Mitch Facer knew something needed to change as he bent down to retie his snowboarding laces for the third time that day. His hands hurt from tugging on the laces, struggling to tighten them enough. He knew what he needed: waxed laces. After realizing there were no options on the market, he took matters into his own hands.
Facer is now the CEO and founder of WAXD Laces, a company that sells snowboarding laces, which Facer hopes will revolutionize the snowboarding industry. However, he didn’t just come up with the idea. Years of hockey experience, chemistry classes, computer programming and snowboarding aided in the creation of WAXD Laces.
Facer, 23, grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where he learned to love hockey at a young age. His neighbor and childhood best friend, Josh Lieberman, first encouraged Facer to play street hockey with him.
“Mitch is a smart kid. He is very observant and the analytical type,” Lieberman said. “He can read and react to situations really well, especially in hockey.”
Facer and Lieberman wanted to get involved in a recreation-league ice hockey team, so Facer spent the summer mowing lawns to save up the money to play. Facer ended up loving the sport and sticking with it throughout high school and college.
Because BYU’s hockey team requires the players to pay for ice time, gear and traveling expenses, Facer worked throughout college to be able to afford playing on BYU’s team.
“It definitely was all worth it,” Facer said. “It is a great group of guys, and not a lot of people can say that they had the chance to play college hockey.”
Jeremy Weiss, from Toronto, coached Facer for four years at BYU. He was impressed with Facer’s passion in life and his ability to always speak his mind in a respectful way.
“He has always been one of the hardest workers on the team,” Weiss said. “He impressed me from the first moment he stepped on the ice with his work ethic.”
The ice rink was where Facer learned about waxed laces. Hockey players often use waxed laces on their skates. This allows players to individualize the tightness of their skates.
Facer’s time playing hockey was full of long weekends traveling, dramatic games and team bonding.
“It is a different college experience because I spent all of my weekends traveling with the team,” Facer said. “It definitely gave me more school spirit though. I care a lot about what is going on with BYU.”
As a captain of the team, Facer had a chance to step up in a leadership role. Learning these leadership qualities became important later on when he created WAXD Laces.
“People are naturally drawn to him; he is a really charismatic guy who is fun to be around,” Weiss said. “Combine that with his work ethic, and you know he has potential to do great things in life.”
As a chemistry major, Facer gained a passion for learning how and why the world works the way it does. Facer combined his knowledge of hockey laces with his chemistry background to create the wax for the new snowboard laces.
“I love chemistry,” Facer said. “I’ve met some of the coolest, most intelligent people in the program with me.”
His chemistry background helped him apply the wax effectively to the laces. It also helped him know what temperatures to do product manufacturing at. While waxing the laces, he knew all of the properties of the wax and the laces.
During the snowboarding season, Facer was taking a class at the Marriott School, where he was required to do a fundraising Kickstarter campaign. After getting funding through Kickstarter for WAXD Laces, Facer used his knowledge about programming to build a website.
“My programming experience has helped me take business and website ideas and make them real,” Facer said.
Since the Kickstarter campaign, Facer has found several semi-professional snowboarders to test the laces. WAXD Laces are waterproof and made of military-grade paracord so they won’t break. Facer also focused on creating eye-catching neon laces with metal tips.
Beau Graham, 23, is Facer’s cousin and business partner. Like Weiss, Graham is impressed with Facer’s passion and leadership.
“Mitch is extremely passionate about his ideas,” Graham said. “Every little thing needs a leader, and Mitch is the driving force of the business.”
Growing up, Facer said he always believed he would work for someone else until he retired. Business classes at BYU opened his mind to different possibilities. Resources available through BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology helped him succeed. Facer recommended that BYU students take advantage of those opportunities.
“Entrepreneurship classes have blown my mind and taught me that business ownership is attainable,” Facer said.
Facer is enthusiastic about the future of WAXD Laces. A laces line for skateboarders and sponsoring more snowboarders are in his plans.
“Boot, board and binding technology has changed; it’s time that laces do as well,” Facer said. “These laces won’t break, and they stay tight all day. Once you try them, you’ll never go back.”
As WAXD Laces continues to grow, those who know Facer have high hopes for the business.
“Mitch is an innovator,” Weiss said. “I’d only expect something awesome from him.”
Lieberman echoes these feelings after 20 years of friendship with Facer.
“Mitch is just one of those people who is so driven and successful,” Lieberman said. “He has got the whole package.”