We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Sanchez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The timing is just not right. I’m not ready. Is this something I’m passionate about? These were the type of thoughts that plagued my mind and stopped me from pursuing my goal of starting a business. The silver lining to the pandemic was it giving me the opportunity to sit back, dig deep, and break through that fear telling me I couldn’t. Taking that first step towards starting our business was both exciting and liberating. The fear of failing, fear of taking risks, and fear of being vulnerable have started to subside. Creating a new brand and product has its hurdles but we’re further along in our journey than if we had never taken that step.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are Eric and Shelby, a husband and wife team. We own Nozou, an accessory company for paddleboards that we started in 2020. We are the first to offer colorful and vibrant paddleboard carry straps you can use for transporting your paddleboard from the car to the water while also providing an easy way to connect and disconnect paddleboards while on the water.
The idea for these multi-use straps came from our summer water picnics at Sloan lake. Due to the design of our paddleboards, we couldn’t easily connect paddleboards for some hands-free relaxation. We looked up products that offered a solution and didn’t find one. We started making them for ourselves and figured other people might have the same issue. After purchasing several paddleboard carry straps, we noticed none were attractive enough to compliment or original enough to stand out. As a couple we share a love for colorful and functional designs – so when no one seemed to be addressing this need, we knew it was time to do so.
With a new product and business, there will always be hurdles to overcome. We have learned that people are more receptive to products once they understand why it will or can help them. For us, we have been working hard to figure out how we can effectively show people the different uses for our product. For some, the vibrant colors are what attracts them to our product while others love the benefits it provides. Being a full-time dental hygiene student (Shelby) and having a full-time job (Eric) provides hurdles we overcome on a daily basis. The excuse of it not being the right time could have been an easy excuse to not start a business. Instead, we have embraced the challenge while supporting each other’s goals and inspirations.
We are a new small company and are growing slowly but surely. We have been inspired by the love and appreciation our customers and potential customers have shown us. The paddleboarding community has been very welcoming and loving. As we grow, we think of ways in which we can give back to the community. Apart from donating part of our profits to charities, this summer we will be hosting paddleboard clean-ups around Denver and surrounding communities. We are excited about the opportunity to meet new people and creating a community around our brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The perfect itinerary for us would be the following: We would get up early and bike over to Rupert’s for some tasty brunch. We would have a delicious breakfast burrito and tasty mimosas while overlooking Sloan Lake. From here we would wander over to the Edgewater Market and get a beer from Barquentine and some to-go food from Mugi Ramen (for our paddleboarding picnic). Next, we would make our way to Joyride brewing company for one more drink before heading to Sloans Lake for some paddleboarding. We would paddleboard around the lake before anchoring up, connecting our boards, and having a picnic on the lake while we watch the sunset go down over the rocky mountains. At night we would make our way to Ghost Donkey at Union station for some mescal and nachos before heading to the RINO District.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout is dedicated to my father. For all the sacrifices he has made for me and the enormous role he has played in my life as a father, a businessman, and most importantly as a role model. He immigrated from Mexico and started working towards the American dream. He worked hard and tiresomely all these years to start his own successful construction business. As a kid, he would take me to work with him and taught me life lessons along the way. He thought me the importance of hard work, perseverance, and taking those hard leaps that propel you towards your goals. His strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit are something I have always looked up to and the reason why I’ve always wanted to start my own business.