We recently had an idea to launch a new product called ‘The Holda‘, named after our first product the Opena Case (iPhone Bottle Opener). The Holda case is an iPhone case design to hold an ID, credit card, some cash and a house key. When launching our first product, the Opena case, the media attention played a huge part in the product’s success. We wanted to try and capture that same “hype” however, to be honest, a case that holds credit cards isn’t really that exciting.
So to generate some media interest, we decided to have a bit of fun with the idea and launch the product under a different name with a different function. We came up with the name ‘Playa Case’ and decided to push the fact that it holds two condoms, because as they say “sex sells”. So we made an especially awkward video using some prototypes and we released the video on April Fools Day.
One thing I’ve learnt about releasing content to the press, is that it’s better to start at the top and let it spread from there. Instead of sending the video to every site on the net (I’ve tried that), I ran the concept past Gizmodo and they loved the fact that it was a real product with a twist released on April Fools day. Gizmodo posted the video with a story and within the week 250,000 more people knew about the Playa case and Annex Products. Based on this awesome response, and 1000′s of people signing up to purchase the Playa case, we have decided to do a limited edition run. As a bonus, with the extra traffic to www.openacase.com, the Opena sales rose for about 2 weeks. We have even had new resellers and distributors contact us and the best thing is that the public have started to suggest that another use for the Playa case is the actual the function of the Holda.
In all I’d call this little publicity stunt a success because it took very little effort to organise, the cost was low and the return was high.
In January as part of winning our category of the Shopify ‘Build a Business’ competition, we were rewarded with a trip to New York where we met blogger, author and all round nice guy Seth Godin. For those of you who don’t know Seth, he has written thirteen best sellers that have been translated into more than thirty languages and single handily writes one of the most read blogs on the net. He sold one of his companies, Yoyodyne, to Yahoo in 1998 for 30 million (in ’98 30 million was a lot) and has been consistently called “America’s Greatest Marketer”.
All his accomplishments aside, Seth is a really well-centred individual and I was extremely impressed by him. I wasn’t only impressed by that fact that he cooked us lunch, but how he deconstructed complicated business direction and marketing problems to make them super simple, to the point that the individual he was helping would come up with their own solution.
Having read a few of Seth’s books and being some what familiar with his way of thinking I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was, but everything seemed to be easy for him and I left thinking that things really are only as complicated or as simple as you make them.
WARNING: the following information is not guaranteed to work, nor is it financial advice. This post is just a few tips based on my own personal experience.
Since successfully funding our first project the Opena Case on Kickstarter I have been asked over and over again “how’d you get on Kickstarter if you’re Australian” or “how’d you get an Amazon Payments account as an Australian”. Well as I explained in my previous post How to run a Kickstarter project if you’re not a US citizen? the first time we ran a project on Kickstarter we used my sisters detail who lives in the US, but I do now know how to run a Kickstarter project which relies on having an Amazon Payments account hooked up to an American bank account. Before we start I must mention that the process will cost you, but if you have an idea worth Kickstarting then I think it’s worth it.
Shopify have announced the winners of the 2011 Build-a-Business Competiton. The competition was entered by over 3,000 entrepreneurs who created brand new online stores and sold over $12 million during the competition period. The grand prize is $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet with Timothy Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Congratulations to the overall winner Coffee Joulies – www.joulies.com
Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo are two mechanical engineers from New Jersey. Similarly to us they crowd funded the capital on Kickstarter to fund the creation of Coffee Joulies. They’re one of Kickstarters most successful projects, and now one of Shopify’s fastest growing online stores. I’m now personally looking forward to meeting “The Dave’s” in New York along with all the other category winners.
We (www.openacase.com) were lucky enough to also win our category along with 5 other awesome category winners as seen in the infographic on the left, click the image for a larger view of the whole thing. Chris and I are both super stoked to have taken out the category prize for the “Other” section of the competition. The category prize is pretty awesome too with $25,000 in cash, a VIP trip to New York, a power session to Seth Godin and $7500 worth of Google AdWords credit.
It’s also worth noting that 3 out of the 8 winners were funded on Kickstarter which shows jus how may great Sartups are emerging from Kickstarter. We also love the fact that only 8% of the entrepreneurs who entered the competition were from Australia, but that 38% of the winners are Australian including Flock-stocks, My Footy Boots and us (Opena Case). Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!!
Melbourne Geek’s Article on our success in the Shopify Comp. Melbourne Blog
Thought I’d throw together a few pointers to help others wanting to start up their own online business. The information you’ll find below is based on my experience, over the last 6 months, using these simple strategies and online tools we were able to sell 1000′s of units all over the globe in a matter of months. Both my business partner, Chris Peters,and I have now quit our day jobs and are currently launching other online stores.
UPDATE 1/03/2011 – With these strategies we were also able to win our category in the Shopify Build-a-Business Competition for 2011 with a $25,000 cash prize, all expenses trip paid to NY, power session with Seth Godin and $7,500.00 of Google AdWords credit.
I don’t want to go into details about products or business ideas, but rather the mechanics of setting up an online business and the awesome tools available to entrepreneurs today. It’s never been easier to setup an online business and start making money straight away.
Lately I’ve been asked many question by both friends and complete strangers on topics from starting a business to marketing a product. I don’t have all the answers but the one thing I keep finding myself repeating is the importance of starting. I truly believe that starting is the hardest but also the most important part of the whole process and if you can’t get past it then nothing else matters.
Best part is when they cross to an “Expert”
Opena Case was reviewed today on 12KFVS but I really don’t think they are our target market. Still in saying that any publicity is good publicity and the order came in shortly after!
During our trip to the US we signed an exclusive worldwide distribution agreement with Forward Industries. We meet with Forward while at CES in Las Vegas and then flew to Santa Monica to hash out an agreement. Press release below.
Annex Products, the inventor of the Opena® case and Quad Lock, announces an exclusive worldwide distribution partnership with Forward Industries (NASDAQ:FORD), a leading global provider of mobile technology solutions. The partnership includes the distribution of all Annex Products, beginning with the Opena® case and Quad Lock mounting system, two top performing iPhone 4 case accessories.