HOUSTON: For the past four years, Wrist-band.com has provided customized silicone wristbands and bracelets to customers all around the globe. Azim Makanojiya, Founder and CEO of Wrist-band.com, grew his business into one of the largest online seller of silicone wristbands in North America.
It was at a trade show in China where the silicone bracelets caught the attention of the University of Houston Alum.
“I was amazed by how much one could customize the product,” Makanojiya said. “There was not a single site in the U.S. where individuals could tailor bands online. So I created a site that gave the customer the freedom to decorate a band anyway they liked.”
The concept was simple. Take the popular Livestrong wristbands idea, make them customizable and deliver them to the hands of consumers. Makanojiya soon learned that there were many complex elements to this seemingly elementary niche market. From molding and tooling to identifying product demand through AdWords, Makanojiya thoroughly researched every anticipated aspect of the business.
With humble beginnings, Makanojiya started Wrist-band.com out of a small garage in Houston, Texas, with a limited budget. Still a student, Makanojiya was challenged with running a separate business and managing a new venture.
“At that time, it was just a startup. I still had to maintain my original business, which was a pretty good chunk of my family income,” Makanojiya explained. “My family was not financially well and they relied on my income. That was the dilemma. Should I focus more on the startup or on what I was currently doing?”
Before a platform was developed Makanojiya and his two-man team were taking orders over the phone, jotting them down on an order sheet that they created and submitting orders every night. In a short time, the small idea evolved into one of the fastest growing promotional product manufacturers in the industry. At the end of 2010, they pulled in around $6.9 million dollars.
“The only reason that this could happen at a very fast pace, from my point of view, was because we had the drive,” Makanojiya said.
In 2011, they were inducted into the prestigious elite inc 500 companies, coming in at number 31. Fast forward to 2014 and Wrist-band.com continues to be one of Houston’s fastest growing technology companies.
“The interesting part of our company is that we are not a manufacturing company. We tell everyone that we make wristbands but the beauty of our company is we are a technology company. We don’t have a single equipment that touches the product. If you order a product from us, we don’t touch it,” Makanojiya said. “We’re a technology company and we’re basically providing that portal for you to place your order and get your products seamlessly.”