How do you know that your business idea is a good one? Well, raising $37,455 on Kickstarter – a crowdfunding platform – isn’t a bad start. Especially when your target was actually lower than that, at $20,000.
Overall, there are 354 people in 37 countries that have supported Gabby Samkova’s business venture so far, which aims to reduce waste by recycling plastic bottles into towels.
Gabby is the founder of sustainable towel company ‘SomerSide,’ which is officially launching this month. The idea came to her when she was travelling around Bali and was confronted by the amount of plastic in the water. As an active surfer, this was something she was witnessing first-hand.
With this eye-opening realisation, Gabby did some research and found a gap in the market, creating an eco-friendly towel made with plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in landfill or in our oceans.
Gabby actually had this idea 2 years ago, at 23 years old, but explained that she parked the idea as she didn’t believe she had enough business experience. She went on to say, “the truth is no one has experience until they actually start their own business.”
“Once I moved to Bali and realised I always needed my travel towel, and also saw how big the plastic problem was over there, I decided that I needed to do this.”
SomerSide officially started in February of this year, but Gabby had to spend a lot of time finding a manufacturer that had the technology to create the product she had designed.
The crowdfunding was only launched in September, achieving almost double the target of $20k, and it was a starting place for Gabby to purchase her stock and get SomerSide off the ground.
“The crowdfunding space is a great way to test the market’s interest in a product,” said Gabby.
“From the moment I started in February and found a manufacturer, I knew I’d need to crowdfund and spent 6 months preparing for the launch.”
In the early days, Gabby did experiment with Facebook ads and a competition, but found that it was difficult to sign people up to pre-order a product, when they couldn’t receive it for a few months.
For SomerSide, the environmental motivations and values have been key to the success so far in selling the first round of stock.
Gabby said, “I think a very big aspect of SomerSide’s success was the sustainability aspect because even people who didn’t buy still believed and supported the message.”
Although she is young 25 year old business owner, Gabby has learned valuable skills from working since she was 15. Talking about her working background, she said “it’s certainly helped with my entrepreneurial journey because when you work on your own you expand into all areas of business; you’re the accountant, the CEO, the marketing manager, the content creator, the designer, the script writer, the visual director, customer service, operations and that’s only to name a few.
Gabby sees SomerSide growing internationally, and aims to make the product as eco-friendly as possible; “I really want to make the whole brand and customer journey as sustainable as possible, that’s really important to me. I look forward to expanding into the international market as well.”
Watch this space as SomerSide continues to grow from this starting point – Gabby is spreading the word by using influencers, Christmas markets and a website launch.
Dynamic Business will catch up with SomerSide in the coming months to see how the brand has grown and utilised the crowdfunding opportunity.