It’s not about the rings, really. It’s about marriage. It’s about commitment. And, it started with a need.
Meet Ted Baker and KC Holiday, the founders of QALO, the silicone ring company disrupting the $16 billion wedding ring industry.
Founded in 2012, QALO was built because, well, both Holiday and Baker needed alternatives to their metal wedding rings. The two met working in an LA-area restaurant where Holiday was bartending and Baker was managing. Both were aspiring actors not used to wearing jewelry and conflicted about their new rings.
“We got married about one month apart from each other, and our wedding rings were kind of a pain in the butt,” explained Holiday. “You’re supposed to wear this big metal ring on your finger, and for us, it just didn’t make sense.”
The pair loved their wives but hated their rings. With active lives both in the gym and outdoors, metal bands just didn’t make sense and often got in the way. So, they searched for a solution that would allow them to both show their commitment to marriage, and yet fit their active lifestyles. But when no ring could do both, the duo decided to create their own. A few prototypes later, they landed on 100% medical-grade silicone and QALO was born–literally–in Holiday’s garage.
QALO, pronounced [KAY-LO], stands for “Quality, Athletics, Love, Outdoors” and initially, the company’s target audience was the action-sports, workout and Crossfit set. But after hearing from a Marine who had worn his QALO ring while serving in Afghanistan, it became clear that the need was greater than they thought.
The rings quickly became the top choice for men and women in professions that required more from their hands. Police, firefighters, military, EMS, electricians, mechanics, etc. could work and wear their rings without risk of injury–not to mention the 150,000 individuals that suffer from ring avulsion every year.
For the first time, these individuals could showcase their commitments without sacrificing their safety or comfort with expensive, clunky metal rings. They no longer had to settle.
The company’s first big break came in 2013 when the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, wore his QALO ring on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’. The QB spent nearly five minutes discussing his ring on camera. This sparked the momentum that both Holiday and Baker have really built on and used to give back.
“We knew from the start that we wanted to use this brand to do something more than just make money.” - Holiday.
The company has several special edition rings that have been created to directly benefit specific philanthropic partners like Barbells for Boobs, the Alliance for Lupus Research and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. No traditional wedding ring company can say that.
“Everything we do, from the culture we create internally to the products we make and our philanthropic initiatives, helps to solidify our vision of doing something meaningful,” explained Holiday.
Today, the company that began in a garage has more than 60 employees and over 1 million fans on social media. QALO rings come in over 30 styles and colors, and they are worn by hundreds of professional athletes including Olympians, NFL players and MMA fighters.
With more surfers, racecar drivers, police officers, firefighters, Crossfit athletes, electricians, carpenters, EMS men and women, hunters, weightlifters, hikers, bikers, runners, yogis, dancers, gymnasts, skateboarders, baseball players, fiancés, husbands, and wives choosing QALO, it’s clear that they’ve become the most popular silicone ring.
With thousands and thousands of happily committed customers, it’s clear that people care more about what a wedding ring represents, than the material it’s made out of.