It has been five weeks since we opened the doors at LOUDMOUTHGUARDS. When formulating the creation of the company over two years ago, we believed we could invent a mouth guard that was cool, fun, and different than any other mouth guard currently available in the market. However, we did not know if the idea would be a hit with young athletes until we could actually get the product in their hands. And we could never have anticipated the unexpected help we would receive along our journey:)
Our first batch of LOUDMOUTHGUARDS arrived in early October 2014. Although we were extremely excited, the 2014 football season was well underway and doubt was creeping into our minds. Were we too late to the game? How and where were we going to sell the mouth guards?
Determined to move forward, we filled up our backpacks with dozens of LOUDMOUTHGUARDS and laced up our boots. We started showing up at youth and high school football practices in southern California and specifically in the city of San Diego, also know as the "619". This grassroots call to action was inspired by one of our founders, the original visionary of LOUDMOUTHGUARDS. For the sake of anonymity, we will refer to him as DC.
DC was born and raised in the 619. He played both youth and high school football in the area before further expanding his Southern California roots by attending USC. The inspiration for LOUDMOUTHGUARDS came from one of his family members as well as from an American sports icon who taught him a valuable lesson about trends. But that's a story for another time.
DC’s strategy was simple: talk to the young athletes, parents, and the coaches. Ask if they like the product and maybe, hopefully, god willing, please lord... Would you like to buy one of our mouth guards??? The first practice that LOUDMOUTHGUARDS attended was at the Otay Ranch Broncos of San Diego Youth Football & Cheer (also know as SDYFC).
As we entered the parking lot, it was inspiring to see how many parents attended and supported practice. As we passed through the crowd, DC greeted parents with handshakes and hugs. He enthusiastically showed them the final LOUDMOUTHGUARDS that he had been talking about with them for over two years. The positive responses from the parents were uplifting, "You did it!", "You made it happen!", "Those are sweet!", "Great job!", "Nice work!", and so on. It was great to see a community embrace the dreams and aspirations of one of their own.
So the seed had been planted and quickly began to grow from the grass roots that DC had planted so many years ago. A week later, we received an email from Michelle, the Secretary of the Clairemont Hawks, another team in the SDYFC. She mentioned that we had stopped by one of their practices at Madison High School and that the kids and the parents had loved the product. Michelle wanted to know if LOUDMOUTHGUARDS would come back to Madison on the following Saturday to sell the mouth guards during that day. She generously offered to set up a table for us, chairs, and a pop-up canopy tent so we wouldn't get scorched in the hot San Diego sun:) Thank you Michelle!!!
That day at Madison is one we will never forget, not only because of the generosity and help of Michelle, but also the parents/staff of the Clairemont Hawks. They literally went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and part of the community. From the coffees, to letting me charge a phone in the snack shack, to literally manning the LOUD MOUTH sales table while I ran to the rest room. It was a heartfelt embrace that said: “You’re part of our community, you’re one of us, and we got your back.”
Kids and young adults flocked to the table in droves. "What are these?", "How do I get one?", "These are fresh!!!", "Mom, I want one!!!!!!". It was awesome to receive such positive feedback from our true customers. They are the unabashed and honest critics who will give it to you straight no matter what. LOUDMOUTHGUARDS were affectionately and enthusiastically received!
Since that day, our lives and our company have evolved. We have been welcomed back by the SDYFC and have now set up tables at multiple locations. We have been contacted by parents like Shani McGowan of the Balboa Raiders who organized a team purchase of mouth guards not only for this season but for the up coming flag season as well. Thank you Shani!!!
In addition, the commissioner of the SDYFC, Philip A. Lomax II, stopped by our table and introduced himself by saying, "So these are the mouth guards I have been hearing about". Phil was amazing; he was genuinely interested in learning more about LOUD MOUTH and how he could help us grow. He gave us permission to set up tables at the playoff games last weekend at both Morse H.S. and Mount Miguel H.S. Thank you Phil!!!
In closing, what a fast-paced and rewarding launch these past weeks have been! Without the efforts, support, and enthusiasm of all the kids, parents, coaches, and committee members of the SDYFC and the 619 community as a whole, we would not be where we are today.
On behalf of DC and the members of the LOUDMOUTHGUARDS Team, I would like to extend the SDYFC a sincere THANK YOU!!!