From the Shark Tank to University Dorms -- Unshrinkit’s Unique Growth to Success
We’ve always hated the way our wool, cashmere or whichever article of clothing gets shrunk in the wash -- especially when we pay a hundred or over for our quality sweaters. To remedy this panic, Unshrinkit.com devised a chemical solution that can actually return your clothing to normal size. An idea so well executed, they were successfully funded on Shark Tank.
In the Twenty-First episode of Skubana’s E-Commerce Mastery Series where we invite experts of their respected fields to share their best practices for success, our host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz of InspiredInsider.com interviews Desiree Stolar of Unshrinkit.com
What this interview covers:
- Unshrinkit’s unfortunate experience with Shark Tank’s airdate, and all precautions they took to prepare for sales.
- The surprising focused consumer groups that Unshrinkit learned to target.
- The strategy to their Shark Tank approach and how they received an investment from Mark Cuban
- Best practices for inventing your own product and marketing it correctly.
- The importance of sales forecasting.
Raw Transcript: Desiree Stolar of Unshrinkit.com
[00:18:14] Desiree: Customer service, for us, was particularly important. When we did our first iteration of our product, we didn't focus on it too much, and we realized, if you have something that is brand new to the market and you're creating a brand new category, a brand new product, you have to be overly proactive in reaching out and helping people.
[00:18:34]Jeremy: So what have you learned from customer feedback?
[00:18:37] Desiree: One, that you have to stay even keeled, because you're usually going to get the happiest of people and the most upset of people. It's going to seem as though it's a roller coaster in which people love and hate your product, but in the grand scheme of things, what we discovered is about 90%, 95% of people never reach out to us at all. You're seeing the extremes in terms of people and their usage of the product. And then to always exercise a great deal of patience. We have worked with this product day in and day out now for two years. We know it backwards and forwards. If someone has just heard about our product, and they watch a ten minute snippet on Shark Tank, and they were eating dinner while they watched it, and the kid was running around doing something, all they really captured was something to unshrink clothes. They might not have caught part where you said it's for wool or cashmere, or wool blends. They might not have caught the part where they need to actually mix it with warm water. You know, to treat people as you would treat your grandmother, in terms of... It takes her a little bit longer to pick up on it, and/or she doesn't have as much context, but you should be just as caring and just as patient with her as you are with [inaudible 00:19:52]
- On Consumer Focus [00:44:16] Desiree: Well, one, our assumption going in was that it was gonna be metropolitan areas. It was gonna be a quarter metropolitan areas, and that it was gonna be mainly moms. What came out was that, from a genders distribution, it was 60/40 female male that, in terms of location, we were getting suburbia, as well as what I'd call residential areas outside of a city, as well as the city itself. Not a lot on the rural side. I want to say that's probably because they might do a better job of taking time to wash their clothes. We're still working out the assumptions there. But then, more importantly, that we were in the pockets that were rural, it was because it was near a university. So a good example of that... So, let me think of a good one.
- [00:45:32] Desiree: So one of the things that we're actually building out right now is a mini sales force of students at those universities. We do have contacts at the bookstores, but the faster way to do it is to get it into people who will be, in many ways, an ambassador for you in the campus, actually talk about it to other people, use it, have it in their room. That's one of the ways that we feel it's gonna work faster. I'm a huge... This is probably because I'm entrepreneur, but I'm a huge fan of [inaudible 00:46:04] bureaucracy, and when you go top down, and you have to go to the university, and then the bookstore, and get on the shelf, and then there's placement fees and [inaudible 00:46:11]. That can be a whole year before you're in front of the student.
Be sure to utilize this real insight from a real marketing expert to help your e-commerce business grow and succeed. Stay tuned – this will be an ongoing weekly series featuring a variety of e-commerce experts looking to provide you with hard-won knowledge free of charge.
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.