain Hai Nguyen. I love the packaging – it’s clean and simple, and practically gift-wrapped to give to those in your Ripl Effect.
The company has created a way to track everyone’s Ripl Effects and how they grow. It’s a pay-it-forward way to inspire runners to stick with it or to thank those that have inspired you. They’re working on the best way to display this on their website, Thomas says, “so that [customers] are able to see the wider, positive impact of their actions!”
Now, I’m obviously in love with this company and I hope you also see the value in supporting their efforts, but for the time being, Ripl products are only available for UK customers. (I only got some gear as a founder.) This is because they want to adhere to organic growth, provide amazing customer service and keep the quality of their gear where it currently is. “Our primary objective is to make sure that everyone who comes into contact with Ripl, has an incredible experience and feels valued and supported,” says Thomas.
But don’t worry … they do plan to expand to other areas, and the U.S. is near the top of that list. One way to help encourage Ripl Sports to offer gear to U.S. runners is to head to their facebook page and give them a big old thumbs up, mention @RiplSports on Twitter, and otherwise just keep on inspiring others and supporting every runner with whom you cross paths.
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.