Written by: Colin Trethewey
In January 2015 when entrepreneur Hiral Sanghavi arrived at his finance’s apartment after a long flight from Chicago to San Francisco, he was missing his travel pillow – again. It was a common theme in this long-distance relationship. Hiral would depart with a new travel pillow on his weekly commutes from San Fran to Chicago and at some point, he would lose it.
On this January night Hiral and his fiancé decided it was time to solve this problem.
What came next was the beginning of a journey from a great idea, to a first attempt at crowdfunding, to one of the most successful products in the history of Kickstarter.
The solution to the lost pillow syndrome was to design a jacket with a travel pillow built-in, and in the process, design a travel jacket that solved every travel challenge.
The BauBax Travel Jacket was born, and its quick inflating pillow, sleeping hood eye-mask, hand warmers, zipper pen/stylus, koozie drink holder, and 15 pockets for gadgets of all sizes, took off with consumers and crowdfunding backers.
Early media headlines included “The Swiss Army Knife of Travel Jackets” and “a Travel Jacket Becoming of James Bond”. In two short months 45,000 consumers ordered 75,000 jackets helping BauBax raise $9.2-million on Kickstarter – at the time, the 4th highest total in the crowdfunding site’s history, and still the most funded apparel crowdfunding product ever.
So what went right? Well, a lot of things, including:
A great product that solves a problem that everyone can relate to (we have all had sleepless, uncomfortable, long flights)
A product with tech appeal – custom designed pockets fit iPads/Smartphones/earbuds
A high-energy entrepreneur willing to do whatever it takes to make the campaign a success
A Facebook ad strategy – Crowdfunding campaigns benefit greatly from properly executed targeted FB ads.
An effective PR/media-outreach campaign to generate buzz on top sites with editorial earned media stories, and getting those stories posted on their social platforms for viral spread
Crowdfunding provides a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect directly with consumers. With crowdfunding, “backers” pre-order and if the product gets enough backers the funds are raised to manufacture the product. With the right product and the proper execution, Crowdfunding can help entrepreneurs propel a concept from an idea to a successful retail product.
Colin would like to share this, and the most effective Crowdfunding PR tactics, with you at the Focus on Entrepreneurs Conference April 27-28, 2017 in beautiful St. Petersburg, FL. Get your tickets to the conference FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs here.