Meditate, journal and exercise daily. Those are my go-to three things that I have to do everyday to stay creative and remain efficient.

 

Braden Parker is the co-founder of Casca, an all-day performance footwear company. They have developed the world’s most versatile, durable and supportive shoe on the planet.

Jumping between the start-up soaked Silicon Valley and adventure-filled Rocky Mountains, Braden Parker’s entrepreneurial mindset was in high gear from an early age. With his father starting software companies from the kitchen table and his uncle launching the apparel giant lululemon athletica, family reunions were rarely a time to kick back and relax. Braden absorbed a wealth of insight on the necessities of creating successful ventures. In his 25 years, he’s completed studies at UBC’s highly regarded Sauder School of Business and launched four companies in areas where he was determined to offer the consumer more. From high performing doors and protein-packed cricket pasta to the tech-company Stowlots, Braden is always looking for ways to increase value for people. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Braden worked in asset management for Vancouver-based Low Tide Properties and was a board member for the Gastown and Strathcona Business Improvement Associations.

He brings innovative business thought, sales and marketing expertise along with a wealth of start-up experience to Casca’s team. Braden oversees focusing on how they can expose and sell Casca Shoes in the most effective and innovative way as possible.

With a passion for the outdoors, you can find Braden anywhere but in the city on weekends; surfing, climbing, backcountry snowboarding and mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. His adventures provide the perfect testing ground for Casca footwear.

Where did the idea for Casca come from?

My business Partner and I found ourselves frustrated with the shoes we owned. We spoke with peers and other professionals and they all shared the same frustration. Everyone owned a handful of shoes but they lacked the proper support, and versatility to keep up with our busy lives. In addition, we had to continually purchase new pairs due to a lack of durability.

Tired of everything on the market we were driven to find a solution. A product with materials durable enough to last for years, rather than months. Footwear designed with orthotic support to improve your daily comfort, properly align the spine, and improve foot & knee health, and a shoe versatile enough to be worn in professional, social and active settings.

Our concept is simple: to create the best everyday shoes on the planet – “All-day Performance Footwear”.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Every day is incredibly different. To succeed as an entrepreneur you need to be efficient at jumping between a number of different projects. Whether it is designing products, negotiating financing terms or working on marketing, you are always changing hats. To ensure that I am working on the right things, I review what I am going to do the next day. I plan out my entire day into 15 minute increments and prioritize based on urgency and importance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The first part of the process for me is to think. I just sit and start writing down all of the ideas no matter how grounded or out there they are. I call it the ‘brain dump’. After all of my ideas are out, I look at which ones make sense in the context of what is going on and create actionable next steps to see them out. A lot of people have “million dollar ideas”, but it’s “million dollar execution” that really matters.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The future of shoe manufacturing is incredibly exciting. 3D printing is improving and I think we are in for a huge increase in quality and sustainability, and a huge decrease in cost.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Every Monday morning I purposefully avoid scheduling meetings, and instead review my personal, career and health goals. I set them for every 10, 5, 3 and 1 years and then 6 months, 1 month and 1 week increments. I work backwards and set up weekly goals to make sure they are in alignment with what I want 10 years from now. This has helped me to see the big picture and understand how what I do this week will impact what I am doing 10 years from now.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to travel alone. Only in the last few years have I started doing big trips by myself. I was afraid and didn’t prioritize taking the time to adventure in other countries. That’s changed in the last 5 years, but I wish I knew that earlier. Every time I travel I come back with new ideas and a drive to work harder than before I left!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

True retail is dead. I know a lot of people who say it’s becoming experiential, but really that is just a marketing play, and these “experiential stores” don’t care about making a profit in those specific stores.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Meditate, journal and exercise daily. Those are my go-to three things that I have to do everyday to stay creative and remain efficient.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Reading the book “The Lean Startup”, building a minimum viable product and validating all of your assumptions. At Casca, we took 4 months to interview potential customers, and see what they did and did not enjoy about their shoes. Most entrepreneurs put tons of money into their product and assume everyone will love it. Then they launch and find out that they created a product that no one cares about.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think every entrepreneur can map some of their most significant learnings to errors or mistakes they have made, but the one that taught me the most was starting and deciding to shut down my last venture. It was essentially an “AirBnB” for parking and storage space in Vancouver. It was exciting at first, but I realized that I wasn’t passionate about parking and storage. From that point I learned that I had to be passionate about what I am going to do, and that a product with no purpose is not something that I want to create.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Cricket-based products or some form of vegan food product. This market is seeing huge growth and I think there is a ton of space in this industry. I was looking at starting a cricket-based pasta company before starting Casca and I think the market is ready for it!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why? (personal or professional)

I recently spent $100 to organize my house. I’m one of those people who likes to have a clean and organized place to come home to.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Audible. I listen to it every day – especially during commutes, when making meals or cleaning up my apartment. I don’t have as much time to read as I wish I did, so it helps me continually learn while doing mindless tasks. I go through at least one book a week!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Start with Why“, by Simon Sinek is my go to. His TED talk is very popular but the book goes deeper, and it has had the biggest impact on me personally and professionally. It provides a whole new level of motivation and authenticity when starting a brand. It keeps me going late at night, and helps me jump out of bed every morning.

What is your favorite quote?

If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” Life is short and we really only get one shot. If you’re not living like everyday is your last, I don’t think you are really living.

Key learnings:

• Review and revise 10, 5, 3 and 1 year personal, career and health goals every Monday morning.
• Every evening plan out your next day and ask yourself what progress you made towards your goals and what you learned.
• Find your purpose (read Start With Why by Simon Sinek) and figure out what makes you tick. You only get one shot at life – live every day like it’s your last.

Connect:

https://www.casca.com
Braden Parker on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradenparker/
Braden Parker on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/braden_casca