KURU Founder Bret Rasmussen

Transcript

When asked about his journey in the field of footwear, Bret Rasmussen credits his childhood fascination with the notion that a person can enhance their body performance by wearing a shoe. He began to sketch out his ideas and catalog potential companies. Although he put off passionately pursuing his ideas until college, his entrepreneurial spirit has always been alive and well.

Rasmussen continued to pursue his education in business finance. Although he was initially averse to risk, he found himself drawn toward the potential of pursuing a career as an entrepreneur. After graduating, he found a job at a carbon fiber technology startup, where he learned invaluable lessons in what not to do when starting a company.

He soon took the plunge, developing technology and filing for a provisional patent in 2005 while networking in the footwear industry. Having no prior experience in the industry, Rasmussen learned his way through trial and error. He had to make tough decisions on working with unreliable factories, substituting materials, and ultimately recalling some of his products due to manufacturing issues.

But Rasmussen kept going, discovering that the cupped heel of his shoes was providing relief to those suffering from foot pain, ultimately leading to his line of Kuru shoes launch in late 2008.

When Rasmussen launched Kuru, he was met with yet another challenge. Lehman Brothers had just gone bankrupt, and the economy was in a free fall. Already in a precarious state due to the cost of bringing a product to market, he had to pivot quickly to survive. He realized his original business plan wouldn't suffice and changed gears to focus on selling to customers directly instead of brick-and-mortar stores.

Then, Rasmussen found himself surrounded by success stories from customers enjoying newfound relief due to Kuru's unique technology, which provides natural cushioning with every step. This concept has revolutionized footwear and earned Kuru top consumer ratings.

Regarding personal philosophies, Rasmussen believes that education is an invaluable tool no matter the field one might pursue, particularly for those considering a career as an entrepreneur. He is an avid reader, constantly reading and learning, and advises those interested to have a solid understanding of accounting. As the "language of business," he believes that with an accounting background, entrepreneurs can better understand the numbers and make informed decisions.

When looking to expand beyond footwear, Rasmussen leans on global contacts and partners from China to Europe, tapping into a global network of experts in businesses ranging from marketing to customer service support in any and every industry. Networking with these industry insiders allowed him to build his supply chain from the ground up and become an expert—or at least savvy enough—to be the face of his own company and brand.

Rasmussen acknowledges the importance of marketing and brand development for Kuru, knowing that customer trust is the most crucial currency and returning that trust with an excellent product is the most important step he can take to ensure his company's longevity.

As a result of this focus on delivering an excellent product, Kuru's customer experience efforts have seen the company grow exponentially, with word-of-mouth referrals becoming an integral part of Kuru's customer acquisition strategy. To ensure customers have high expectations when their shoes arrive—and that Kuru lives up to those expectations—Rasmussen has implemented generous return policies. However, customers rarely take advantage, given the overwhelmingly positive results that Kuru's shoes produce.

Though Rasmussen's journey has been highly successful, it's still incomplete. With a focus on continually improving the Kuru product line with thoughtfully developed technologies, he is out to prove that the power of a small team, with clear direction and the audacity to dream big, can create a brand and a product line that can stand shoulder to shoulder with even the largest and oldest companies in the industry.

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