Behind the Scenes

Reflecting on a Year of Growth with Stoko CEO, Zack Eberwein

Reflecting on a Year of Growth with Stoko CEO, Zack Eberwein
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Discomfort is a key indicator of high growth—learn how Stoko’s CEO, Zack Eberwein is learning to lean into this discomfort. 

It’s been a year of change for everyone. But imagine being the CEO of a startup that’s had their biggest year of growth, all during a pandemic? Welcome to the reality of Zack Eberwein, Stoko’s CEO. Luckily, Zack thrives in ambiguity, is surrounded by a team he has total trust in, and believes wholeheartedly in Stoko’s purpose—to empower athletic potential. 

Zack shared some thoughts and reflections on this past year, and what we can expect from Stoko in the new year: 

Hindsight 202(1)

Man, what didn’t happen in 2021? Sales continued to grow. New team members were added. Momentum was built, and then lost, and then built again. As a brand, change has been one of our only constants. The silver lining? We’ve had every opportunity for growth possible. As a leader, I’m left with the overwhelming sensation of relief, encouragement, and endless possibility. 

Counting Your Wins 

We had some really monumental wins this year, internally and externally. 

01 Endless positive feedback from our athletes. 

“I still can’t contain myself because of how awesome my K1s are. They’re everything I've been looking for to get back into skateboarding. Thank you all for giving me my life back." Aaron Au, Calgary Alberta

02 We raised $6 million in funding. This gives us the breathing room we need to dig deep into our expansion across North America and make sure we have the right team on board to support this. 

03 K1s made it into the NFL. Our vision is to put Supportive Apparel on every athlete. This absolutely includes professional athletes, and it’s really incredible to see this goal starting to come to fruition. 

04 Our relationships are starting to pay off. We’ve worked really hard to foster meaningful relationships with key players across different industries—medical professionals, athletes, investors—and these relationships are giving us credibility.

Reflections

There’s so much I learned from this year on a personal and a brand level—one of which being figuring out how to separate those two exact things: brand and self.  

As athletes, we’re used to being in a constant state of practice—in pursuit. This is exactly what we’re bringing into the new year with us: a keen desire to grow, to learn, and to always try new things. This has been our first year with a full sales cycle, which means it’s been chock-full of learnings—2022 will be about taking these learnings and using them to execute against our plan. 

Stepping into 2022

Brace yourself, we’ve got some exciting stuff up our sleeve. Without saying too much, we’re set to build out our product line, dip our toes into new markets, and generally keep pushing, performing, and protecting. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible, and we’re taking this motivation into the new year.