<img class="size-full wp-image-7944 alignleft lazyload" src="http://www.bishopodowd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/frederic.jpg" alt="frederic" width="500" height="552" srcset="https://www.bishopodowd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/frederic.jpg 500w, https://www.bishopodowd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/frederic-272x300.jpg 272w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />
Freddy Bunkers ’19 had a problem.
Playing in club volleyball tournaments – many a couple hours’ drive from home – Freddy spent some uncomfortable moments in the family car sweaty and … well … stinky. “I really didn’t want to be sitting in my sweat, stinking up the car,” he said.
While Freddy learned that sweating is very good for the skin, leaving sweat on the skin is problematic, and contributes to acne breakouts.
So Freddy and a grammar school friend, developed a product to fix this problem – 12-inch by 12-inch pre-moistened body wipes that get rid of sweat and grime and leave users feeling clean and refreshed. The unscented, biodegradable wipes, made with 100 % natural fibers, and are hypoallergenic, alcohol, paraben and sulfate free, are sold through Freddy’s company, HyperGo.
Freddy says product usefulness isn’t limited to athletes. “We have a broad consumer range,” he said. “It’s really anyone who needs to get clean quickly – parents who have been at yoga and are going grocery shopping afterwards, people who want to freshen up after walking or biking to work, for those sweaty kids after soccer, even homeless people who don’t have regular access to shower facilities.”
In fact, Freddy has partnered with local homeless shelters, providing wipes that they distribute to those in shelters and on the street. “Sometimes the homeless people are going to job interviews without taking a shower. The wipes have helped them clean up before their interviews,” he said.
He’s also undertaken some community initiatives, such as HyperGo’s Camp for Kids Initiative. Freddy sets aside a portion of his company’s monthly profits to send kids to a local camp – kids who wouldn’t otherwise have such an opportunity.
Freddy said that his mom, Jennifer Adams Bunkers, who is the CEO/Founder of TruKid, a company that creates kid-friendly, natural body care products, was instrumental in helping him launch his company.
Using his mom’s connections with manufacturers, they sampled dozens of wipe styles, requested formula and material changes, and conducted product trials to come up with the wipes, which are sold in packages of 20. Singles-to-go will be available in December. “The process took many months,” he said.
Freddy also built a few websites until he settled on the one he liked. In the process, he realized that he likes to work on the back end of the business – the website, social media etc. He’s learned a lot about pricing and the expenses of running a growing business, and has even incorporated apps on his phone to help manage and streamline the business.
Jennifer and the mom of Freddy’s grammar school friend fronted the money for the initial purchase of wipes – funds he’s since been able to pay back.
Freddy’s initial order of 10,000 packages, the smallest quantity he could order, has sold through and he’s geared up to produce more.
And he was able to hire a couple of employees – Michelle Dold ’11, who actively heads up all of HyperGo’s marketing efforts, and Kelsie Halstenrud ’12, who helped out over the summer and fall. Alex Hentges ’11 helped Freddy immensely in the very beginning when the company was just getting off the ground.
Freddy estimates he devotes at least an hour a day on his company, with his mom helping out as needed. “On Mondays we pack our Amazon orders (Amazon buys from HyperGo as well as sells the product on Amazon.com), and the orders we sell on our company e-commerce site,” he said. “We’re also hoping to get the product in retail sporting goods stores.” Also look for HyperGo in various product subscription boxes in the next few months.
He recently spoke at Harvard Business School Alumni event held in San Francisco, detailing his path to success. “That was really nerve racking speaking to a group very, very successful business people,” Freddy said.
Looking to the future, Freddy dreams of creating a personal care wipes conglomerate that rivals Clorox’s disinfectant wipes business.
He envisions several lines of wipes “an athlete’s foot wipe, an acne wipe, after construction work wipes, you name it, any kind of wipe for personal needs, basically wipes for your life,” he said. But for now, he is focusing on sports hygiene, taking care of the athletes or new fitness enthusiasts after they work out.