We had exposed the concept and prototypes to friends and family but the true validation came when we launched the memobottle on Kickstarter. We were exposed – the idea was out in the world and the people were going to decide. We quickly realized the potential of memobottle and its underlying message when we surpassed our funding goal of $15K within 36 hours. 45 days later the Kickstarter campaign finished – society had backed our concept and it has been full steam ahead ever since.
From October 2014 through to delivery in June 2015 we worked tirelessly (usually 15 hour days 6-7 days a week) developing, producing, testing and refining the memobottles so that the packaging and the overall experience stayed true to our original goals. During this time we spent two very hands-on months within our supplier’s factory on the production line until the quality of the memobottles met our requirements.
The ability of crowdfunding to generate exposure and present a problem/solution is truly remarkable. Without our Kickstarter backers the memobottle would still be a CAD file sitting on our computer. It allowed us to create a product, a business and an environmental movement all at once – we think about this fact a lot. By the end of the memobottle 45 day Kickstarter campaign we had raised enough capital to produce tooling, purchase the material required, secure domains globally and solidify our IP protection worldwide.
It also brought many challenges with it. Attempting to manage the interests and needs of over 6000 different personalities was difficult. Some backers wanted to be informed of every detail while others preferred to be removed from regular update emails. In hindsight, with the experience that we have gained from the entire campaign we would have communicated to our backers very differently. Transparency is key. Initially we were hesitant and sometimes sugar coating the production delays. Not everything goes to plan when bringing a new product to market – hurdles and production delays are somewhat inevitable. We were forced to switch manufacturing suppliers 3 months into production – communicating this to backers was extremely challenging – some were understanding, while others criticised intensely. This was all part of the Kickstarter experience though – and has helped us to really refine our communication with our customers and build it into our customer service codes.
The nine months between the Kickstarter launch and product delivery was the biggest and most exciting learning curve of our lives. It exposed us as individuals, threw us right into the deep end, and forced us to dive into areas of knowledge and expertise that we had never had exposure to before.