I want to tell you a story.
It’s a story about struggle.
About overcoming obstacles.
About eventually finding success…
It’s the story of the entrepreneur. Actually, in this case, it’s the story of two entrepreneurs (one of whom happens to be a good friend of mine). Their names are Anthony and Luke and they created and recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new product called “Torch – The World’s First Universal Coat Heater.”
Here’s a quick video in which they explain what their product is all about:
Pretty cool, huh? If you live in a frigid state (like I do), a coat heater like this is a must-have! And, while I think this product is incredible (and you should go order one like I did!), I personally like the story behind how they brought the product to market even better than the product itself.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Think. Make. Share. The whole point of that post was that the path of the entrepreneur is accessible- if you have a concept or idea for a product or business and you are willing to put the work in, you can go and bring that product or business to life.
Torch is a great example of this concept playing out in real life.
Anthony came up with the idea for Torch a few years back after spending some time in northern Michigan during the winter. To stay warm, he tried to find a slim-fitting / wearable heater for his coat. But he wasn’t able to find any long-lasting heater on the market. So he called up Luke and the two of them (both engineers) started developing the concept for an electric heater that could be inserted into any coat. After some tweaking, they settled on a design for the product that they thought would work.
Next, Anthony started sourcing materials for a prototype. He jumped on Alibaba.com and connected with several suppliers that were able to provide them with heat pads, batteries, and chargers. He also attempted to connect with a supplier that could take all of the individual materials and manufacture the full product for him. However, after working with several manufacturers in China, the end result was simply not right. No matter how much he explained what he was specifically looking for, they just couldn’t deliver. At the end of the day, the language barrier simply made it impossible for him to clearly communicate what he was looking for with regards to the finished design.
But these guys didn’t give up.
Anthony started looking around the US for additional suppliers and new materials. One of the materials he needed was fabric. So where was his first stop? Joanne Fabrics (I’m sure he felt comfortable walking around that store!). Unfortunately, Joanne just didn’t quite have the right fabric. But he didn’t give up. He kept searching and eventually he found the right fabric from a distributor out of Seattle.
At this point, they finally had all the materials they needed, but Anthony still couldn’t find anyone to manufacture the full product. So being a resourceful entrepreneur, Anthony reached out to the person anyone would reach out to in this situation…
… his mother-in-law.
That’s right, Anthony’s mother-in-law produced the first Torch prototype(sounds like he’s got a pretty cool mother-in-law!)! Using this first prototype, Anthony was better able to show manufacturers what the end product needed to look like. And after tireless searching, Anthony was finally able to connect with a manufacturer in Phoenix (that he found on google and had to call a few times to get everything worked out!) This manufacturer was able to complete a larger run initial prototypes that were in a finished state and was also able to take on a greater production volume once sales started to come in.
What a journey.
So all the pieces were in place (mostly!). They had a working design. They had all their suppliers lined up and a manufacturer on board. Now all they needed to do was find some customers.
Enter their Indiegogo campaign. For several months they spent time collecting e-mail addresses (via a landing page) of individuals that were interested in the product. Once they got a bunch of e-mail addresses, they launched a campaign on Indiegogo (which is a crowdfunding platform in case you didn’t know). The campaign launched only a couple of weeks ago and they have already had over 160 people back the project and they are 70% of the way to their $20,000 goal!
So why do I bring all of this up?
That’s easy- I bring it up to inspire you to act.
To show you that it is possible for you.
To demonstrate to you that launching your product or service or business is achievable!
Whatever your concept or idea, if you are willing to put in the work like Anthony and Luke, you will eventually find success. You may have to pivot a few times. You may come up against barriers. You may not know a particular language. Your suppliers may send you the wrong items. It may take you a long time to find reliable vendors or materials. You may need to have your mother-in-law produce your first prototype. You may have a hard time getting nice looking photos of your product given that it is meant to blend in and not be noticed… Etc.
So while you are living and writing your entrepreneur story, it will likely be a struggle.
But there is reward on the other side of that struggle.
And tools are out there within your reach. These tools are just waiting for you to pick them up and start making it happen- to start bringing your idea to life! It will be challenging, but it is possible. Just like Luke and Anthony, you can go and bring your product to life.
So go do it!!