How often do you think, “Damn, I really need a flexible, life-like, newborn doll”? Probably never. But Sandra Moffatt did and so did her many customers who purchased half a million dollars worth of the StandInBaby dolls in their first year! With a desperate need to solve her own business problems and through an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, Sandra has figured out how to stand out from the crowd and established herself as an expert on how to run the perfect pre-sale launch.
The StandInBaby (SIB) is a niche product and the first in the newborn photography industry. This doll is more than your regular BabyBorn; it rotates, moves and feels just like a newborn child. But why is this so important for this specialised industry? “Prior to our training aide the only way to learn newborn photography was to get a new baby and give it a go. I didn’t want to teach anyone [in such an unsafe] way and I didn’t want it coming back on my business and my reputation,” Sandra admits. However, doing it all herself was not an option either, with her booming business Moffatt Photography “I had a [photography assistant] who pretty much overnight had a breakdown and didn’t come back. It actually happened at the start of our peak busy period,” remembered Sandra. Realising she had a problem, Sandra was far more productive than just complaining about it. She overcame her own pain point and designed the very first newborn photography teaching aide with 62 intricate and specially designed pieces.
However, an innovative product alone isn’t enough to recreate Sandra’s success. She admits that Kickstarter was a massive benefit, “We decided that Kickstarter was going to be our market test; it would make or break whether we would move forward with the business.” Kickstarter was also great in building awareness and excitement around Sandra’s new product, “the hype and the excitement that [Kickstarter] generated is actually what propelled us forward even after the campaign ended.”
“We decided that Kickstarter was going to be our market test; it would make or break whether we would move forward with the business.”
But why did Sandra’s Kickstarter campaign get noticed amongst the tens of thousands run each year? “About 4 months prior to the launch I told some really influential worldwide photographers [about SIB]. I got them on board to ask about colours and functionality.” This was a very clever move by Sandra. She ensured that some pretty big names in the newborn photography industry were a part of the design process and quickly became advocates for the new teaching aide. This came in handy when it came time to promote the Kickstarter campaign, as these industry influencers happily and actively endorsed SIB across their large audiences. “They naturally promoted it. I never asked them to,” Sandra explained.
This promotion by key industry giants definitely gave SIB the edge it needed and propelled this Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 in only 4 hours. “We were crying, we didn’t know when it was going to stop!”
If you’re about to launch a new product or service you should definitely try Sandra’s method: test your market through Kickstarter and enlisting influencers in your industry to be a part of the design process. At the very least you learn what your target customers are interested in, or you could even make half a million dollars in pre-sales!
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