How many times have you seen a Kickstarter and thought, “Why haven’t I thought of that?” Well, one 24-year-old anonymous entrepreneur, we’ll call “Tom” has taken that to the next level. When Tom sees a great Kickstarter idea, he leaps on it. Instead of investing, Tom tries to bring the new products to market. What’s even crazier is that his strategies are actually working. In just a few months, he’s made $345,000!
Reinventing the Knockoff
Tom saw an Indiegogo campaign for a product called KAISR. KAISR was an inflatable lounge chair made of parachute material, and its campaign was going viral. Tom’s research on the product led him to realize that the idea itself wasn’t unique. Five years earlier, he found, the Lamzac inflatable lounge chair had gone viral.
The only thing new was the social media buzz surrounding the newest crowdfunding campaign. Tom began an experiment to see if he could produce his own successful knockoff. He started with a few product samples from manufacturers from China and developed his knock-off product called The Cozy Bag.
Testing the Idea
With just under $5,000 of initial funding and no experience, Tom and a partner started their Cozy Bag company. They bought 250 knockoff air lounges, a domain name, and a few Square credit card readers.
They spent hours and hours building brand awareness and getting followers on social media. And their hard work paid off! In just a couple weeks, the team had sold out and had made nearly $100,000 in revenue. With their first success story under their belt, Tom and his partner were ready for more.
The Next Big Thing
Tom found that the next big thing from Kickstarter was the Fidget Cube. It was one of the top 10 most funded projects in Kickstarter history.
Essentially, the Fidget Cube was a small six-sided toy with clickers, joysticks, and buttons. It promised to give anxious people an outlet that they could hold in a single hand. A manufacturing issue had caused a delay in deliveries, which is when Tom sprung to action.
Repeating the Knockoff Strategy
Seeing an opening, Tom placed a bulk order of 1,000 similar plastic cubes for about $5,000. He set up a new website, ready to launch his newest Kickstarter knockoff, the Stress Cube, for $19.99 each. Tom again leveraged social media to build sales.
“One Instagram ad can, in three days, generate $30,000 in sales,” says Tom. They were selling over 100 Stress Cubes a day. Their success had grown so wildly that Tom and his partners had to bring on contractors and rent out a small office space to help handle all the shipments.
Now, Tom says he’ll continue using Kickstarter to fuel his knockoff empire. “I’m checking [Kickstarter] every other day to see if there’s any new information,” he says.
Tom’s experience is proof that e-commerce is changing how businesses operate. “You can be profitable within four days,” says Tom. His recipe for success hasn’t steered him wrong yet! His goal is to have 1- new product lines in the next five years. If he’s successful, it will make him one of the most successful under-30 entrepreneurs in history.
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