Dropping your iPhone on the concrete or having your battery die while you are out is one of your worst nightmares. Welcome the Boomerang Case! This is by far one of the coolest and most practical products we’ve seen on a crowdfunding platform. Boomerang is an awesome iPhone 6/6s case that has a built in retractable charger so you will never have to worry about leaving your charger at home. The Boomerang Case team reached their $25,000 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo to bring their product to market. I got the chance to interview the Boomerang team and they dropped knowledge on how to prepare for and have a successful crowdfunding campaign.
1) Congratulations on reaching and surpassing your crowdfunding goal of $25,000! The Boomerang Case is one of those products that makes everyone think, “Duh!”. You would think this a phone case that should of always existed, but it hasn’t. When consumers have that thought, that’s usually a great thing for the whatever company produced it as it fills a great need. Tell us how the Boomerang Case came to fruition and how it went from a thought to a real product.
Boomerang was founded in May of 2015 by four college students, Ryan Bogle, Max Fashola, Martin Ramirez, and Rachel Rowe, a diverse group of millennials with backgrounds in app development, fashion design, graphic design, marketing, and branding. All four of us have struggled with keeping our cell phones charged and we knew that this was a widespread challenge. We’ve all experienced a time when we needed a charger but left it at home and, as a result, our batteries died. So instead of waiting around for someone else to bring this idea to market, we took action! Luckily, Ryan’s father was an electrical engineer for 31 years, and he had some friends with mechanical engineering experience who he knew would be a valuable asset to the team. From there, we added members to the team who we knew could bring value to sales and marketing, financing, and customer relations. Thus the Boomerang team was born!
We have spent the last year and a half developing a product that will not only be sound in quality, but will have the appeal that our targeted demographic wants. What Beats did for headphones, Boomerang will do for Smartphone cases.
That being said, the final step was deciding who our main customer audience was for this product. After a lot of back and forth between team members, the team decided to target the millennial-centric iPhone market first, undertaking a meticulous mechanical and electrical design process to ensure their product meets all of Apple’s standard safety and protection requirements.
2) Hardware and physical products have seen some sort of renaissance over the past few years with the introduction of crowdfunding. How much has crowdfunding helped you and the team with not only funding but marketing and market validation of the Boomerang Case?
Crowdfunding has helped our company in a lot of ways, especially in validating the market potential for the Boomerang case. We looked at Indiegogo as a platform where we could do a case study on how consumers would react to our product, and it worked out just as we expected it would. In just 35 or so days, we were able to hit our fundraising goal of $25,000!
What we liked most about crowdfunding, is that we were able to analyze everything from our users’ age & location, all the way to their online interests. This data has been very helpful in determining our marketing strategies moving forward.
3) How long did you and the team prepare for your crowdfunding campaign? What were steps you all took leading up the your successful launch?
In all honesty, our team only prepared about a month in advance before we launched our campaign. We focused very hard on our branded messaging on social media and our digital content because we knew that building a brand was just as important as creating the product. Through this heavily branded focus we were able to achieve a lot over the past two months, including receiving over 2.2 million Vine loops on our six-second video snippet demonstrating the lifestyle applications of our product. The response to our product was awesome, and from that point on, we knew we had a slam dunk!
But we did learn one important lesson: you really should plan several months, not just one month, ahead of launching a crowdfunding campaign. We were very lucky that we had a product that could almost sell itself, because during our whole campaign we barely received any press coverage. Of course, press coverage is crucial to raising awareness and influencing consumer purchasing.
So the best piece of advice we can give you, is make sure that you reach out to potential media outlets and publications several months before you are launching a campaign so, that you can get on their radar.
4) I must say the Boomerang Case is a beautifully designed and unique case. Bootleg phone products, especially cases, are known to pop up from overseas and populate the United States for cheap prices. What steps have you and the team undertaken to ensure your brand stands out enough to not be impacted by possible copycats.
The strategy and approach that we are taking to ensure that we don’t get knocked off overseas, is by aligning ourselves with the top Smartphone distributors and creating a case for their phones.
The key is to maintain leverage, and be the first to market. We’re also looking into possibly forming alliances with potential competitors, to strengthen our brand and produce a win-win for everyone!
The major differentiator for our Boomerang brand is our target market. If you look around at all the major mobile accessory companies, they have yet to single out the millennial demographic. The advantage that we have, is that we have millennial minds designing the touch, look and feel of the product as well as how it gets branded in a consumer’s mind. To put it simply, who better to create and sell a product, than the ones who understand the very problem that consumers are trying to solve?
5) Indiegogo is one of the two large donation based crowdfunding platforms, with the other being Kickstarter. What made you and the team decide to use Indiegogo instead of another platform?
The answer is simple, we decided to go with Indiegogo over Kickstarter because we noticed the participation and user trend for Technology on Indiegogo’s platform was much higher than on any other crowdfunding platform that we came across. So it made sense to go with a platform where the consumers/users are coming to see hardware and technology products.
The one upside to Kickstarter, is that more people are familiar with its brand than Indiegogo’s or other crowdfunding sites. This admittedly was a bit of a challenge for us, because we found ourselves having to explain Indiegogo to some people.
But, all that being said, we were happy with our choice. Indiegogo’s customer service has been more than helpful and we found their web and mobile platform a little cleaner in design than other crowdfunding sites. If you are thinking about launching a hardware or a tech product, we would suggest Indiegogo 100%.
6) What’s your biggest piece of advice for future entrepreneurs who will be starting a crowdfunding campaign?
The answer to that question is simple: Plan ahead! The biggest mistake you can make is not to have all of your “ducks in a row”. Make sure that you have identified your press outlets, think about your brand messaging, start social media early (especially Twitter & Instagram), and be ready to be involved with your campaign and backers on a daily basis. And whatever you do, do not look at this as “easy money.” Crowdfunding is an art, and if you do not go about it the right way, it can really affect the success of your campaign.
Lastly, have fun with it! Learn from your users, collect data from the analytics, get people hyped about being an early adopter. The best part of any startup is the startup!
7) Hardware is known to be such a hard sector to get into even with the emergence of crowdfunding. From logistical issues to packaging and most importantly manufacturing, what tips do you have for the entrepreneur who is beginning their hardware crowdfunding journey?
We strongly recommend learning as much as you can about how manufacturing companies work; how they function; the standards upon which manufacturing companies are measured in terms of quality and efficiency (e.g. International Organization for Standardization or ISO), and we recommend studying successful companies that are in the hardware business and what makes them leaders. Having a team member with manufacturing experience helped us tremendously.
Becoming a hardware company involves many moving parts that must harmoniously work together to produce a quality product. We spent a lot of time understanding the complex processes involved in manufacturing. We brought on the right people to help us understand and maximize the benefits of supply chain. We selected “the right manufacturing partners” based on a number of criteria including work culture, corporate values and how they treat their people.
The advantage of being first with a product like Boomerang is we get a major lead on the market, allowing us to stay five steps ahead of any future competition with continuous innovations and solid legal protection. It’s important to keep conceiving and creating and producing the next great idea, even as we’re launching this one.
8) I have a an iPhone 6+ and my personal favorite Boomerang Case is the Stealth Black cover. I know you love all of the cases but which color case is going on your iPhone first?
We are going to be releasing all of the color waves that you see on our campaign! We have three main colors (Black, White and Red), and seven different metallic logo finishes, my personal favorite being the Rose Gold collection.
But be on the lookout for more colors in the future!
9) Can we expect to see the Boomerang Case in brick and mortar stores in the near future?
Yes and our fans are so excited! We are working with experts from the mobile retail industry and we are well positioned with our distribution partners and strategy.
To learn more about the Boomerang Case and for purchase info checkout their website HERE!