David Grotting and Reid Hollen are founders of the company Standee, designing and manufacturing stand-up desks. Courtesy photoBy Karen BillingTwo young entrepreneurs are taking a stand, hoping to changethe way people work.The Rancho Santa Fe natives David Grotting and Reid Hollen, along with Reid’s father Jim, have started a company called Standee, that makes unique stand-up desks that encourage a healthier workforce.Unlike other stand-up desks on the market, Standees are “add-on” style, meaning they can be used in conjunction with an existing desk, significantly lowering the price tag. For convenience, the desks can also fold up flat so a user can stand for part of the day and also opt to sit for a spell. Standee also takes pride in the fact that its products are also environmentally sustainable, made of highly renewable bamboo.“It has been an incredible experience working on this project, so I would love to see it continue to grow and be able to devote time to its development,” said Grotting, who likes to envision full offices with everyone working using a Standee.Grotting and Hollen knew each other through attending R. Roger Rowe School, but truly became friends through this business venture. Grotting is currently a senior at University of Southern California studying business and entrepreneurship, while Reid is a sophomore at UCLA studying business economics. Now that they are both in LA for school they get together often not just to talk business but also to surf.Jim lends his experience to the company as he spent part of his career in management consulting and now focuses on startups and small companies in the industries of healthcare, information technology and retail store displays.It was actually Jim’s work-related discomfort that led to the development of a stand-up desk. A few years ago Jim developed a hip flexor injury that he thought was from running. “During physical therapy I learned that it was really a result of too much sitting over the years,” Jim said.He had the guys in his retail store display shop make a desk podium that he could put on top of his desk to raise his work surface and allow him to stand. The idea worked. “Not only did it seem to help my injury, but standing made me feel more productive and energetic,” Jim said. “I began to discover a wide body of recent research that touts the health hazards of sitting and the health benefits of standing.”Jim found a recent study that showed that sitting for three hours a day can cut your life expectancy by two years, even if you have an active lifestyle. Some of the health benefits of taking a stand include a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and general fatigue. Those who work standing up can experience better posture, more energy during the workday and can burn more calories than they would sitting — one estimate is that a person can burn 150 calories an hour while standing.Jim approached David and Reid to join him in developing the standup desk line and he said they have done a great job developing the business plan, doing market research, creating marketing videos, helping import the bamboo from China, and developing the sales and marketing plan. “It was a great opportunity for them to take something from concept to a commercialized product,” Jim said.“We are a great team together,” echoed Grotting. “We all bring unique ideas and perspectives to the project and some of out most productive times are when we are brainstorming together or problem solving together. Mr. Hollen has been an incredible mentor to Reid and I through this project, allowing us to use our knowledge from school while also advising us with his business experience.”The Hollens and Grotting are very involved in the design and manufacture of the desks. “We went through many phases of design and prototype so we had the exact desks we wanted,” Grotting said of the desks made at RICH LTD’s millwork facility in Oceanside.The Standees are adjustable to meet a user’s exact height preference and the look is simple and sleek. The desks come in two different wood stains (rich amber or soft natural) and each is marked with a Standee “S” at the front of the desk — the logo has a surfer vibe that is a nod to Reid and David’s Southern California lifestyle. Standee also sells an accompanying anti-fatigue floor mat to provide more comfort for standing.With graduation from USC on the horizon, Grotting is currently looking for jobs and hopes to continue his “entrepreneurial passion” at a startup before returning to school to pursue an MBA. Reid also hopes to work a few years after graduating from UCLA before attending business school.Their plans for now include enjoying the ride and continuing to work toward making Standee a success.“I hope that Standee will grow and continue to help people become healthy while working,” Reid said.For more information, visitwww.standeeco.com.
The Solana Santa Fe Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is holding several “Cocktails with Class” events this month for parents who have children in the same grades to “mix and mingle” at potluck parties held at private homes.