B.R. startup looks to China to help meet growing demand

B.R. startup looks to China to help meet growing demand

Just back from China, the local duo who created the Yellow Jacket stun gun iPhone case is looking to streamline overseas manufacturing operations as it tries to meet demand for the $139 self-defense tool.

With a growing list of pre-orders since a successful crowd-sourcing venture last summer, Yellow Jacket co-founders Sean Simone and Seth Froom say they want to take a smart, measured strategy to growing the fledgling business. For now, that means a revamped website, which will allow customers to order the product online.

A factory order of 3,000 stun gun phone cases is slated to arrive later this month, just in time to start filling the 5,000 pre-orders Simone says he has already received and begin shipping them to online shoppers when the new website goes live next week. Another shipment of up to 20,000 devices is slated for May. By July, the duo plans to start offering a version for the iPhone 5.

Their methodical growth hasn't come without a few growing pains along the way. In January, Yellow Jacket received a cease-and-desist request from a former ally, Josh Riddeck, who claims he designed the packaging and the logo for the cases on a freelance basis last year, but never received compensation. He's asking for $10,000 to settle the dispute without a lawsuit.

Simone says he's "confident that we didn't do anything wrong." Both sides are negotiating, hoping to settle the dispute outside of court.

Meanwhile, Simone and Froom are looking toward the future. They're working to produce a more powerful version that can be marketed to law enforcement officers as well as a version that will fit the Samsung Galaxy. Eventually, Simone and Froom are hoping to revamp their overseas manufacturing operations, with the goal of using a second manufacturer to focus exclusively on the plastic portion of their product.

Currently, they rely on one manufacturer to supply both the plastic covering and the inner components of the 0.08 milliamp stun gun. They believe a second, plastics-focused manufacturer could cut costs and improve quality.

You can check out a Business Report Entrepreneur feature on Simone and Froom here.

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