It's hard to believe it has already been a year! We have some exciting things planned for the remaining part of this year… that is got us thinking, maybe we should share a brief history of how we got here.
It all started about 2 years ago when I began dating Kegan's sister. At the time, we were each individually working on creative projects as hobbyists - family gatherings became mutual consulting sessions and we slowly got in the groove of creating ideas together. Once an engagement was on the table and we knew we would soon be family… We realized it was time to combine our diverse talents and backgrounds to build something bigger. Something together.
While we didn't have a company name at the time, KERO formed one year ago... in July 2012. We spent the first few months exchanging texts, voicemails, and emails sharing thoughts on what could be our first product. Our basic strategy was to identify a problem or inconvenience and try and brainstorm potential solutions from there. While we had a good list of some promising ideas - our first 'ah ha' moment (that didn't already exist) came when Apple introduced the 8 pin lightning tip for the iPhone 5. It only took a couple hard lessons to learn that we wished we had a this new cable with us all the time.
Once we had the idea for the Nomad Cable we began a series of search engine queries and various emails to anyone we found that might be able to help us. Without even sharing our idea, we found that so many people were responsive. Googling your research and respectfully emailing potential value adders is a great starting point. They may not give you the answer you are seeking, but they will more than likely better guide you in the right direction. We eventually landed where we need to be and got the materials necessary to prototype the Nomad by hand. At the time, we thought we had our manufacturer and pricing accurately quoted - the only thing left was to get our project funded!
After we got our Kickstarter campaign funded the honeymoon was over and the real marriage began. We were immediately set back about 1 month by learning our initial manufacturer as in fact not MFi certified. While we certainly weren't happy we did a good job of communicating new expectations. When there are setbacks or changes in your plans: Put yourself in your supporter's shoes and communicate what you would want to know if you were in there shoes. Even if there are no updates - communicate that there are no updates so no one feels forgotten!
Finally, after a 3 month setback our 3" traveling friends finally arrived in June 2013! We had all of our Kickstarter campaign labels presorted and ready, and even had our pre-orders from our website ready to ship as well. Months later we would learn that we had made a huge mistake and not even known it at the time. Saving $.30 a shipment domestically had cost us a lot more than a few dimes - we didn't have delivery confirmation on our shipments! This meant we had to reship several pledges and even preorders. Even worse, we paid for the bare minimum for our website and found out it was leaving the last characters of long addresses off = Return to Sender. Fortunately, we were wise enough to pull the plug quickly on our sketchy website and ante'd up for a quality site that streamlined our operation. Seek continuous improvement and assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Today we finally have a sense of pride in not only our product, but the service we are providing. We are still cleaning up the remnants of our mistakes from the past - but are confident in where we are headed because we are smart enough to know that we will never be perfect. This keeps us on our toes. Moving forward, our little 'family business' is something we hope to continue to keep growing. Our vision is to never be content or get comfortable - we feel that once you get comfortable you lose drive and get complacent… this is when a company gets 'fat'. After all, it's much easier to make it out the door to the gym when you are already standing vs. when you are nestled into your couch.
Just around the corner we will be launching our 2nd Kickstarter. We look forward to delivering a quality campaign and covering the angles we missed the first time. We harnessed a lot of pride this time around and are very excited to deliver on our timeline. Our hope is that you not only support us and share our project - but that you use our story as inspiration to take a step forward with your business curiosities. There are challenges and opportunities all around us, and in this day and age, the inspiration to the answers are a few emails and search queries away. Everyone has access to the same knowledge which means we are all on the same playing field - The future belongs to the curious.
5 keys to getting off the ground:
1) Act fast, don't become a victim of 'that was my idea!'
2) Research and email potential value adders
3) Put yourself in your supporter's shoes
4) Create an identity: Assess your strengths and weaknesses
5) Never get comfortable, keep moving