Photographer Ron Henry knew his camera strap was a winner. Now he just needed to get the word out on the cheap.
The Company: BlackRapid
Start-up Funds: $5,000 for a website, banner advertising, and product samples
After 15 years as a professional photographer, Ron Henry wondered why he had never come across a comfortable camera strap that positioned his camera readily for quick shots. After pondering the idea for a few months, he went to a local hardware to buy materials to make his own strap. The resulting creation allowed his camera to hang upside-down at his side and glide into place easily when he was ready to shoot. It also minimised strain on his back and shoulder, which got him thinking: Could I make a business out of this?
Shortly after, Henry launched his Seattle start-up, BlackRapid, with just $5,000 borrowed from Kurt Peterson, a long-time friend and entrepreneur. He tapped a nearby manufacturer to source materials and produce a first run of 80 straps. With the rest of his start-up funds, he set up a website for taking orders that also included a demo video produced by a friend for free. He also bought a banner ad on Digital Wedding Forum, an online community for wedding and portrait photographers. On January 1, 2008, BlackRapid made its first sale.
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