Hopefully you read my preview of the Inferno Hand Pouch a couple of weeks ago. If not, I suggest you check it out. This hand warmer was created by Mike Kafka, former NFL Quarterback.
A big “Thank You” to Sarah Rose Attman of Sarah Rose PR for setting up an interview with Mike. Also, look for a review of the hand warmer, coming up int he future! A tip of the hat for Mike as well, for taking time out to answer my questions!
1) So – why hand warmers? What motivated you to enter the market with this particular product?
Throughout my playing career, each aspect of my gear evolved – helmet, cleats, shoulder pads, jerseys, and apparel all worn to help performance. As a QB, my hands are the most important aspect and that was also the one element that had not changed in all my years of playing football. Roo Outdoor was developed around the hand pouch product and trying to give the hand pouch a revolutionized edge like the rest of my gear.
While my inspiration for the Roo Inferno began on the football field, in doing my research I realized how versatile the hand pouch product is. The Inferno serves multiple markets beyond football, including hunting, golf, hiking and other outdoor sports. That is why we offer the Inferno Hand Pouch in two models – the Inferno Sport for athletes and active enthusiasts, and the Inferno Terrain for hunters and avid-outdoorsmen.
2) How long have you been in business?
We started the company in 2012 – most of our time was dedicated to Research and Development for production and manufacturing of the Roo Inferno. We also dedicated resources to building our brand during that time. This is our first full season of actively selling and marketing the Inferno product.
3) What was the biggest surprise in your journey so far?
Going into the product development process, I was naive to think that it would be relatively simple and quick to make the desired product adjustments I wanted. The biggest surprise to me was navigating the manufacturing process. It is amazing how much you have to manage in order to develop a single product.
I had to exercise my communication skills in order to source materials, timing delivery and production, and scheduling everything to meet demand. The entire process taught me about performance materials and fabrics, stitching and construction, and product design.
4) What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been spreading the word about a new product. When you are competing against bigger companies with bigger budgets, it’s difficult. But, at the end of the day, I know and have gotten great feedback and reviews to demonstrate that my product is superior. It is great to have the opportunity to collaborate with someone like yourself who understands elite products and loves to share them with their following.
5) Do you have other products in the works (that you can share)?
Right now, we are focusing on the Inferno Hand Pouch. We have identified a niche in the market and there is even more we can do to make the Inferno Hand Pouch the most unique hand warmer available, so that is where we are focused currently. As the brand grows, we definitely want to diversify and introduce new products into our portfolio. Our goal would be to have key products for each season. Right now the Roo Inferno is dominating the winter season.
6) Are you a hunter? What’s your favorite thing to hunt?
Being from the city of Chicago, I didn’t grow up hunting. Over the past several years, however, as I have gotten more involved with hunting, I have really enjoyed it. I started by going skeet shooting and then accompanying my fellow hunting friends in the field to get familiar with the terrain, equipment, and animals.
As someone who is new to hunting, I like small game hunting because I feel like I have better chances of hitting my targets and it gives me an idea of what to expect when I go after larger animals and explore different environments.
7) What’s the dream hunt that is still on your bucket list?
I would love to go on a duck hunt with my dog and see him in action. I have a chocolate lab named Calvin who I would love to train and take on my hunts. If I had to paint a picture of my dream duck hunt with Calvin, I would be in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have read that it is the biggest waterfowl hotspot in the Western US. Not only is the city beautiful and the lakes are amazing, the terrain is ideal for waterfowl migrating west.
Thanks again to Sarah and Mike. Be sure to check out the hand warmer pouch here: Roo Outdoor Terrain