Iowa’s West Coast Initiative Feature
Short description of your business:
Flickboards seamlessly unite sports and play with home decor to spark connections and lasting memories. Our mission is to empower individuals of all ages and backgrounds to express their passion for sports and their favorite teams in a uniquely interactive way; bringing them together with sports-inspired play. Guided by our “Play It. Display It.” philosophy, we redefine gaming by creating products that seamlessly combine entertainment with home decor. This dual-purpose approach ensures that our games remain more visible and prominently displayed, allowing for more shared connections and inspiring more spontaneous play.
What motivated you to start your business?
Flickboards didn’t begin as a business concept—it started as a Christmas gift idea for my soccer-loving 4-year-old son, Brady. With my father’s help, we crafted the very first Flickboard in December 2014. When we shared it with friends and family, and witnessed how much they also enjoyed playing the game, I realized we had something special in our hands. What drives me is the way I view our business. To me, Flickboards are more than a mere game or wall decor. It embodies the immense power of passion and the thrilling journey of pursuing dreams—a message I hope to convey not only to my children but also to anyone open to the idea that embracing challenges and perseverance can lead to truly extraordinary and fulfilling experiences.
What’s unique about your business?
What sets Flickboards apart are their patented dual-purpose use as stylish wall decor for your living space, office, and fan cave. With more than 30 officially licensed collegiate teams, our Flickboards cater to a diverse fan base, offering an experience that’s not just engaging but also visually stunning; allowing people to celebrate and show off their team spirit in a brand new way – “Play It. Display It, ” with Flickboards.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business?
Navigating growth and scalability has been a significant challenge for us. Recognizing the need for expertise in scaling operations, we entered a strategic partnership with Weisser Distributing in Sioux Falls in April 2022. This collaboration combines our in-depth understanding of Flickboards products and our customer base with Weisser Distributing’s established success in ecommerce, manufacturing, and distribution. Together, we are working hard to scale our business and introduce our patented Flickboards products to a wider audience. Our goal is to transform Flickboards into a household name within the next three to five years.
What has been your greatest reward?
It’s difficult to choose as there have been so many fulfilling moments… For example, the positive feedback we continue to receive from new and old customers alike, to more recently seeing our Flickboards finally arrive on retail shelves. However, if I had to choose, it would be the people I’ve encountered and the wealth of knowledge gained throughout this experience. From the intricacies of ideation, prototyping, patenting, trademarking, and licensing to the complexities of marketing, sales, manufacturing, distribution, ecommerce, and wholesale operations, every lesson learned and every person met along the way has been incredible. This continuous learning journey as an entrepreneur has not only made our business better, but also expanded our horizons, making every challenge worthwhile.
How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?
The startup community in Sioux City played a pivotal role in our journey. Through events, workshops, and mentorship programs, we found a supportive environment for networking and learning. One significant opportunity was the University of Iowa Venture School program in the fall of 2015, which collaborated with Western Iowa Tech at the time. Additionally, events like the Swimming with the Sharks competition hosted at Briar Cliff and resources provided by the SBDC, alongside numerous events sponsored by our robust startup community, the City of Sioux City, and the Chamber of Commerce, have been invaluable. These experiences have been instrumental in our growth, offering both knowledge and connections that have profoundly influenced our business.
Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?
Supporting startups and small businesses plays a pivotal role in cultivating local talent and driving innovation. By providing them with mentorship programs, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insights, navigate challenges, and refine their business strategies effectively. Additionally, offering financial education and assistance ensures that these ventures have a solid understanding of managing their finances, which is crucial for their long-term sustainability. I believe discovering and fostering more collaborative opportunities between established businesses and startups could further bolster the startup community. Established businesses can provide mentorship, resources, and market access to startups, while startups infuse fresh ideas, agility, and innovation into the business landscape.
What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business?
One valuable lesson I’ve learned is that progress takes time, and there’s no fixed route to success – however you decide to define it. Spending excessive time crafting a ‘perfect’ plan can delay your start. Action, even when it feels imperfect, is key. Surprisingly, many of our significant milestones weren’t part of the initial plan, highlighting the importance of adaptability and seizing unforeseen opportunities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?
Be passionate about your idea but stay flexible. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs, but also leaders of established and successful businesses. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, and never underestimate the power of networking.
How can the community continue to help your business?
The community’s support in spreading the word about Flickboards, either word of mouth, in-person, or via social media would be invaluable. Your support in connecting us with potential retail partners and purchasing our products from these retailers not only benefits them but also directly contributes to our growth and sustainability. Thank you so much Siouxland for providing us a wonderful environment to grow our business, as well as being part of our journey!
What are some future goals for your company?
Our aim is to expand our product line with new sports-inspired games, making Flickboards accessible and engaging for a wider audience. We plan to increase our awareness through online and on-the-ground marketing strategies, ensuring more people discover our unique product. Strengthening existing partnerships and forming new ones are crucial steps to broaden our reach, and we’re also re-visiting the ability to customize your own Flickboard options to offer a personalized gaming experience. Ultimately, our goal is to establish Flickboards as a household name within the next three to five years, while staying focused on our commitment in finding simple yet innovative ways to bring people together through the universal language of play and enduring love for sports.