Founder and CEO Glen Hinshaw believes he has only just begun down this path.
Hinshaw envisions his product – custom-made, personalized orthotic shoe inserts – walking all over North America and much of Europe and Asia.
The insoles were branded RESAWear by Hinshaw. “The name comes from a Swedish word ‘Ree-zuh.’ It means to journey or travel, to rise up, to go beyond, to climb above obstacles.”
As Hinshaw puts it, he wants to give forward movement and authentic meaning to the term “digital footprint.”
To do this, he is using his patent-pending laser scanning system, which captures every detail of a person’s foot in three dimensional images. Those images, through computer calculations, are transmitted to a three-dimensional printer. The 3-D printer then uses high quality thermoplastic cord about the size of a round shoelace to print an orthotic insole uniquely tailored to each foot. All this process happens in about an hour inside a scientifically constructed kiosk that is portable enough to be moved into stores across the country. The kiosks cost about $50,000 to create.
The expansion of RESAWear has happened within the past two years. In mid-August, 2016, Hinshaw had a staff of four employees and was working out of a building originally owned by his father.
Today, Hinshaw has a crew of almost 150 people. More than 100 employees are working full-time; 40 more are in a sophisticated 15-week vocational training program in cooperation with Yavapai College.
Hinshaw says the company’s current monthly payroll is around $400,000 and the average salary is about $20 an hour – almost double the minimum wage. He expects those numbers to double.
“I had been talking to major retail firms like Walmart and Costco. Both expressed genuine interest in the custom orthotics we could produce. I realized I needed to ramp up my production, so I contacted the City of Prescott in May of 2017. I owe city personnel far more gratitude than I can express for all the help they gave me.”
Hinshaw says Economic Development Coordinator Wendy Bridges and Economic Development Consultant Jim Robb put him in direct contact with the Arizona Commerce Authority and other state employees. “Robb especially was helpful in identifying some potential sources for financial support, so I was able to ramp up production quickly, “he said.
Hinshaw also praised John Morgan, the Yavapai College dean of the School of Career and Technical Education. Morgan and his staff listened to Hinshaw describe his needs. Within a few weeks, they developed a compressed curriculum that provides students with training on 3-D printing, electronics, computer technology and advanced networking.
He also connected with Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) and its director, Teri Drew. NACOG helped by identifying new employees and providing investment support.
Hinshaw is optimistic about the future. Already positioned to be in several big-box Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club major markets, Hinshaw is negotiating with two additional national retailers, including Macy’s.
Such expansion means he will need more skilled staff, more kiosks and more materials for producing the orthotics.
“We’re also able to keep the costs of our products down because we now can mass market. For example, at Costco, you can purchase custom-made, guaranteed adult orthotics for $139, and a pair for a child or youth for $99. “
RESAWear insoles also have captured attention from the medical community, which is looking at them as an option for patients with diabetes and other forms of neuropathy.
Henshaw says RESAWear products have no negative environmental impact and do not add to increasing carbon dioxide emissions. The Prescott native says it is important to him to use only recycled materials.
“Our company adheres to the principles of sustainability – reduce, reuse and recycle. We have an agreement with another Prescott Valley company, M & I Windows and Doors, that we want them to send their scrap vinyl to a manufacturer in Prescott called Vinyl Visions. Vinyl Visions, which makes windows, takes the scrap vinyl and turns it into extruded PVC that we use in the creation of the insoles. We have less than 2 percent waste. We’re not having to import everything from China, we have a genuinely symbiotic relationship among three local companies and we all are proud to be environmentally sensitive.”
Hinshaw is looking for a site to expand his manufacturing plant and insists it will remain in Prescott. “This is my hometown, and the city has been super-supportive. So have the citizens. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” QCBN
By Ray Newton
(Photo by Ray Newton)