What does it take to come up with an innovative approach to solve bedwetting? How can a simple product remove the stigma of bedwetting an insolvency? On this episode, Craig Hammond joins the podcast to discuss his product, Peejamas. In our conversation, Craig touches on the process of developing Peejamas, hurdles and challenges he faced along the way, why he chose the crowdfunding route, the key to early crowdfunding success and much more! You don’t want to miss a minute of this engaging and educational episode featuring Craig and Peejamas!   

Developing a solution to bedwetting.

What are some of the challenges in developing an apparel product for crowdfunding? Why go through all the difficulties to create such a unique product? On this episode, you’ll hear from Craig Hammond as he opens up about Peejamas and the amazing solution it brings to the marketplace. The reason why Craig developed Peejamas comes down to the simple and common frustration that most parents encounter while trying to potty train their children. Craig took that frustration and repurposed it into innovation and went to work creating Peejamas. To hear more about Craig’s story and how he developed this great solution to bedwetting, make sure to check out this engaging episode!

Taking a new product to the crowdfunding community.

When an innovator comes up with a new product idea, what makes them take that idea to the crowdfunding community? Why has the crowdfunding route become such a draw for entrepreneurs and creatives? According to Craig Hammond, it all comes down to connecting with the right target audience and creating a valid sales channel. While the target audience that Craig is trying to reach with Peejamas doesn’t usually spend their time on Kickstarter, he saw it as an opportunity to display market validation, proof of concept and fundraising goals with his innovative product. Learn more about the journey of Peejams with Craig on this episode!

Pre-campaign efforts that paid off.

What can an entrepreneur do to set their crowdfunding campaign up for success before it even begins? Are there steps they can take to put their product in the best position for early success? On this episode, you’ll hear some tips and insights from Craig Hammond that allowed his product, Peejamas to find early success. Craig points to the fact that many of his friends and family helped his product reach its fundraising goal as the reason it was able to gain early momentum. While this group played an important role, they only made up 30% of his early backers, helping him get the product off of the ground but not funding it exclusively. To get more tips from Craig’s journey, don’t miss this episode!

Finding the right marketing partner.

While entrepreneurs and innovators have a lot of internal motivation and a can-do attitude, the truth is many of them are ill-equipped when it comes to the marketing side of the business. What does this mean for all the innovative types out there who want their product or idea to succeed but have no idea on how to successfully market it? That’s where a solid marketing partner can make all the difference! On this episode, you’ll hear from Craig Hammond as he explains the positive impact Enventys Partners has had on the success of his product, Peejamas!

Key Takeaways

  • [1:05] Craig Hammond joins the podcast to discuss his product, Peejamas.
  • [3:00] Challenges and hurdles faced along the way.
  • [4:30] Why Kickstarter? Why crowdfunding?
  • [6:00] What has led to early fundraising success?
  • [8:30] Providing stretch goals that appeal to backers.
  • [10:30] Why Enventys Partners has been a great partner.
  • [12:00] How has Peejamas been able to provide such quick shipping options?
  • [13:00] Why cross promotions can make a huge difference.
  • [14:00] Craig enters the Launch Round.
  • [15:30] How to connect with Craig and Peejamas.

Links

Connect With Peejamas

Sponsors

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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.

Connect With the Art Of The Kickstart team

View this episode’s transcript
Roy Morejon:                   Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, President of Enventys Partners, the top full-service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped start-ups raise over $100 million 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 you take your start-up to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit and the Gadget Flow. 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. The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.

Roy Morejon:                   Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today, I am joined with Craig, Hammond, the founder of Peejamas. Craig, thanks so much for joining us today.

Craig Hammond:            Hey, thank you for having me.

Roy Morejon:                   We’ve given you the title of The Elon Musk of Urine. I hope that’s okay today.

Craig Hammond:            Of course.

Roy Morejon:                   You’ve created this really awesome and innovative product, a cleaner more convenient way to potty train kids. Obviously, you and I both have kids and we’re going through this battle right now. What was the true inspiration to create Peejamas?

Craig Hammond:            It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I was potty training my child, and just put very simply, I woke up in a huge puddle of his urine and so frustrated with the experience we had with nighttime diapers and pull-ups. I got peed on, and it gave me the idea that there had to be a better option.

Roy Morejon:                   So what did they research look like? I mean obviously, you’ve got to go through fabrics and all of the other ways of wearing these alternative diapers, if you will. What did that look like in terms of the process of creating Peejamas?

Craig Hammond:            Yeah. My first idea, I kind of went to the extreme of thinking almost overly scientific, like, there had to be this gas polymer that I could apply to existing pajamas that would be highly absorbent. I couldn’t really find anything like that. It slowly just kind of devolved backwards into different fabrics that were already highly absorbent. I started researching what was popular in cloth diapers, and what’s popular in different countries that maybe don’t use disposable diapers, and eventually I found and tested a few different fabrics, mostly a hemp in cotton, as well as a bamboo in cotton. I found that the bamboo cotton blend was really, really absorbent, and even better is it was really, really soft, as well. It was really plush and comfortable for the child.

Roy Morejon:                   So there’s had to been a lot of challenges that you’ve encountered along the way of designing this product. Was this your first invention or innovation in the textiles?

Craig Hammond:            In textiles, yes, actually, it was. That was a big learning curve. I remember looking for fabrics. I didn’t even know what kind of knits that I was gonna be dealing with, and what kind of blends and fabrics. I went to these trade shows and these big textile manufacturers were asking me, “Okay, well what kind of knit do you want?” I’m like, “I don’t even know what a knit is. I want cotton. What does that even mean?” They’re like, “Well, there’s different knits for the different types of clothing. Pajamas, you’re probably gonna want a flannel, or you’re gonna want a fleece, or maybe even a cotton jersey knit.” And so, I went with jersey knit, but it was this huge learning curve to even find the fabrics, to understand what the different fabrics and knits were, and then on top of that, finding what is called a pattern seamstress is really, really difficult. That’s basically somebody that creates the pattern that a factory would then replicate from. That was a lot harder. That was probably my biggest difficulty that I faced in getting Peejamas up and running.

Roy Morejon:                   How long did you spend preparing for the crowdfunding campaign, and how did you know that you wanted to launch this innovative product using Kickstarter?

Craig Hammond:            Kickstarter is amazing. I had my first go around with crowdfunding about five years ago. We tried to do it on Indiegogo, and we didn’t really know what we were doing at the time. We had an amazing product. We went on to be on Shark Tank, got acquired, was doing really well, but we didn’t really understand crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has come such a long way now that my opinion is a lot of businesses are using it as a sales channel. They’re going on there because they know that they have this huge audience of people that love innovative products. They’re using it as a sales channel.

Craig Hammond:            I liked that aspect of Kickstarter, but one of the limitations of Kickstarter is my demographic, who I’m targeting, which is primarily mothers. Millennial-aged mothers aren’t on Kickstarter a lot. Though I understood the real power and potential of Kickstarter, I also didn’t have too high of expectations, but I knew that I could at least get a proof of concept, a validation, and also raise my money. I knew that I could at least raise my goal, which was $14,000. We haven’t been the most amazing Kickstarter campaign yet, but we are the highest funded pajama product ever and have just really, really greatly surpassed our goal, actually due in large parts of the marketing partners that we’ve brought on board.

Roy Morejon:                   Yeah. I mean, you hit your campaign goal of 14K in no time. I mean, what do you think was responsible for that early success?

Craig Hammond:            A lot of family and friend support, but I think it’s vital for family and friends, and at least people who already have an idea of the product being out there to be informed so that there’s that early momentum. We hit our goal in under a week, which was great. I’d say maybe 30% of that was family and friends. I would joke with my wife. She has both sides of her family, meaning her mom’s side and her dad’s side, have 100+ cousins, just humongous. I told her, I said, “If your cousins, alone, will back this, we will hit our goal in like two days.” We did hit our goal really fast, and it wasn’t even as much friends and family as I thought it would be, but that was certainly a big pierce of the support.

Roy Morejon:                   Yeah. I mean, we talked a lot about how important the month or two leading up to the launch is. Did you do anything special prior to launching to put yourself in such a good position to fund early?

Craig Hammond:            You know, we did. We weren’t as aggressive with our social media plan as we wanted to be, but we definitely had some paid social ads going out. We compiled an email list, just with a landing page, to try and get some emails. That actually didn’t generate as much as we were still hoping for, but we found some tools in which we could actually email all of our social media contacts. That was like a make or break tool that we were able to use because it expanded our reach directly to family and friends. There was only so many people that I could call or that I could post on Facebook and their algorithms would actually show. So to be able to email, directly, those contacts was really, really beneficial.

Roy Morejon:                   So you guys have gotten some great press coverage for the product, like Parents, Romper, Baby Center. Any tips for other creators looking to get good coverage, as well?

Craig Hammond:            Yeah. It’s worth it to have some PR support, meaning, get your pitch check, get your media kit, put together early in that one to two month timeframe, like you mentioned, before Kickstarter goes live, before your crowdfunding campaign goes live, but don’t be afraid to also put in some money to an agency who can help you get that press. They have the contacts at major media outlets. And so we did, you know, full disclosure, we did pay not for the editorials in those media outlets, but we did pay an agency to work on our behalf to be pitching those outlets.

Roy Morejon:                   So you guys have had some really good stretch goals that your backers have unlocked. Talk a little bit about the process there and how you guys went about deciding what to offer.

Craig Hammond:            Yeah. I wish that we had even more stretched goals because there’s so many things that we could do with Peejamas, but we knew heading into it that our number one request was going to be bigger sizes. We started really just targeting kind of the prime time key potty training ages, which are two, three, four-years old. We were really overwhelmed and humbled by how many people reached out asking for bigger sizes. We got stories that were so moving. I, myself, this sounds funny, but I, myself, was literally brought to tears multiple times reading messages from people saying, “Hey, this is incredible. I have a 10-year-old son who won’t go to sleepovers because he gets bullied and he doesn’t want to wear a pull-up,” or, “My daughter is 13, and she’s autistic, and we just need something more humanizing than diapers. We need something that will allow our children to keep some dignity.” I just thought, oh my goodness, there’s this real need for bigger sizes. The easiest decision for us with our stretch goals was to simply give people what they want and go up in sizes so we could help as many people as we could.

Roy Morejon:                   Yeah. What’s great to see is that over a third of your backers are first-time crowdfunding Kickstarter backers.

Craig Hammond:            Isn’t that incredible?

Roy Morejon:                   That’s incredible, obviously, that the product is that moving for someone to trust the platform and trust you as a first-time crowdfunding creator to put their product out there and then pre-purchase the product, as well.

Craig Hammond:            Yeah, yeah. Like I said, we went into Kickstarter knowing that it wasn’t necessarily our demographic, but still hopeful that we would have success simply because of the nature of the product, that it does provide a very viable more sustainable, cleaner, easier, just overall better option, in our opinion, than disposable diapers. So to see so many people that are first-time backers is, it’s honestly just incredible. We’re so grateful.

Roy Morejon:                   Excellent. So with all the marketing efforts that you guys have put forth into this project, where have you seen the greatest ROI?

Craig Hammond:            Is it okay if I say using Enventys? Enventys has been an incredible partner. We were going pretty well, and we started to see kind of that mid-campaign plateau, which is very normal. I had been talking with some people at Enventys, basically since our first week, and had heard great things from friends who had used them and chose them as our partner over a handful of other agencies, crowdfunding specific agencies, that were coming to us and basically begging for us to work with them, allowing them to do what they’re good at, to use their expertise and reach their target that they work with has made all the difference, and it has just knocked our … Our momentum is just, it’s been a home run. It’s exploded.

Roy Morejon:                   Yeah, it’s been pretty day and night, right, with bringing in on your own a thousand or so backers dollars’ worth a day, and now I think you’re averaging over $10,000 a day in sales with the marketing or promotions that Enventys Partners has been doing.

Craig Hammond:            Yeah, yeah. I think we’re on about day six, maybe now day seven of a $10,000 a day average, which has been incredible.

Roy Morejon:                   So your campaign is ending soon, and you said that the first round of shipments will be going out in July. How are you able to do such a quick turnaround?

Craig Hammond:            We have been working on fulfillment and manufacturing for months, I mean, if not a year. A big part of that has been getting samples made ahead of time. The last thing I wanted to do is delay our fulfillment, which is very common. It’s almost something that frequent crowdfunding backers expect or understand, but I really did not want to over-promise and under-deliver, so I had our manufacturing and sourcing running for many, many months before launching just to make sure that we weren’t overestimating or greatly overestimating our delivery date.

Roy Morejon:                   So Craig, what’s been the biggest thing that you’ve learned throughout the whole process of launching your first campaign on Kickstarter?

Craig Hammond:            I would say it is … There’s a lot of small tactics that you can use, like emailing everybody in your social network, talking to your friends and family, getting PR, some of the things that maybe aren’t as well publicized is using good cross promotions, look for people who have products in the same space as you, and reach out to them frequently and constantly to try and do cross promotions. We sell one cross promotion, just one, that brought us almost five grand in pledges. It was amazing. Then the other thing is, don’t hold back. I really am not trying to kiss too much butt here, but I wish we had not taken so long to partner with Enventys. I really wish we had done it a little bit sooner cause I think we would see our total funding much higher than it already is.

Roy Morejon:                   Excellent. Well, Craig, this gets us into our launch round. I’m gonna rapid fire a few questions at you. You’re a dad, so you must be good to go, right?

Craig Hammond:            Yeah, yeah. Well, I’ll say a lot of no’s. No, no, ask your mother.

Roy Morejon:                   Fair enough. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Craig Hammond:             Quite simply, it’s in my DNA. I just hate working for other people. I have a hard time. I think I get along great with other people, but I have a hard time really maximizing my creativity, and even my day-to-day motivation when somebody else is really limiting what I can and can’t do.

Roy Morejon:                    So if you grab a pint with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Craig Hammond:             Oh, man. There’s so many to choose from. You know who would be fun, would be really fun, would be Richard Branson, I think.

Roy Morejon:                    Nice. What would be your first question for Sir Richard?

Craig Hammond:             I’d probably ask him about his escapades of kite boarding or wind sailing with the models on his back. That would be an interesting story to hear.

Roy Morejon:                    Favorite book, not children-related?

Craig Hammond:             Favorite book, not children-related, I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan. The first book of his that I read was Outliers, and that one was so good. I’d probably just go with that. That’s the first that comes to mind.

Roy Morejon:                    Nice. Last question, Craig, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Craig Hammond:             Like I alluded to earlier, it’s really become more than just a crowdfunding platform, but really a sales channel. I know a handful of companies that use it as such and they raise a million dollars a year in pre-orders. I would say more companies are gonna simply start using it as a direct sales channel knowing that they have a captive audience of millions of users that are looking for innovative products.

Roy Morejon:                    Awesome. Well, Craig, this has been awesome. This is your chance to give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where they should go, and why they should check you out.

Craig Hammond:             Yeah, thank you. Peejamas are the cleaner, greener, more convenient and more affordable option to nighttime pull-ups. Our Peejamas offer parents a potty training substitute that gives your child 300+ uses. That means 300 nights actually peeing in the pajamas before they’ll start to lose their absorbency. The reason why that’s so much better and important to know is because a box of pull-ups cost about $30 for 70 or so pull-ups. Well, we’re priced just over $30, a little under $40, and you get 300 washes, so four times the amount of usages, and a pair of super cute pajamas that your child can keep wearing after they are done potty training.

Craig Hammond:             On top of that, we’re a lot more sustainable. Obviously ditching the disposable diapers, you’re not contributing to the billions of pounds that disposable diapers add to our landfill. The last thing that we really like is that so many parents have commented on is, “I’m so sick of stripping the sheets in the middle of the night and putting on new sheets, and going down and doing wash at two in the morning.” With Peejamas, we’ve fully contained the urine that your child will release, giving the parent a blissful night of sleep.

Roy Morejon:                    Well, this has been awesome, Craig. Thanks so much for being on the show. Audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, transcript, and links to the campaign, and everything else we’ve talked about today, and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit. If you liked this episode as much as I did, make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. Craig, thanks so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.

Craig Hammond:             Hey, thank you so much. Again, I actually didn’t say where to find us. Go to kickstarter.com and just search “Peejamas” and you’ll find us.

Roy Morejon:                    Boom. There it is, Craig. Thank you, sir.

Craig Hammond:             Thank you. See ya.

Roy Morejon:                    Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There, you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it, and of course if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find the show and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on enventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll see you again next week.