27 November 2019

Our experience using crowdfunding

Back

In 2007, before the days of crowdfunding, we developed a product called the LoJo Ball. Following a year of development, we had sunk costs of over £60k and forty-two prototypes, which we showed to the market for the first time during London Design. We had 800 units in stock and were apprehensive as despite our market research prior to the launch, this was the first time we would discover if people liked and would stock our product.

To our relief, within 24 hours we had several orders, were featured on Television in Moscow of all places, and were selected to be part of the British Design concession at the Maison et Objet show in Paris. We did so well with the product internationally that at the show the following year, we caught the eye of John Lewis and Selfridges London, who became our primary retailers in the UK. The two shows kick-started our little project and three years later we were turning over just over a million dollars.

At both of those shows we were flanked by other start-up projects or businesses with a product, but unlike us, they were showing off prototypes. Like us, they gained significant interest but did not have the stock to fulfil immediate orders and could only promise stock in a few months’ time. I do not think that hampered their growth as the products were innovative. The only unanswered questions were “would a production product look as good and work as well as this prototype, and what is the actual retail cost?”

This is where crowdfunding and Kickstarter comes in. Out of the £60k we spent, nearly 50% of it was on tooling and the first production run of 800 units. Ideally, after we had invested around £30k in prototyping, branding, web, marketing legal and IP, we would have presented it to our target market on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and received the answers to some key questions.

  • Do they like the product?
  • Would they buy one?
  • Would they pay the asking price for one?

If the answer to those questions was “No,” it would have been painful and required us to have a radical re-think. However, during development, we were researching and testing the product under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This meant that when the product and the company behind it stood in front of what we hoped our target market would be, we were confident that the answers to those questions would be “Yes.”

The great thing about crowdfunding is the level of feedback you can receive, and this would have been invaluable to us back in 2007 and 2008 before we grew the LoJo ball brand. What we did wrong was sell to too wide a market. We were in the midst of a recession and nearly £250k in the red, but we knew that the missing piece of the puzzle was we were not niche enough. In a radical and daunting step, we rebranded to LoJo London, putting all our money behind one design style. Luckily for us, our rebrand meant that we secured distributors and agents globally, broke even within 9 months and continued to grow from there. Kickstarter would have saved us this difficult learning as we would have most likely spotted this during our campaign.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great tools for answering important questions before you commit to production and helping you define your market.

When we invented the BoB glasses case, crowdfunding was in existence and we went with Kickstarter. Before we launched our campaign, the product was fully developed, engineered, branded, IP protected, factory costed and the production was scheduled. We asked for £5k to help fund tooling, but also knew that if we hit £5k, there was enough demand and confidence in the product to prove that it was worth doing. The answers to our three questions was a resounding yes, as we were 300% funded and had secured Specsavers as a licensor for giveaways with select designer brands. What was important to us was what Kickstarter term as “Organic growth.”

During a campaign, you have to market your product whilst pushing traffic to your crowdfunding web page. There are companies set up to do this for you now and charge a handsome fee. It is hard work and takes a lot of time because you need someone to manage every enquiry. This activity drives roughly 50-70% of sales. The remaining percentage is “organic” which are people who come across your campaign and product independently, like it, and purchase it. For our glasses case, 70% of our sales came through organic growth. This meant that the product was selling itself and gave us the confidence to give the go-ahead on tooling before the campaign had even finished. We knew we had customers who wanted the product, and by the date that we said we could deliver it.

One of the concerning bits of feedback for us was the retail price. We needed it to retail for around (£$€)14.99 but we were being told, not a penny or cent over 10. However, the campaign revealed that we had a global market at 14.99, so we put a survey to our backers and 35% of them (130 people) responded to it. 68% thought the price was fine at 14.99, and 98% would be happy at 9.99. We took this information to the retailers when selling the product via trade, and they agreed that 14.99 was the best price point. We were able to use our target market, who came to us organically, to determine the best marketable price for our distribution chain.

Stefan, our founding director, spent his early design years working in the US and made lifelong friendships with fellow designers there, so he knew of Kickstarter before it came to the UK. Since then, Bang Creations has helped clients navigate the crowdfunding process, but more importantly has helped them plan crowdfunding into the development process. Anyone who says that they are an expert must be taken lightly as the platforms change and evolve so quickly.

Every product is unique, so crowdfunding will not suit everyone, as our experience taking Colandish to market will highlight. What has not changed since crowdfunding’s inception, are the guiding principles. These platforms are there to help you kick-start your business, work out who your target market is and think of your product, its message and the business behind it. If your product is suitable then this can help you get your product, its branded message and your business behind it right before committing to significant spend on tooling, marketing and logistics.

Back

27 November 2019

Our experience using crowdfunding

Back

In 2007, before the days of crowdfunding, we developed a product called the LoJo Ball. Following a year of development, we had sunk costs of over £60k and forty-two prototypes, which we showed to the market for the first time during London Design. We had 800 units in stock and were apprehensive as despite our market research prior to the launch, this was the first time we would discover if people liked and would stock our product.

To our relief, within 24 hours we had several orders, were featured on Television in Moscow of all places, and were selected to be part of the British Design concession at the Maison et Objet show in Paris. We did so well with the product internationally that at the show the following year, we caught the eye of John Lewis and Selfridges London, who became our primary retailers in the UK. The two shows kick-started our little project and three years later we were turning over just over a million dollars.

At both of those shows we were flanked by other start-up projects or businesses with a product, but unlike us, they were showing off prototypes. Like us, they gained significant interest but did not have the stock to fulfil immediate orders and could only promise stock in a few months’ time. I do not think that hampered their growth as the products were innovative. The only unanswered questions were “would a production product look as good and work as well as this prototype, and what is the actual retail cost?”

This is where crowdfunding and Kickstarter comes in. Out of the £60k we spent, nearly 50% of it was on tooling and the first production run of 800 units. Ideally, after we had invested around £30k in prototyping, branding, web, marketing legal and IP, we would have presented it to our target market on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and received the answers to some key questions.

  • Do they like the product?
  • Would they buy one?
  • Would they pay the asking price for one?

If the answer to those questions was “No,” it would have been painful and required us to have a radical re-think. However, during development, we were researching and testing the product under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This meant that when the product and the company behind it stood in front of what we hoped our target market would be, we were confident that the answers to those questions would be “Yes.”

The great thing about crowdfunding is the level of feedback you can receive, and this would have been invaluable to us back in 2007 and 2008 before we grew the LoJo ball brand. What we did wrong was sell to too wide a market. We were in the midst of a recession and nearly £250k in the red, but we knew that the missing piece of the puzzle was we were not niche enough. In a radical and daunting step, we rebranded to LoJo London, putting all our money behind one design style. Luckily for us, our rebrand meant that we secured distributors and agents globally, broke even within 9 months and continued to grow from there. Kickstarter would have saved us this difficult learning as we would have most likely spotted this during our campaign.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great tools for answering important questions before you commit to production and helping you define your market.

When we invented the BoB glasses case, crowdfunding was in existence and we went with Kickstarter. Before we launched our campaign, the product was fully developed, engineered, branded, IP protected, factory costed and the production was scheduled. We asked for £5k to help fund tooling, but also knew that if we hit £5k, there was enough demand and confidence in the product to prove that it was worth doing. The answers to our three questions was a resounding yes, as we were 300% funded and had secured Specsavers as a licensor for giveaways with select designer brands. What was important to us was what Kickstarter term as “Organic growth.”

During a campaign, you have to market your product whilst pushing traffic to your crowdfunding web page. There are companies set up to do this for you now and charge a handsome fee. It is hard work and takes a lot of time because you need someone to manage every enquiry. This activity drives roughly 50-70% of sales. The remaining percentage is “organic” which are people who come across your campaign and product independently, like it, and purchase it. For our glasses case, 70% of our sales came through organic growth. This meant that the product was selling itself and gave us the confidence to give the go-ahead on tooling before the campaign had even finished. We knew we had customers who wanted the product, and by the date that we said we could deliver it.

One of the concerning bits of feedback for us was the retail price. We needed it to retail for around (£$€)14.99 but we were being told, not a penny or cent over 10. However, the campaign revealed that we had a global market at 14.99, so we put a survey to our backers and 35% of them (130 people) responded to it. 68% thought the price was fine at 14.99, and 98% would be happy at 9.99. We took this information to the retailers when selling the product via trade, and they agreed that 14.99 was the best price point. We were able to use our target market, who came to us organically, to determine the best marketable price for our distribution chain.

Stefan, our founding director, spent his early design years working in the US and made lifelong friendships with fellow designers there, so he knew of Kickstarter before it came to the UK. Since then, Bang Creations has helped clients navigate the crowdfunding process, but more importantly has helped them plan crowdfunding into the development process. Anyone who says that they are an expert must be taken lightly as the platforms change and evolve so quickly.

Every product is unique, so crowdfunding will not suit everyone, as our experience taking Colandish to market will highlight. What has not changed since crowdfunding’s inception, are the guiding principles. These platforms are there to help you kick-start your business, work out who your target market is and think of your product, its message and the business behind it. If your product is suitable then this can help you get your product, its branded message and your business behind it right before committing to significant spend on tooling, marketing and logistics.

27 November 2019

Our experience using crowdfunding

Back

In 2007, before the days of crowdfunding, we developed a product called the LoJo Ball. Following a year of development, we had sunk costs of over £60k and forty-two prototypes, which we showed to the market for the first time during London Design. We had 800 units in stock and were apprehensive as despite our market research prior to the launch, this was the first time we would discover if people liked and would stock our product.

To our relief, within 24 hours we had several orders, were featured on Television in Moscow of all places, and were selected to be part of the British Design concession at the Maison et Objet show in Paris. We did so well with the product internationally that at the show the following year, we caught the eye of John Lewis and Selfridges London, who became our primary retailers in the UK. The two shows kick-started our little project and three years later we were turning over just over a million dollars.

At both of those shows we were flanked by other start-up projects or businesses with a product, but unlike us, they were showing off prototypes. Like us, they gained significant interest but did not have the stock to fulfil immediate orders and could only promise stock in a few months’ time. I do not think that hampered their growth as the products were innovative. The only unanswered questions were “would a production product look as good and work as well as this prototype, and what is the actual retail cost?”

This is where crowdfunding and Kickstarter comes in. Out of the £60k we spent, nearly 50% of it was on tooling and the first production run of 800 units. Ideally, after we had invested around £30k in prototyping, branding, web, marketing legal and IP, we would have presented it to our target market on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and received the answers to some key questions.

  • Do they like the product?
  • Would they buy one?
  • Would they pay the asking price for one?

If the answer to those questions was “No,” it would have been painful and required us to have a radical re-think. However, during development, we were researching and testing the product under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This meant that when the product and the company behind it stood in front of what we hoped our target market would be, we were confident that the answers to those questions would be “Yes.”

The great thing about crowdfunding is the level of feedback you can receive, and this would have been invaluable to us back in 2007 and 2008 before we grew the LoJo ball brand. What we did wrong was sell to too wide a market. We were in the midst of a recession and nearly £250k in the red, but we knew that the missing piece of the puzzle was we were not niche enough. In a radical and daunting step, we rebranded to LoJo London, putting all our money behind one design style. Luckily for us, our rebrand meant that we secured distributors and agents globally, broke even within 9 months and continued to grow from there. Kickstarter would have saved us this difficult learning as we would have most likely spotted this during our campaign.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great tools for answering important questions before you commit to production and helping you define your market.

When we invented the BoB glasses case, crowdfunding was in existence and we went with Kickstarter. Before we launched our campaign, the product was fully developed, engineered, branded, IP protected, factory costed and the production was scheduled. We asked for £5k to help fund tooling, but also knew that if we hit £5k, there was enough demand and confidence in the product to prove that it was worth doing. The answers to our three questions was a resounding yes, as we were 300% funded and had secured Specsavers as a licensor for giveaways with select designer brands. What was important to us was what Kickstarter term as “Organic growth.”

During a campaign, you have to market your product whilst pushing traffic to your crowdfunding web page. There are companies set up to do this for you now and charge a handsome fee. It is hard work and takes a lot of time because you need someone to manage every enquiry. This activity drives roughly 50-70% of sales. The remaining percentage is “organic” which are people who come across your campaign and product independently, like it, and purchase it. For our glasses case, 70% of our sales came through organic growth. This meant that the product was selling itself and gave us the confidence to give the go-ahead on tooling before the campaign had even finished. We knew we had customers who wanted the product, and by the date that we said we could deliver it.

One of the concerning bits of feedback for us was the retail price. We needed it to retail for around (£$€)14.99 but we were being told, not a penny or cent over 10. However, the campaign revealed that we had a global market at 14.99, so we put a survey to our backers and 35% of them (130 people) responded to it. 68% thought the price was fine at 14.99, and 98% would be happy at 9.99. We took this information to the retailers when selling the product via trade, and they agreed that 14.99 was the best price point. We were able to use our target market, who came to us organically, to determine the best marketable price for our distribution chain.

Stefan, our founding director, spent his early design years working in the US and made lifelong friendships with fellow designers there, so he knew of Kickstarter before it came to the UK. Since then, Bang Creations has helped clients navigate the crowdfunding process, but more importantly has helped them plan crowdfunding into the development process. Anyone who says that they are an expert must be taken lightly as the platforms change and evolve so quickly.

Every product is unique, so crowdfunding will not suit everyone, as our experience taking Colandish to market will highlight. What has not changed since crowdfunding’s inception, are the guiding principles. These platforms are there to help you kick-start your business, work out who your target market is and think of your product, its message and the business behind it. If your product is suitable then this can help you get your product, its branded message and your business behind it right before committing to significant spend on tooling, marketing and logistics.