A trio of celebrities were briefly among the sales staff for a surging fitness tech firm in Kansas City.
In a recent episode of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, musician Boy George, basketball hall-of-famer Lisa Leslie and former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy expert Carson Kressley helped sell for Kansas City-based OYO Fitness.
OYO founder Paul Francis said the appearance of the firm’s DoubleFlex product has provided a nice sales bump as well as spurred support for the company’s wildly-successful crowdfunding campaign. The fitness tech firm’s new DoubleFlex Black has already quadrupled its $30,000 Kickstarter campaign goal, raising $132,600 so far.
With ambitions to make the firm a $100 million company in the next three years, Francis said the campaign and national TV appearance are setting the stage for a remarkable 2017.
“January has just been going crazy,” Francis said of sales to open the year. “We want this to become a ubiquitous product that people need to have in their desk drawer, at home or travel bag. … It’s really starting to pick up.”
Resembling a bendable, futuristic bow with a center wheel to create resistance, the DoubleFlex features some impressive technology that enables dozens of exercises arm, leg and core exercises.
The device — about the size of a loaf of bread when compact — creates resistance similar to a cable machine via the firm’s patented “SpiraFlex” technology. The tech uses coiled rubber-band-like straps within a removeable wheel that are then snapped into the center of the bow. Each wheel creates five- to 10-pounds of resistance, but weighs only a few ounces, enabling the device to have a low-profile and be lightweight.
But consumers aren’t the only one to take note of Francis’ tech. The SpiraFlex was developed for NASA and is used by astronauts on the International Space Station. Francis said that the tech appealed to NASA for not only keeping space-dwellers fit but also as countermeasure for bone density and muscle mass loss while floating in the cosmos.
Francis said that more than 50 crewmembers on the space station have used the firm’s tech.
“We had to go through a lot of development that would create a system that would fit their specs and work in space,” he said. “When the first (American crew) got up to the station, the commander text down to us ‘The weight room is open on Alpha.’ They were excited to workout an hour a day on it. It was a big feather in our cap.”
A 62-year-old inventor that studied architecture at the University of Kansas, Francis launched OYO in 2014 and has largely bootstrapped the firm since. Now the firm’s products are sold around the world on QVC, in Brookstone stores, Sharper Image, Amazon and dozens of catalogs, Francis said.
“We’ve got some big plans for this,” Francis said from his Country Club Plaza office. “We went from crawling to walking and now we’re just starting to run.”
To learn more about the firm, check out the video below.