For this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Kasper Petersen of Labfresh, a new line of odor-, stain- and wrinkle-repellent shirts. Tune in to learn more about launching a new product and how to create a successful Kickstarter project.

LABFRESH – Odor, Stain & Wrinkle Repellent Cotton Shirt


Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to handle pricing challenges
  • How launching with crowdfunding can help you acquire venture capital
  • How using Kickstarter Live can help you get more pledges
  • What type of content to offer when livestreaming on Kickstarter
  • How to create a good Kickstarter video

Links

Connect with LabFresh

Sponsors

FIN 2000X2000Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 25% off!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

Transcript

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Roy Morejon:

This episode of Art of the Kickstart is sponsored by Backerkit, Backerkit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data and manage orders for fulfillment, by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. Plus if you want to create and send surveys, offer add-ons and pledge upgrades or begin accepting pre orders, Backerkit makes it simple.

Over 2,000 projects and 4 million backers have used Backerkit, including many of the projects featured on Art of the Kickstart. Ready to try Backerkit? Visit Backerkit.com and sign up today.

Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host Roy Morejon, president of Command Partners, the top, full service crowdfunding marketing agency in the world.

We have helped raised over 70 million dollars for our clients since 2010. Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur or a business expert in order to help take your start up to the next level with crowdfunding.

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome projects. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyers guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. To learn more visit the Gadgetflow.com, now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart! Today I am joined by Kasper Peterson with the LABFRESH.

Kasper, thanks for joining us

Kasper Petersen:

Thanks for inviting me Roy.

Roy Morejon:

Okay, so LABFRESH, this was a very successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in odor and stain-repellent cotton shirt. Kasper, give us the story.

Kasper Petersen:

Yeah, the story is that; like a lot of other men I was in a previous job forced to wear a shirt and a tie and a suit everyday, and I ended up working, not in Denmark where I’m from, where its very cold and you don’t sweat that much but I ended up working in the middle east in Africa and Asia. So I was very much used to always having a second shirt in my backpack … then during my previous start up we stumbled upon some very smart scientists in Paris, who was working on this technology and we thought that we wanted to use our commercial acumen to bring it to the market.

Roy Morejon:

So this technology, this INDUO, tell our audience what that’s all about.

Kasper Petersen:

In general there’s of course many different ways that you can develop fabrics and make them smart, but in general we look at it as, what can you say, the treatment that happens on a molecular level and then on coatings. So the reason why we really like this INDUO technology is because it treats the fibers on its own, and it does so so that when you get the fabric in your hand you can clearly feel that its very natural, and that it doesn’t seem like it has any chemicals, there’s no raincoat effect or anything like that. So the benefit of this technology is that it feels very premium and luxurious and you can breath in it. The downside to that, is that its not 100% stain proof, or 100% antibacterial, or anything like that because its not just possible to do that and then still keep a natural, breathable, feeling in the fabric.

Roy Morejon:

Certainly. So when you guys were creating these shirts, what was that process like?

Kasper Petersen:

I think in some ways it has been untraditional, because we were sitting in another country, in Germany, and we were ordering a lot of samples, my co-founder and I, which also happens to be my life partner. So we were just ordering a lot of swatches from a lot of different technology providers and we were testing and throwing red wine and stuff on it in our kitchen, and then, reading a bunch of … thousands of papers to figure out who has the right thing going on here.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting. So what was the biggest thing you guys encountered while designing the product?

Kasper Petersen:

What we realized quite early on also from testing it with various people from our network, because we’ve been working in fashion for some years; what we realized was if we want people to pay the price that we need to charge, because its expensive to produce, we need to charge 99 euros, and to do that this shirt has to look as good and feel as nice as any other 99 euro shirt you can get from a bigger brand. So, that was the biggest challenge. To make it a product that is also very fashionable and very premium.

Roy Morejon:

So how did you and your partner decide that crowdfunding was the right channel to launch your company?

Kasper Petersen:

Well in some ways, its the only channel for me, if we wanted to do something with a physical product, because I had a relatively big start up before and in order to leave that and do something new I also want to know there’s a consumer demand for the product, and that’s why I love Kickstarter, and that’s why I buy stuff from Kickstarter all the time. Its simply because you can test it that’s a product [inaudible 00:05:16] and within in a month you know that … should you quit your job an go all in and build a new company.

Roy Morejon:

Now you and your life partner quit your jobs right, and just went all in on this?

Kasper Petersen:

Yeah, yeah we quit the jobs before Kickstarter but uh we had a bunch of different ideas of what could be fun to do. Where this was the thing we really wanted to do but it was not in the cards to build a start up like that because in the traditional technology scene if you want to raise venture capital as they did in the past this is not a fundable project for most venture capitalists, they just don’t like physical products and big warehouses in the countryside and so on. So by launching it on Kickstarter, now we can show everyone in a month that this is a very attractive product to consumers and furthermore we barely spent money on marketing and we barely prepped it beforehand. We [inaudible 00:06:08]  apart of what we wanted to prove as well so, for example, we only had 120 email sign ups before we launched.

Roy Morejon:

So that’s pretty low, how come you guys didn’t spend more time on the prep work in terms of pre launch?

Kasper Petersen:

I was not really allowed to in a lot of ways because I had to exit my previous start up first and there’s a lot of anti competition clauses.

Roy Morejon:

Never fun with those. So, lets talk about the active Kickstarter campaign. You guys used Kickstarter’s new live stream feature. Tell us a little bit about your experience there.

Kasper Petersen:

That’s something I would recommend to anyone who starts a Kickstarter, mainly because its good for your brand but also because its a lot of fun. It really makes you feel like you’re doing something extraordinary and something that’s not just selling products on a website. We got so many questions on the live stream. A lot of people watched it afterwards as well. We even had quite a few new pledges coming in during the live stream.

Roy Morejon:

That’s always nice, so what were some of the things you covered during the live stream? How did backers respond?

Kasper Petersen:

The backers were very technology-oriented so they wanted to see also live that we would throw some ketchup and red wine and so on, on our shirt, just to make sure that … so that they see how easy it is to get it off that its something that we can do in our kitchen instead of doing it the studio or laboratory or whatever.

Roy Morejon:

So they just wanted to see you guys get messy huh?

Kasper Petersen:

Yeah, that was one part of it, and then they just wanted to ask questions, about how to wash it, and can I bring it to the dry cleaner, and how does it work with beetroot juice or whatever.

Roy Morejon:

Impressive. So what was the biggest surprise that you guys encountered during the campaign?

Kasper Petersen:

The biggest surprise was probably that 60% of the backers are actually from the U.S. We have big networks in our countries, in the Netherlands, and in Denmark, which is also the second and the third biggest country of backers for us but all the attention we got from countries that are not our home countries. We had never imagined that … would reach us [inaudible 00:08:15]  level.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting, So what advice would you give to someone else looking to Kickstart their clothing line.

Kasper Petersen:

Well, when you do it on Kickstarter, I would say that … this is so cliché of course, but the video is just so damn important, and its important to be personal. There’s plenty of campaigns that raise a lot of money without really showing the founders but the reason why we could do it with no budget and with no real preparation, I think very much, was because we put on our faces on it. We talk about blood and ketchup all the time, and the journalists loved that angle. We saw several headlines in big media that literally said “ketchup and blood is launching a shirt.” The second thing that really really help I think that will make a difference is that you just have a product that there’s a clear demand for.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, yeah definitely, solid advice there. So where are you guys headed off to next when the project ends? What’s next for the brand?

Kasper Petersen:

Well, first we have to focus on producing some really, really high quality shirts because we actually didn’t have more than 25 shirts in total so far, so we put in orders of three different batches and also for the blue color that we also offer we’ve never produced more than a couple of meters of that. So now we suddenly have to produce thousands of meters. So it has to go through 15 different steps in Europe and in Asia in order to get it all ready, and once we have rammed up, [inaudible 00:09:44] make the supply chain ready for this kind of volume then we open up the web shop, and we might even talk to some retail partners, and then we try to get broader audience.

Roy Morejon:

Excellent, sounds like big things on the way for LABFRESH. So Kasper this get us into our launch round where I’m going to rapid fire a few questions at you, you good to go?

Kasper Petersen:

Okay, that sounds cool.

Roy Morejon:

So, What inspired you ultimately to become an entrepreneur?

Kasper Petersen:

Um, yeah that’s hard to say, do I also have to rapid answer.

Roy Morejon:

Ha, ha, not necessarily, no.

Kasper Petersen:

I think what inspired me to become an entrepreneur was the ability to make things go much, much faster than in the company I previously worked in. That was the biggest company in Denmark called Maersk and doing container shipping, they have offices, like, several hundred offices around the globe, and you have to do a lot of stakeholder management almost no matter what you need to do it, and I just don’t have the patience for that. So the biggest joy I get out of my every day life is when I had a whole day, and I was sitting in front of my computer for 12 hours in a row and I forgot to eat and forgot about time, and I just got a lot of shit done.

Roy Morejon:

Those are the good days right? So Kasper if you could put a LABFRESH shirt on any entrepreneur throughout history who would it be?

Kasper Petersen:

Any entrepreneur throughout history? Well I would love to put it on Elon Musk. He’s still alive, it doesn’t have to be someone whose dead I assume. So, I just, I really liked the way he looked at a market and disrupted it even though there was no, sort of, clear road map on how other people would like it, or how to get investments. He just blindly trusted that this could actually happen and that the industry was so old school, so that he would have the time to build something up before they would start imitating him. It’s the same for us, the fashion brands are really really slow at adding new technologies so hopefully we can get really far before Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren and so on they start inventing similar technologies.

Roy Morejon:

So if you could only ask Elon one question, what would it be?

Kasper Petersen:

I would ask him about his morning routines … and his learning routines so to speak.

Roy Morejon:

Good call. Are there any business books or life book that you’re currently reading that you would recommend to our listeners?

Kasper Petersen:

I’m not really sure which ones make the most sense, the last one I finished was a “Zero to One,” but I would not necessarily recommend it.

Roy Morejon:

Sure

Kasper Petersen:

So … let me just go to my bedside table, I have a book lying there called “Tools of Titans” but I’m not entirely sure what the name is, its Chris something, you know it?

Roy Morejon:

Is that the Tim Ferris book?

Kasper Petersen:

Oh Yes, sorry Tim Ferris … Yes “Tools of Titans” that’s the one on my bed table right now

Roy Morejon:

Yeah its like a novel that things six or seven hundred pages, I’m working my way through it now.

Kasper Petersen:

Yeah its huge, and its great to read before you go to bed, of course you can take only a couple stories at a time and then you can fall asleep.

Roy Morejon:

Exactly, So, where do you see yourself in five years?

Kasper Petersen:

In five years I would very much like to have rolled out our first brand to cover a lot of categories, some pants and underwear and t- shirts, and … by then we will be able to transform with this technology and then we would very much like to roll out with our own flagship stores around Europe.

Roy Morejon:

Excellent, last question of launch fire round, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Kasper Petersen:

I hope that it will split up a little more so that you get some platforms that are also more focused on less technological projects, so right now Kickstarter is a mess of so many different projects and sometimes there’s a really cool project that I don’t notice because they’re drowning in something else. So a more curative experience and based on niche.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting, Interesting, well Kasper you’ve been great. Please give our audience your pitch, tell us what you’re all about, where people should go and why they should go buy a LABFRESH shirt.

Kasper Petersen:

All right, well, at Labfresh we are all about creating the next generation of smart fabrics. So right now its shirts, and also ties, but in the future it will hopefully be a lot more. The whole idea is that as a man you spend way to much time on chores, and that time could have been spent on the more exciting things in life. So we want you do less laundry, and less ironing, and still look your best, and at the same time we also want to fight this fast fashion culture. Where people are buying a lot of clothes for very cheap prices at H&M or Gap or whatever, and then they wear it a few times, it breaks in the seams or something like that, and then they just buy something new. We want to create products that last for many years and that you don’t grow tired of because the design is timeliness.

Roy Morejon:

Excellent, Kasper, you’ve been great. Audience thank you again for tuning in, make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all the show notes, the full transcript and links to everything we talked about today, and of course thank you again to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and Backerkit. Kasper thanks so much for joining us today.

Kasper Petersen:

Yeah, Thanks for contacting me. Thanks.

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart. The show about building a better business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s show be sure to visit artoftheKickstart.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. If you love this episode leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.com/itunes – it helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find the show, and helps us get better guests on here to help build your business. If you need a more hands on crowdfunding strategy please feel free to request a quote on commandpartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you soon.