032 – Tony Yu – Kickstarting The Entrepreneurial Journey

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Summary:

In this episode, Tony Yu, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Vessi Footwear, reveals the psychology behind a successful Kickstarter campaign. Elliot and Tony discuss how he dove into entrepreneurship and the challenges he quickly encountered along his journey. Listen in to hear some tips on how to start a successful Kickstarter campaign – and learn why it’s so important to capture emotion when trying to convey your brand’s messaging.

Time Stamped Show Notes

  • 01:00 – Introducing Tony, the co-founder of Vessi Footwear who mastered the art of successful Kickstarter campaigns

[01:45] – How Tony became an entrepreneur 

  • 02:15 – It started with wanting to make his motorcycle gloves touchscreen compatible; he created a product and created a gate for e-commerce
  • 03:25 – He used Kickstarter to crowdfund the idea; he was pretty successful even just with the first idea
  • 4:00 – Kickstarter is great for getting start-up capital and validating your idea without giving up equity
  •  05:00 – Having a defined prototype or consumer-ready product is probably your best bet on Kickstarter
  • 05:10 – He learned by doing; he learned distribution, retail, etc. and learned he wasn’t ready to build a team 

[06:30] – On his challenges as an early entrepreneur

  • 06:48 – He learned that he needed a team and needed to delegate tasks; he realized this when he saw the extra work he couldn’t manage alone
  • 08:00 – They didn’t have a team in place at first; with smarter, skilled people, he could do more strategic planning and see things more clearly

[09:00] – How Vessi started

  • 09:15 – A friend had the idea and he got in to help with the Kickstarter
  • 09:45 – They own the entire vertical including the patents and distribution channels 
  • 10:10 – They’ve created a proprietary material that is lightweight, stylish, comfortable, and completely weatherproof

[11:05] – On utility and experience

  • 11:20 – The shoes are utilitarian, but they needed to capture the emotion of every activity where the shoes can be utilized
  • 12:30 – Kickstarter captures early adopters and people who purchase for someone’s own personal desires

[13:10] – The next step after Kickstarter

  • 13:20 – You refine the product and listen to the customer; Vessi is growing rapidly now 
  • 14:20 – Capture and convey the story and brand message; Vessi has a waterway in the shop so customers can experience the shoes for themselves

[16:00] – Getting buzz around the shops

  • 16:25 – They make sharable videos by city to get communities involved; controlling social media outlets is critical

[17:15] – Top tips for someone wanting to get on Kickstarter

  • 17:16 – Have a good product and figure out the direction you want your story to take so you connect with customers
  • 17:40 – Your video must convey an emotional connection to the story and product
  • 18:00 – Find a creative (videographer/designer/copywriter) whose past work is the style you want; don’t go for the cheapest option
  • 19:50 – Find specific needs your product fills and craft your messaging around those

3 Key Points

  1. It’s important to grow your team when trying to scale your business. 
  2. Learn by doing. 
  3. Capture emotion to effectively convey your brand.

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