In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Sierra Green, the on-camera host and content creator for Movo WebMic. Movo WebMic HD Pro is an all-in-one HD webcam, mic, and LED light that allows you to be seen, be heard, and look good. Learn how the Movo WebMic team has raised over $462,000 from over 3,100 backers with two weeks to go in their Kickstarter campaign.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How COVID-19 inspired Movo Photo, a microphone company, to create high-quality technology products for working from home
  • Why high sound quality is especially important to the team at Movo WebMic
  • How backers helped Movo WebMic decide to roll out a lens cap, a stand, a clamp, and certain colors
  • What led Movo Photo to work with an agency like Enventys Partners
  • What’s in store for the future of Movo Photo—from new products to pushing their products to big box stores

Links

Sponsors

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Transcript

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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 startups 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 startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow. 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’m super excited because I am speaking with Sierra Green, the on-camera host and content creator for Movo Mic. And if you have not seen it yet, Movo Mic HD Pro all-in-one HD webcam mic, LED light, currently active on Kickstarter. It’s raised over $462,000 with over 3,100 backers with two weeks ago. Sierra, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.

Sierra Green:

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here and, wow, that was so exciting hearing you read those numbers out loud, because I’ve been watching it. We’ve been watching them for a bunch, several days now, so it’s very exciting.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, no. The team over here is super excited to be working with everyone at Movo WebMic, excuse me. And obviously the success of the campaign is really inspirational I think for a lot of people from the content creators of the worlds, the filmmakers, photographers, musicians, et cetera, all artists trying to create. And I think that’s what this product does so well. So I’m really excited to kind of dive in and learn about the story and what was the inspiration behind the creation of Movo WebMic.

Sierra Green:

Absolutely. This product we are so excited to be launching because it is something that has come in a time of need. And this time is so unique with this pandemic that we’ve all had to live through. The first idea for this product came around March, 2020, so exactly about a year ago, when everything shut down out of nowhere and all of a sudden everybody was working from home. All of a sudden there was Zoom meetings were introduced and everything was remote and it just kind of took the world by storm. And we are a company, Movo, that has focused on having studio quality microphones for a long time, but when the pandemic hit, we sort of realized that there was a major lack of products for working from home that were at a high enough quality at accessible pricing for everybody out there.

Sierra Green:

And there’s lots of web mics and there are also webcams and ring lights, but oftentimes when you have to have… when you have a really good setup for a work from home station, you’ve got multiple products, cords everywhere, cost is adding up and it just doesn’t often feel like it’s all flowing together. And that was the main inspiration behind this product is that we wanted to make an all-in-one WebMic HD Pro that had a studio quality condenser microphone, a HD webcam, and a three brightness setting ring light all in one product. So you have one product on your desk, one thing, and that’ll take care of all your work from home needs as far as technology goes.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, no, I love this product. We’ve worked with crowdfunding products in the mic space. Thronmax comes to mind where we’ve worked with them on a campaign, but I think you guys really hit the nail on the head, so to speak, in terms of the all-in-one product where you can take it on the go, you can set it up with multiple angles, and we’re all in this, how good does my background look these days, but it also is the camera quality as well and the audio quality, which I think is critical. In terms of the product coming to market, how was it decided what features to include and how to design them? Because I think what Movo WebMic really is, is a beautiful technology product that has all of the right elements built into it, but I’m sure there were quite a few different iterations of the product before you can see the beautiful product that it’s created today.

Sierra Green:

Absolutely. So the big thing is we wanted to start with a condenser microphone because that’s what we specialize in right now is having condenser microphones and studio microphones for musicians, for podcasters. And what we were noticing during this time is that there were a lot of those like webcam and microphone combo products, but all of the microphones were always stereo mics. They were very kind of tinny, low quality, it felt, and there were lots of HD webcams, but it felt like the focus was always on the camera and not on the sound. And one of our favorite quotes here at Movo is George Lucas’s quote about audio, which is, “Sound is half the picture.” And it’s often felt like in products that have been created previously, that sound is considered an afterthought. It’s not considered something that’s tantamount to your video quality.

Sierra Green:

So we started with a condenser microphone, but we were like, okay, how can we incorporate camera into this as well, but that is at the level of what’s already on the market. So then we came up with two different options. So on our Kickstarter, there’s several different options of the WebMic that you can sponsor or you can sign up for. And one of them is for HD, a 1080 megapixel, the other is for 4K, because those are sort of the webcams that are already available. So we have two different versions that are available that we’re creating. And the condenser microphone is really interesting because normally cardioid condenser microphones are designed to be right up on your face. The one I’m speaking into currently is just maybe three or four inches from my mouth. And that obviously doesn’t work if you’re going to have a webcam because you don’t want a webcam that’s only three or four inches from your face. Nobody needs to see that.

Roy Morejon:

Right.

Sierra Green: So we designed this specific cardioid condenser to be three feet away from the subject. That way you could still have enough of your full face and profile in view while still capturing studio quality audio. And then the third thing that we wanted to throw in was the ring light, because often in your set up, you’re like opening every single window you have and setting up lamps and weird things, and it’s adding to your desktop clutter. And we’re trying to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce desktop clutter with this all in one concept. So we had to make it large enough to where the microphone, the resonating chamber was a significant enough size, but still finding that sweet spot of keeping it small enough that it’s not a hugely cumbersome object. And the ring light kind of goes right around the outside of the microphones surface area. It looks like a really cute little Cyclops. So I really like the design of it.

Roy Morejon:

I love that reference, the cute Cyclops you never knew you needed. Right?

Sierra Green:

Exactly.

Roy Morejon: So let’s dive in, because we obviously have talked about the technology behind this product, but what we haven’t talked about is the product launch. And this is always the interesting part of the conversation that I love and usually the guests love and the listeners, of course, in terms of talking about why choosing crowdfunding over potentially other forms of launching a product in terms of going directly to the market. So let’s talk a little bit about preparation and why launching this product using Kickstarter was the right path forward.

Sierra Green:

Yeah. We just kind of wanted to see… We had this big idea and we were like, we think this could be huge, especially with like jumping to working from home, like we said, but sometimes when you’ve got a great big idea, you don’t know how well it’s going to be received, you don’t know what the interest is out there, you kind of want to gauge interest, see a little bit where the market’s at. So we kind of wanted to combine our preexisting infrastructure that we already had with our company and also gauging what the people want. So it’s a great way to, again, see what the interest is, how many people actually would want something like this. And also what’s been really great is on the Kickstarter website for all of our backers, they’ve been commenting lots of design ideas and suggestions. And actually our stretch goals, we’ve hit two of our stretch goals already, were based on ideas from our backers who put them in the comments.

Sierra Green:

And then our first stretch goal, once we hit 250,000, were to introduce additional colors. So we had a poll that people could choose between white, silver and Royal blue, and they selected Royal blue, but based on how much awesome feedback we got, we decided to actually release all three colors. So, all three will be available. And then at 450, at 450,000 backers, we introduced a lens cap because that was something that a lot of people who are backing it commented and said, we would love to see a lens cap for this, which wasn’t something we had originally designed in the design stage. So that’s been another great thing as I feel like, how often do you get to really hear the consumer’s feedback in the design phase of things in order to add things that people want before it launches? I feel like that’s a really unique use of this Kickstarter campaign is we’re actually still adjusting the design based on what consumers are looking for.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. And I absolutely love the fact that, one, you’re actually listening to your consumers, but, two, they’re actually giving you actionable insight to potentially take with the direction of the company and the product that they’re looking to back and support and put their hard earned dollars towards a product that you guys have put all of your hard earned sweat and money into in terms of bringing this thing to market. So in speaking of that, how did you potentially go about targeting your initial market and audience, and has that shifted during the campaign itself?

Sierra Green:

Yeah, absolutely. We are really grateful for that, too. And obviously, we can’t accommodate every single request, but we’re paying attention. We’re paying attention to really everything everyone says, taking it to our design team, seeing what are the common threads that are showing up the most often. Having a lens cap was definitely one of the most common things people were suggesting. And in a lot of the talks in the early stages, for example, this web mic comes with a stand and a little clamp that comes on top of the computer, so you can attach it to the top of your monitor or the top of your laptop. And some of those ideas were all things that we were kind of discussing in the early stages and people would bring up ideas that other people hadn’t thought of before.

Sierra Green:

So hearing what consumers have to say and that what really matters to them is really important for us that we’re making, a, a product that people want and that is going to make them happy and feel satisfied. And second, something that will be more successful when you listen to what people are looking for.

Roy Morejon:

So Sierra, we talk a lot about how important the month or two or six leading up to a campaign launch is. Let’s talk a little bit to the audience about what you did prior to launching, to put yourself in such a good position to fund where now your campaign is almost hit half a million dollars.

Sierra Green:

I know, that’s so crazy. We’re so fortunate. So pretty much unlike a lot of other products, and like, I feel like with people on Kickstarter, a product will have been their brain child for years and years and then it takes so much time in preparation for something to get into gear. And we do have the advantage of having already, as a small company, having created some studio mics and condenser mics already, that we had that technology and that basis. This wasn’t our first product we’d ever created, but what was new was the situational need of a completely unexpected and an unprecedented pandemic.

Sierra Green:

So in March 2020, that was when this first idea came about, because our CEO, the head of our company, he was noticing that immediately his kids had to go into online school and everything was from home. And he just kind of felt like everything that was out there wasn’t good enough already and there wasn’t like an all-in-one product. So we wanted to get this into gear literally as soon as physically possible so that people could take advantage of it during this pandemic. So pretty much as it’s now March 2021, and we’re launching this Kickstarter, it’s really only been one year.

Sierra Green:

And as far as like creating a new product from scratch through all the design and everything goes, it’s a pretty quick turnaround and we wish we could have done it even sooner, but obviously there’s a lot of steps involved, but I still think there’s a lot of people still online, a lot of schools are still doing distanced learning and stuff. So we just wanted to get it out there as soon as possible. So essentially in March was the first idea, March of 2020. And then in June of 2020, we had enough interest on our team and really were putting it into gear. And that’s when we made our first initial design.

Sierra Green:

And then August of 2020, we started testing our first prototypes. And then in December of 2020, the final design was completed. There was a lot of different variations, trial and errors that went through with our first trying to figure out what the prototype would look like with a 3D printer and all of that. And then we launched the Kickstarter in March of 2021. And then in June, hoping everything goes according to plan, we will be shipping the products out to people. So, definitely from start to finish a very, very quick turnaround, but we wanted it that way, not just because we want to get our new product out there, but because we feel like it is a timely product with what’s going on in the world right now.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. And speaking of timely things, I mean, you guys have gotten some great press coverage, right, in outlets like Rolling Stone and Trend Hunter. Any tips to other creators or entrepreneur startups that are looking to get great press coverage like this? Sierra Green: That’s a great question. I would just say too, I don’t know, we had a really fortunate standpoint because we have some preexisting infrastructure and I know that that’s very… Not every startup has the preexisting infrastructure of already having certain outlets and retailers that they’re working with and stuff, so we’re definitely are coming from a very privileged position there. We worked with marketing agencies with this. We tried to allocate… word of mouth and marketing is such a huge part of getting a product started. So just allocating the right and doing our best to not just put all our eggs in one basket, but making sure that the marketing and the press and getting people’s awareness on this, that we put equal focus on that as well.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. You mentioned, in terms of working with marketing agencies, you’ve been working with us here at Enventys Partners for a while now. What were some of those considerations that went into choosing an agency to partner with on this launch?

Sierra Green:

Well, we interviewed a lot of different companies. And Enventys just far surpassed everything as far as what we were looking for. The interview was excellent. As far as response time on project, there’s a lot of times when you reach out to people or you’re having email correspondence or things like that and people just… you don’t feel like you’re a priority to them, and just the overall vibe and experience, it has just… you get a gut feeling and also people just kind of, they show you who they are. And so we just got a really great vibe from Enventys and there really wasn’t much of a competition.

Sierra Green:

I spoke to our CEO about this too, prior to this interview, just to get some of his words on it. And it was just very clear in his demeanor, he was like, oh yeah, I mean, there really was… they just far surpassed it. So it really was pretty clear for us. And then also again, like with the Kickstarter thing, it seemed like a really awesome way to get people’s feedback while we were still in development, like I previously talked about. So it just sort of, all encompassing, really felt like the right fit.

Roy Morejon:

That’s great to hear. So with this being the first Kickstarter campaign for you, what’s your biggest surprise or biggest learning so far that you can pass on to our listeners?

Sierra Green:

It’s definitely been a learning process. I think we, as a development team, we’re small, we’re definitely a really small company, a small business, and we think like creators and we don’t always think like consumers. So I think it’s been really interesting seeing people’s feedback and seeing what they really want and what they’re looking for as well as like looking at the competition out there and saying, how can we stand out while still being at a very accessible price point for everyone? Because that’s something that’s really important to us is to be accessible to everyone, not just the top tier of creators or the top tier of broadcasters, that we’re at an accessible point for everyone.

Sierra Green:

And so it’s just been really amazing getting to hear people’s feedback and getting to see what their perspectives are, which has really challenged us into being like, Oh, well, sometimes we have to think outside the box on this, or this is something we never considered, maybe we do need to go back to the design board on this. And you can’t always take everyone’s opinion into account because you’d go crazy, but it’s just definitely good to hear alternate perspectives we hadn’t considered before, and that sometimes your original idea isn’t always the one you’re able to stick with. So just flexibility I would say is a big thing.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. So I’m really interested to hear, where’s Movo headed next?

Sierra Green:

Hopefully to the moon. We are really excited about hopefully getting to partner with some bigger businesses and getting our products, hopefully into some bigger stores, perhaps like Best Buy or Target, big box stores. A lot of things are still in the works, but we would love to be able to have people walk into a store and get a WebMic off the shelf and check out and take it home, not have to pay for shipping fees and things like that. That would be amazing. Just sort of getting our product out to larger audiences and becoming more of a household name when you think of accessible tech products, especially again, as we are still in, and I think for a long time we’ll be in this very work from home age. So just sort of, again, expanding our brand, getting into larger audiences, more people knowing who we are.

Sierra Green:

We always have like a few dozen new products in the works. We are constantly thinking and innovating of new things. So just trying to, again, change the game and see what’s already out there, see where there’s a need that hasn’t been met. How can we find that, create that and then make it available to everyone at an accessible point, accessible price point. Because that’s just like one of our biggest things is that anyone can be a creator, anyone can make content, anyone can do anything. You don’t have to have this crazy background or have like tons and tons of resources available to you. You know what I mean? So that’s the big, broad goal of where we’re going is just growing, being accessible and making it easy to get Movo product.

Roy Morejon:

I love it. I can’t wait to go along for the journey with you guys.

Sierra Green:

Thank you so much.

Roy Morejon:

Well, Sierra, this is going to get us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid-fire a handful of questions at you. You good to go?

Sierra Green:

I’m ready.

Roy Morejon: So what inspired you to be a content creator?

Sierra Green: So these are for me, Sierra, personally?

Roy Morejon: Sure.

Sierra Green:

Awesome. I have always just liked authenticity, honestly. That’s like my biggest thing with creating content is I love creating authentic, honest stuff that you bring to the table. I’m big into running gun shoots and just sharing your day and being relatable and letting people out there get a glimpse into your life, and when you’re struggling, when you’re successful and like what your life is like. I just think there’s so much available out there for people to see life through other people’s lenses and walk in other people’s shoes. And I think that’s one of my favorite things about creating content is getting to sort of welcome people into your life and see what you do.

Sierra Green: And that’s again, at Movo, that’s one of the things we love to do is make that so accessible to people is that you can, anybody can share their life, anyone can start a podcast, make a docuseries, start vlogging. I just think that the authenticity of it is one of the reasons why I love it so much.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. So if you could have an interview over a Movo mic with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Sierra Green:

Well, I asked this question to our CEO, Ben, and he said that he would love to meet with Elon Musk. He said that he, I know that a lot of people probably would say the same just because he’s said for the sheer amount of ideas he’s able to concept and execute, it’s very interesting just how it always seems like you think he’s he’s topped himself and then he comes out with something new. So I think that that’s just kind of… that’s someone who he really looks up to.

Roy Morejon:

Nice. What about favorite business podcast?

Sierra Green: Some of our favorite business podcasts at the office here are how I built that or How I Built This by Guy Raz. And Guy Raz, did I write that down? How I Built This by Guy Raz and then the Tim Ferriss show. And we have some books, too. We have the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary V, or for long, Gary Vaynerchuk. And then The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, as well, and Principles by Ray Dalio. So I don’t know if books was coming next, but I just read those off to you anyway.

Roy Morejon: They were. Yeah. That’s a great hit list for the startup entrepreneur, definitely were some really good… Big fan of the Jab, Jab, Jab, by Gary V. Solid, solid insight there. And I think it actually relates extremely well to anyone about to launch a crowdfunding campaign where it’s all about giving value and going along for that journey with your potential customers beforehand.

Sierra Green:

Absolutely.

Roy Morejon:

And just giving them as much insight and help as you can, should you be the thought leader in that category, and really understand them. And I think Gary V really did on that, extremely well with his first book out there on that.

Sierra Green:

I think that that’s such a big thing that oftentimes big businesses overlook is that people can see right through you. Like, you’re not as clever as you think if you think you’re just going to put something crappy out to people and you don’t really care what they think and you’re just trying to make a buck. I think people can tell. And I think that that’s such an important point, is like you said, to go along with your consumer. Where is the need, what is missing in the current market and how can you improve people’s lives and have it be a conversation so that you, as the product creator, it feels like people feel your care and they feel when you’re invested and when they feel when you’re, again, being authentic, like going back to why I like to create content.

Sierra Green:

So I think that’s just for me being a part of Movo’s journey with this web mic is I have really enjoyed the conversation that’s happening between the consumer and the creator. And I think that those conversations are some of the beauty why I love where content creation is going in the world. Just, again, getting to have those dialogues and share perspectives and make everything just feel good and not so corporate.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, no I’m with you. So in keeping with the feel-good theme, let me hear your take on what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Sierra Green:

I think the future of crowdfunding is incredible. I know that social media is huge these days and word of mouth is huge. And so I think that crowdfunding is just such a great way for people to show their support for something and to give smaller businesses and smaller companies and smaller creators a little more protection with an idea, first of all. I know it can be really intimidating to want to invest a ton of time and financial resources into something and not knowing how it’s going to land, but also having those conversations. I think it takes the creation of new products to a really, again, authentic and empathetic place. It’s very inspiring to me. And me, myself, if I were to independently do something, I would love to crowdfund it because, again, I love the conversation that happens between the supporters and the creator, as well as it helps more businesses succeed instead of think really big and then fail. Because we just, we want to see more things succeed. So I think the future’s really bright.

Roy Morejon:

I agree. Well, this has been amazing. This is your chance to give our audience your pitch. Tell people what you’re all about, where they should go and why they should check out Movo WebMic.

Sierra Green:

So yeah, Movo. We are a technology company. We specialize in studio microphones, but we also have lots of things from vlogging gear, smartphone gear for both Androids and iPhones so that anyone can be a creator. Our slogan is Creators Wanted because we want everyone to be a creator, whether you are, again, like a stay-at-home mom who wants to take footage of your family Disneyland vacation, or if you are a starting out vlogger or if you’re a podcaster, everything Movo is for you. So we have our website, which is a movophoto.com, got lots of amazing stuff on there. And we’re putting out lots of new videos on our YouTube channel as well, like tutorials and how-tos and starting a series about our various products. So we would love to see you there.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Well, audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the campaign and everything else we talked about today. And of course, I want to thank our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and ProductHype. Sierra, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.

Sierra Green:

This has been amazing. I really enjoyed talking about this. It’s been a lot of fun. So thank you so much for having me.

Roy Morejon:

Of course.

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning into 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 this show and helps us get better guests, and help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on inventuspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you again next week.