ARLINGTON - A local tool company has launched a crowdfunding campaign to mass-market a firewood carrier it describes as efficient and ergonomic.
LogOX, an Arlington family business, is seeking to raise $25,000 on Kickstarter by March 2 to manufacture a thousand units of the WoodOX Sling.
The company calls its newest product the "ultimate firewood carrier," saying it distributes the firewood's weight across the upper body, which minimizes strain during loading, walking and unloading.
As its name suggests, the product resembles a sling with a length of cloth in the middle. One end is slung across the body like a messenger bag; the other end has an arm loop that features an LED flashlight. The way WoodOX Sling is carried apparently won't knock it against the user's knees, and leaves one arm free to open and close doors.
"There's nothing else that's like it, really, out there," Austin Roberts, LogOX's general manager, said.
His dad Jonathan Roberts, the chief operating officer, invented the carrier while thinking of ways to make lugging firewood in their Arlington home easier.
"We built a product that we ourselves wanted to use," Austin said, adding that they have a utility patent for it.
His dad, now 63, also came up with LogOX's eponymous inaugural product: a forestry tool that combines a log hauler, cant hook and timberjack. His mom Lynne Roberts serves as the company president.
Austin, 33, served in the U.S. Army for eight years and left in 2016, when he and his parents set up the family company. He takes care of its sales and marketing from the Philadelphia area, where he lives with his wife.
As of Wednesday, Day 13 of WoodOX Sling's monthlong Kickstarter campaign, the product had raised $8,000 through 61 pledges.
The pledgers, Austin said, include people from Great Britain, South Korea, Sweden, Australia and Switzerland. He won't know where their U.S. supporters are located till the campaign ends.
Besides raising money for WoodOX Sling's initial mass production, the crowdfunding campaign is also a good way to publicize the product, he said.
It's expected to go on sale sometime in March at a retail price of $69.95. It will be available on the company site and soon after, on Amazon.com.
Customers who make a pledge on Kickstarter, essentially preordering the product, can get it anywhere from $52 to $63, depending on the package they pick.
This is the second crowdfunding effort for the WoodOX Sling. The first, launched in November, failed when it raised only a third of its $100,000 goal. According to Kickstarter rules, a project either reaches its funding target or gets nothing.
Austin said the company has learned from that first experience by lowering its current crowdfunding goal, adding more product information and promoting the campaign earlier.
He believes they'll succeed this time. "I'm pretty confident that we will," Austin said. "We're on the right track and trajectory."
Tiffany Tan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @tiffgtan at Twitter and 802-447-7567 ext. 122.