TheGoalNet Posted August 28, 2017 Share Posted August 28, 2017 Interview with PadSkinz - Mark Philipps, President of Chameleon Sports I had initially contacted Mark Philipps, President of Chameleon Sports, a few months ago to get his opinion on the future of goalie pad materials. Although I don’t pay my bills with revenue generated from the hockey industry, it’s often hard to turn my crazy product ideas off. He was kind enough to speak with me then and left me with a teaser that he had cool stuff coming online with Bauer. We were able to speak again a couple of weeks ago and had a fantastic conversation. Not only did I hear the back story behind Frederik Andersen’s epic St. Pat’s set, but Mark humored me while I bored him to death with my story about changing gear color. Senior year in college, I used a Sharpie on a Koho 580 mitt in attempts to make it match my Reebok P1s. No Surprising enough, that same desire to effectively and cost efficiently change the color of his gear is what initially sparked his interest in PadSkinz. Mark’s a goalie, just like the rest of us, and has played the position for 35 years. He initially discovered the product on Facebook in 2013 and learned that it took 2 years of R&D to get the final version. Unfortunately, the initial inventors had little to no customer service and lacked a concise strategy to widely launch their product. My favorite cliché is that “Life’s about timing” and this is the perfect example. When he first made contact with PadSkinz, Mark was winding down another successful business and looking for his next project. He was able to acquire the company and draw on his extensive business experience to grow from there. Within his first 6 months, Mark got the product used in the NHL by the St. Louis Blues. He followed up that achievement by creating retail packaging. Within 12 months of his ownership, the new packaging allowed PadSkinz to be rolled out across retail in North America. The product is now sold and used worldwide from beginner players to the highest pro teams. Many of the readers might be scratching their heads wondering why it took 2 years of R&D to launch a product that is a Jenpro like material with glue on the back… but it’s not that simple. The extensive R&D was required to dial in the durability and find the proper adhesive. Believe it or not, glue is not glue. The proper material thickness is also key. When the material is too thick, it leads to bad edges. When the material is too thin, it leads to peeling in the corners and an overall lack of durability. All the hard work has furnished PadSkinz the reputation of being the premier home graphic customizer. It has the best combination of flexibility, durability, and removability compared with anything else available. Their trustworthy reputation is what has allowed PadSkinz to be an NHL preference, especially in situations like Frederik Andersen’s St. Pat’s set. Brian Papineau, Leafs Equipment Manager, initially contacted Mark to see how they could get Freddy’s set green just for the single game. The Maple Leafs then threw those ideas out to Freddy, Bauer got involved, and it moved forward from there. Mark worked very closely with Bauer to make sure they got the colors, logos, graphic design, alignment, and sizing correct. The sizing was initially the biggest challenge. Chameleon Sports was working off Bauer’s graphic file designed for the production line. In the case of a production pad, the skin would be printed in a flat 2d position before it was installed on the pad. There is excess material in the Bauer file for stitching and other areas that get wrapped around side walls or gussets of the pads to form a 3d shape. Mark had to personally hand trim the excess pieces of printed PadSkinz right on Andersen’s gear, in the Leafs dressing room, with a really sharp knife. Although Mark took his time to make sure everything was perfect (who’s in a hurry when you’re in an NHL locker room), the entire process took about 4 hours to complete the cutting and application. In hearing this story, I get the impression those 4 hours probably only felt like 10 minutes to Mark. He is a lifelong Leafs fan and considered being involved with the project a huge honor. It will also be an extra special memory in the theme of father / son bonding. Mark’s son was also present and got to share experience with him. Although I am telling this story by focusing on Mark, he was quick to point out the Leaf’s (and others) equipment staff. He knows most equipment managers from the OHL to the NHL and is amazed by how hard they work. As a general rule of thumb, he said that “Equipment Managers are the unsung heroes of pro sports. They work tirelessly around the clock to make sure your favorite team is ready to hit the ice and receive little to no recognition.” Frederik Andersen’s 1 off pads will also have a lasting impact with Chameleon Sports beyond the cool memories. Kay Whitmore has since spoken with Mark and has no issue with the use of PadSkinz within pro hockey. As a result, PadSkinz now has a formal “Pro Program” in place with Bauer. If you are a pro goalie wearing Bauer gear and you get moved, PadSkinz will print a custom graphic overlay, of the stock Bauer graphics, in the new team’s colors. In hindsight, Frederik Anderson’s St. Pats pads sort of ended up like a prototype for the whole program. Moving forward, guys will utilize this same PadSkinz set up for a few weeks while Bauer turns out their new gear. I hope that we will hear from Chamelon Sports in the near future and that they are able to offer new products to compliment their current offerings of PadSkinz, PalmSkinz, GripSkinz and PantSkinz. If you have learned anything about me personally so far, you’ll know that I cannot wait until that PadSkinz are able to professionally customize every pad in a retail store with digital printing. In the interim, I will have a field day making green circles and boxes for our social media accounts with the Bauer / PadSkinz combo after the trade deadline. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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