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Meet Jonathan Kowalsky of Grappz in Melrose and Fairfax

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Kowalsky.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jonathan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a lifelong athlete, collegiate wrestler and Brazilian Jiujitsu black belt, 1-0 MMA record.

Through the years, I’ve broken and dislocated most of my fingers. Had surgery on my pinky from a basketball injury. I was getting tired of taping my fingers for protection. thought it was inefficient and time-consuming and always slipped off.

So, when I tore my ACL for the 4th time and I was on my ass sulking, I decided to fix the taping fingers problem. I was used to wearing rash guards or compression shirts, so I thought why not a rash guard for your fingers conjoining them. I started prototyping. Got good feedback. Then, went to a patent attorney. Did a patent search and my attorney advised me I was in the clear to move forward.

Then, I did a small run out of a small manufacturer in OC, spent hours and cash with the manufacturing making the design perfect. When I was done, I sent a pair to my friend, Olympic Gold medalist KURT ANGLE (we did a film together). Once he got them, he said, ‘these are a game changer, I want to be involved’. So, now, Kurt’s my partner. We built an online store and started selling direct to the consumer 6 months ago. We’re slowly growing and plan on moving into retail space within a year.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not a smooth road at all. More attorney fees than expected. Listening to the advice of multiple people with experience in my field that contradicts each other.

A patent troll trying to extort money from me. My first big shipment from an overseas manufacturer was crap.

Literally new stresses every day. But, the biggest obstacle is manufacturing.

Keeping the customers happy, because they all have different preferences.

Lastly, I had 2 babies since I started this company, I’m an actor but had the worst 2 years of my career and this company is totally self-financed. So, I had and still have to budget myself because I can’t fail and have put too much into it.

I’m balancing so much that time is my obstacle.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Grappz – what should we know?
Proud that we’re completely innovative. No one does what we do but nothing feels better in business when a customer gives you feedback on how much your product helps them.

I DO EVERYTHING. Fulfillment, marketing, manage manufacturing, R and D, customer service, accounting, graphic design, social media, publicity, the list goes on…

What sets me apart from other is my drive and determination.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had lots of great friends, too many to mention, supports and mentors me. Other entrepreneurs give guidance and advice, point me in the right direction.

Kurt Angle, for loving my plan and product.

My wife, for helping along the way and supporting me.

Pricing:

  • Currently, we are a one product company but that will change soon. We retail for $29.95

Contact Info:

  • Website: getgrappz.com
  • Phone: 310-729-4256
  • Email: team@getgrappz.com
  • Instagram: @Grappzofficial
  • Facebook: Grappz
  • Twitter: @Grappzofficial

Image Credit:
Kurt Angle

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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