Braden Parker

Co-Founder of Casca

Braden co-founded Casca two years ago, marrying his passion and experience with inspirational brands to a cutting-edge, functional product. Jumping in with both feet, he has lead the company through a successful Seed fundraise, set up business operations and built an impressive 10 member team.

For the past five years, Braden has been determined to develop a company that enables people to achieve more. Prior to Casca, Braden consulted for multiple startups, applying his background in finance and branding. He has helped numerous brands lay down a foundational brand strategy with a keen understanding for business logistics.

When he’s not focused on driving Casca’s business goals forward, you can find him at various entrepreneurial events, creating conversation around accelerating the bright future that lies ahead. He believes we all have a social responsibility to one another, and that Casca’s contribution is providing the world’s best innovators with the world’s best pair of shoes.

With a passion for the outdoors, Braden is anywhere but the city on weekends; surfing, climbing, skiing and biking in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. His adventures provide the perfect testing ground for Casca.

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 their busy lives. In addition, we had to continually purchase new pairs due to a lack of durability.

Tired of everything on the market and inspired by the shifting technology landscape we were driven to find a solution. A product with materials durable enough to last for years, rather than months and that could keep pace with a busy life.

To us that meant taking a particular look at the support you need throughout the day. We worked with pedorthic experts to determine the best way to improve your daily comfort that could properly align the spine, and improve foot & knee health. As we started digging further into how unique everyone’s feet are and the impact innovative manufacturing techniques are having on the market, we were compelled to create a solution. We combined a simple tool we all have, smartphones, with the best in 3D printing technology to create FootB3D. A 3D printed insole that is unique to each individual and fits within our shoes.

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 a marketing campaign, you are always changing hats. To ensure that I am working on the right things, I like to take the time to review what I am going to do the next day.

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 manufacturing is incredibly exciting. 3D printing and other forms of digital manufacturing is improving rapidly and we’ve reached tipping point where it is becoming economically advantageous.

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 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 connect my short-term week with 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.

Retail in the classical sense is dead. The future will be a merging of retail, manufacturing, and community spaces that can change and fulfill various needs throughout the day.

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

Meditate, journal and exercise. 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.

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?

We work in an open concept office and sometimes it’s hard to let others know you’re busy without coming across as rude. I wish that someone would create a flag that just pops up from the corner of your desk when you’re focused so people know to only interrupt if it’s important.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

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?

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.


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