No Holes in this Idea

Mission BeltSuccessful innovation often starts with asking the right question.  Like these, maybe:

What if we made a belt that didn’t have any holes, which are the first thing to wear out?  Or, what if we made a belt that fit perfectly every time, even if you gained or lost weight?  Or what if we did both?

Enter the Mission Belt.   As soon as I heard about it from Shark Tank I had to order one.  I liked it so much I bought another five as gifts.   Why?

First, they’re good-looking belts.  Nice quality leather and snazzy buckles.  (Forget the distant similarity to the cheap buckles of the 70′s and 80′s with clasp closures.  These Mission Belts are stylish.)  I also like that there’s no tail end of the belt to flap around, sometimes too short and sometimes too long.  And for you that are au courant on the latest men’s fashions, try the white or the red.

But more than that, I love the technology.   You tighten the belt with a ratchet system which you can hear click.  It’s similar to the technology on hauling straps that cinch.  These have been around for years, and why no one thought to use the system for belts is beyond me.  It’s so simple, it’s brilliant.

Be careful, however, as it may not be obvious to rookies how to loosen your belt.  Mine got uncomfortably tight while I fidgeted with it until I found the website video showing the secret tab.  (Call it “Removing a belt for Dummies.”)

And then there’s the “Mission.”  For every belt sold the company gives a dollar to a needy family.  (“Buy a belt.  Feed a family.”)   These days, with so many companies trying to draft off the success of Tom’s Shoes, I get suspicious about the true motives of these kinds of donations.  But maybe everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to charity.

Great design.  Simple technology.  Smart innovation.


About Bill Aho

Bill Aho is a partner with The SagePoint Group, hands-on consultants that develop innovative products, services and marketing concepts. Bill has worked in marketing, strategic planning, general management and innovation in Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Darden Restaurants and ClearPlay. He has appeared and been quoted in multiple TV, magazines and newspapers, including Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, MSNBC, BBC, PBS and others.
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