The background behind the brand and Q&A with Jeremy Nelson, founder of Roll Recovery:
Based in Boulder, CO, Roll Recovery was founded on the idea that massage and recovery products for athletes could drastically be improved. Dissatisfied with other recovery products on the market, Jeremy Nelson decided to come up with his own product that would suit the needs of runners, cyclists, and all endurance athletes at all levels. Jeremy's mechanical engineering and product creation background lent itself well to creating something completely unique and different in the world of massage and recovery for products. Luckily for Jeremy, his wife, professional marathoner and elite athlete Adriana was more than happy to add input, ideas, and feedback on the first few prototypes to dial in the design to what the R8 is today. After sketching out several initial concept sketches and several prototypes, the final version of the R8 went into production in 2011 and was received with open arms in the endurance community. Word quickly spread through the endurance sport hotbed community in Boulder, and both elite and everyday endurance athletes came into Boulder Running Company (where it was first launched in the specialty retail market) to get their hands on this innovative product.
Jeremy was kind enough answer a few questions about Roll Recovery, including how the brand got started:
Q1- What is the idea and concept behind Roll Recovery and the initial R8?
A1– “ROLL Recovery as a company started out as a way to launch the R8. In 2011, I was running around 80 or 90 miles a week and trying to stay fast enough to pace Adriana in her workouts. Because she's a professional runner, she would get a sports massage at least once a week, but I wasn't as fortunate.
I had a few thoughts on what I wanted to design and started building some prototypes in my garage. I figured I'd put my background in mechanical engineering and product development to use and see what I can come up with. After a few funny looking prototypes, one design emerged that would eventually evolve into the R8.
Adriana and I would show it to fellow runners and the feedback was great. They wanted me to build them a prototype. That's when we thought there may be an opportunity to launch it and build a company around it. So to make a long story short, we put all of our money and time into developing the R8 and after about a year, launched ROLL Recovery in 2012 in Boulder, CO.”
Q2- How did you come up with the idea for the R3? Who can benefit from using it?
A2- “Traveling around the country to races and expos the past few years we learned how common plantar fasciitis is with runners and people in general. Designing the R3 was a very fun exploration in how feet work and how to help alleviate these conditions in a small compact product.
We acquired a 3D printer a little over a year ago with the intention of testing some of our designs. For me, being a nerdy engineer at heart, working with a 3D printer was such a blast. We created several prototypes, collaborating with Physical Therapists and doctors in Boulder. With so many professional runners on staff at ROLL Recovery, we are able to get instant feedback from an elite athlete perspective.
After finalizing the functionality and engineering of the R3, we focused a lot on the aesthetics and packaging to make the R3 a beautiful product. I truly hope it can help many people.”
Q3- Launching a new brand is pretty challenging, how did you initially get the word out about the product and get initial demand going?
A3– “It is true, launching a new brand and spreading the word without a large budget is a massive challenge to say the least. If a product is effective, the word will spread naturally, without requiring a marketing army. We literally had a zero marketing budget when we launched, so we relied heavily on our fellow runners to get the word out. It was amazing to watch it spread to athletes, running groups and medical professionals.
Relying solely on grassroots marketing requires a tremendous amount of effort, but I believe word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. We were fortunate that the R8 gained so much publicity early on by being featured in Running Times, Runner's World, Competitor and was even selected as Gear of the Year in Men's Journal in 2013.
Shortly after launching the R8, we humbly showed it to the Boulder Running Company to see what they thought. We delivered 16 units, sat back and nervously waited to see how it went. I still remember getting the call at the end of the weekend, “Do you want the good news or the bad news? Everything sold and you better get over here now and deliver more.” What a relief that was!
No matter what kind of growth we experience, we will never lose sight of who we are: a bunch of tired, beat-up runners at heart.”
Q4- In terms of actually using an R3- if I have plantar fasciitis, what is your recommended use to help alleviate some pain and get on the road to recovery?
A4– “A tight plantar fascia puts too much tension on the calcaneus and inflammation increases. Part of relieving or preventing plantar fasciitis is simply stretching the plantar and all the intrinsic foot muscles on a consistent basis.
The R3 was designed to reach specific areas of the fascia to make this process easy. It's non-symptrical shape is designed to reach the arch areas of the foot and hit those spots that typically get tight. One great tip using the R3 is to stick it in the freezer, which will work great for cold compression. In addition to helping relive foot pain, the R3 can be used as a small body roller.
The R3 was designed to be compact, easy to use and travel with. It is our hope that it will be a great solution for all those tired and sore feet out there!”
The R8 is a truly innovative product well suited to deal with all the major upper and lower leg muscles for athletes of all shapes and sizes, however Jeremy and Adriana were inspired to expand their product line to come up with something less versatile, but focused on tackling one of the most common and frustrating injuries experienced by endurance athletes- plantar fasciitis. To do so, the R3 roller was created, and is exclusively available at Jackrabbit stores across the country.
The R3 is a foot roller that features 3 key areas that specifically target areas of the foot to stretch the plantar fascia and other muslces to relieve soreness. Unlike other rollers, the R3 is constructed in such a way as to relieve and stretch both inner and outer foot muscles, the plantar fascia, and heel of the foot. As such, the roller is set up to relieve and stretch all areas of the foot, differentiating it from other products in the market place.
Features & Benefits:
Initial sketches and concepts of the R8: