Wait, crowdfunding socks? Really? While it may sound crazy, you’ll soon find out that SoloSocks are an awesome idea that really deserves a chance to shine in the crowdfunding community. On this episode, you’ll hear from Adam Kuskner as he opens up about his journey with SoloSocks and what has led to their impressive success story. In our conversation, Adam touches on the production process for SoloSocks, how they were able to hit early campaign goals, tips for garnering good media coverage, and so much more! You don’t want to miss a minute of this fascinating episode featuring Adam!

What are SoloSocks?

Have you ever struggled to find that elusive match to your sock? Of course you have! It seems like that struggle to find a sock’s match is a pretty common experience we all can relate to. What is the answer? Is there a way to eliminate this frustrating experience once and for all? Adam Kuskner and his business partner, Alexander Morabbi, set out to find a solution and ended up developing SoloSocks. A SoloSocks package contains 7×1 colorful single socks – not pairs. All socks are different but designed to match. Because of this unique design, you don’t need to pair your socks anymore, you avoid stacking up socks missing a pair, and you won’t have to throw out a pair when one is damaged. To hear more about the innovative solution that SoloSocks brings to the marketplace, make sure to listen to this engaging episode!

Hitting early crowdfunding campaign goals.

What does it take for crowdfunded campaigns to hit early campaign goals and create momentum with their product? Is there a particular method that works better than others? On this episode, you’ll hear from Adam Kuskner as he reveals the best practices that led to early campaign success with his product, SoloSocks. According to Adam, much of the early success for SoloSocks came from their great early bird deals for backers, their decision to spend money on ads early on, and their well thought out pre-campaign work. To hear Adam expand on each of these areas and provide more insights into the success of SoloSocks, make sure to listen to this episode!

Tips for getting good media coverage of your crowdfunded product.

Why does it seem that some crowdfunded campaigns get more media attention than others? Is there a way entrepreneurs and brands can make the most of their efforts to attract positive media coverage? In our conversation, Adam Kuskner shared a few helpful tips for eliciting positive media coverage of your crowdfunded product. What worked well for Adam and his team at SoloSocks was their focus on highlighting just one unique and relatable selling point that their product addresses for consumers. Don’t fall into the trap of listing out all of your product’s uses and advantages, hone in on one that makes it stand out to your potential backers and customers. Get more great tips and insights from Adam on this episode!

A vital component of success is knowing your audience.

If you have any hope for sustained success as an entrepreneur or business, you’ve got to put in the work to get to know your target audience, inside and out. By doing your due diligence, you’ll find creative and unique ways to position your product. On this episode, you’ll hear from Adam Kuskner as he shares the lessons he has learned from leading several successful crowdfunded campaigns. The primary point that Adam stresses is the importance of knowing your audience and how they behave. This information led Adam and his team to utilize their resources in a strategic way that connected with their audience. To hear more from Adam and the valuable tips he has to share with business leaders like you, make sure to listen to this episode.

Key Takeaways

  • [1:05] Adam Kuskner joins the podcast to discuss his product, SoloSocks.
  • [3:00] Why is London such a huge fan of SoloSocks? What was the production process?
  • [6:00] Challenges that Adam and his team have faced along the way.
  • [8:00] How did SoloSocks hit early campaign goals?
  • [9:00] Tips for getting good media coverage.
  • [10:15] Why it’s important to know your audience and other lessons learned.
  • [13:00] Plans for the future.
  • [14:30] Adam enters the Launch Round.
  • [15:30] Why you should check out SoloSocks.

Links

Connect With SoloSocks

Sponsors

Art 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 20% 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.

Connect With the Art Of The Kickstart team

View this episode’s transcript

Roy:                                     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 a hundred 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 you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding.

Roy:                                     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:                                     Welcome to another edition of the Art of the Kickstart. Today, I’m joined by Adam Kuskner, Director at SOLOSOCKS. Adam, thanks so much for joining us today.

Adam Kuskner:                 Thank you for having me.

Roy:                                     Adam, I always love having repeat crowdfunding creators and entrepreneurs on the show because you guys bring a unique perspective into the podcast and into the audience that we have. Let’s talk about SOLOSOCKS, the company, and now that you guys are on your third successful project on Kickstarter, what’s led to running the crowdfunding campaign, and talk about your product a little.

Adam Kuskner:                 Actually, Alex and I, the Cofounder and my partner, Alexander, we used to be roommates. We lived together for about two years and, at some point, we started just sharing our socks, our old dirty, ugly black socks, and we decided that this is not functioning. We were just losing too many socks, so we came up with an idea of how you can avoid pairing your socks and wasting your socks every time you do your laundry, so we came up with SOLOSOCKS. Since then, we realized that the best way forward, and you could say the most possible way of actually funding your idea was through crowdfunding. I guess one step took the other, and now we’re on our third Kickstarter campaign, and we are, so far, still a fully crowdfunded startup company.

Roy:                                     That’s always amazing. I’m rocking Version 1 of the SOLOSOCKS, and I love the uniqueness of it. One, that you get an odd number but, me being OCD, I had to order two boxes of 7 so I had 14, which I think is also probably another good sales technique, as well, for those that are like that. The fact that you have the unique designs that you don’t need to match any of the socks together because they all match automatically, which is cool and fun.

Adam Kuskner:                 Exactly

Roy:                                     You guys are on the third campaign now, and this campaign’s all about the No-Show socks, the SOLOSOCKS, and you guys have, I think, over 1,600 backers and almost $100,000 raised so far for another pair of socks. What was unique, I was looking through your community of backers, and it seems like London is your top city of backers. Any idea why London needs so many socks?

Adam Kuskner:                 It’s fun that you point that out because we were very surprised, as well. We did some market research in London with socks and everything, and we found that there is just a growing trend with colorful socks in London because, usually, that’s where people … I have to be careful with what I say, but a somewhat boring working atmosphere, they have to wear their suits to work and all this. What I really like about making such colorful socks is that it’s an accessory, just like a tie, where you get to stand out a little bit. I think part of the reason why a lot of our backers are from London is because they get the chance to stand out in their work suit with our colorful socks.

Roy:                                     Let’s step back a little bit. When you guys were creating SOLOSOCKS, what did that process look like? I know it can be difficult for new startups, especially in textiles but, when you guys were going about deciding the features, the designs, and all of that, picking a factory, threads, and all of that, as first-timers, how did you guys go through that process and begin it?

Adam Kuskner:                 First of all, we started investigating where you could get great textile. One of our number one priorities was that it had to be organic cotton because we didn’t want to create a product that’s very cheap and not good for the environment, so we started to investigate where we could source locally organic cotton. The two greatest producers of organic cotton in Europe are Portugal and Turkey. After doing some market research, we went to Turkey, and we visited a few factories, and we found a factory that was really nice, and we had our socks produced there. They completely cheated us with some stuff, so we decided to pick another producer.

Adam Kuskner:                 Now, we have a very good manufacturer that we are very satisfied with but, again, as you said, in textile, it can be very difficult because we have a huge minimum order quantity, especially for our socks because we make seven socks at a time, but you can only have a sock manufacturer to produce in pairs. When we come down to Turkey, and we say we would like seven different socks, all different designs, mix and match, in this many packages, they go crazy. Our minimum order quantity is very high and, therefore, we need big amounts of funding, and that’s where Kickstarter is really helpful for us.

Roy:                                     Outside of the odd amount of socks being manufactured, what have been some of the other bigger challenges that you’ve encountered when designing the product?

Adam Kuskner:                 Doing socks in organic combed cotton can also be a big challenge because the reason why, of course, the other sock producers are not using organic cotton is because it’s just harder to quality-assure the product. For us, it has been a long process where we have been quality assuring lots of socks, and we have had some shipments of socks that we just simply didn’t send out to any backers because it was too lousy of a product. The quality assurance process is a big hassle, but I would say now, after we have been producing socks for three years, we have gotten to a point where we are finally satisfied with the quality of our product.

Roy:                                     Now that you guys are on your third campaign, let’s jump back way, way, way in the beginning three years ago when we first started working together with you guys in terms of your first crowdfunding campaign and then to this one now. How long have you spent in terms of preparation now for upcoming campaigns and what have you changed from the first campaign to the last?

Adam Kuskner:                 From the first campaign, we had a very transparent startup buy. Our sales were standing there and did the classic, “Hi, this is our names and this is our product and all this sort of stuff,” but we wanted to have the product more in focus. We wanted to have the socks more in focus, so we’re putting the product more in focus, and we’re using more time on preparation. Furthermore, we’re also bringing more people in for the preparation of the campaign.

Adam Kuskner:                 I would say, the first campaign, we used maybe one to one and a half months in preparing it, but now we know about what needs to be done, and we’re pretty experienced at this point, so we’re using at least two months intense work on preparing a campaign. Bringing in more people, we get different perspectives on what we can do and where we can improve, and that has helped a lot.

Roy:                                     You guys hit your campaign goal on the No-Shows in just 16 hours. What do you think was responsible for the great success there?

Adam Kuskner:                 Partly, it was our Super Early Birds. We had 100 Super Early Birds where you could save 40% from the original price that we will be selling it on afterwards. That gave us 100 backers in just a few hours. I would say we did a lot of ad spend the first three days. I think, definitely, that was also part of the reason why we got funded so fast. Thirdly, I would say we just did a lot of preparation in terms of social media and just spreading the word, doing some email blasts and, of course, our old backers from our previous campaigns were there to help us.

Roy:                                     Absolutely. You guys have gotten some great press coverage. It looks like GQ, Wired, Forbes, just naming a few. Any tips for the other entrepreneurs and startups out there looking to get some great press coverage like you guys have secured?

Adam Kuskner:                 I guess it’s really about trying to have a unique product that you can have in focus. Find out the most important USP or the most specific or unique USP of your product because, at least what we have learned is that our product has a lot of different features, and it’s a great product, and it’s made of organic cotton, but really what you should focus on when you’re contacting someone through network or just cold-calling and journalists or whatever, it’s about focusing on the one unique selling point you want to bring out in the story and something that most people can relate to. You could say our product, we’re pretty lucky to have that product that most people can relate to about missing socks, so I would say stay focused on one USP instead of trying to brand everything about your product.

Roy:                                       I think I heard a joke the other day, and I might butcher it but, for every sock that goes missing, a new piece of Tupperware is found.

Adam Kuskner:                 Yeah, exactly, another Tupperware lid is found.

Roy:                                     Given that you guys are vets at Kickstart, I’d love to hear your advice on the biggest thing you guys have learned throughout the process of launching multiple campaigns.

Adam Kuskner:                 That’s a really good question, Roy. I wish I had one great answer for that, but I think I have several. We found out how important it is to have a good campaign, to have a good video and to have something that catches the eye right away because we have increasingly been using more resources on branding ourselves and social media and running different apps with different markets and partners. In general, our and your own responsibility, what you can do the most of, is to make sure that you have a good conversion rate. It’s like having a campaign that catches the eye right away and explains the message very clearly in a very simple manner.

Adam Kuskner:                 Second of all, it’s also about knowing your audience. Really investigate the Kickstarter community. For instance, that Kickstarter is, what is it, 72% men that are users on Kickstarter? That’s very important for us. We made a unisex product, but we have to keep in mind that most of our backers are actually males. I guess the biggest thing that we learned is that preparation is everything. Getting the big blast right away, making sure that you will get funded as fast as possible and then, afterwards, you can play around, but it’s just really important that you do all the preparation until launch because, as soon as you’re launched, you only have between 30 and 60 days, whatever you choose.

Roy:                                     Absolutely. Earlier, you talked about a lot of your backers in your community coming back. Talk a little bit about your experience with the community that you’ve built so far and how you’ve been managing their feedback into new product creation.

Adam Kuskner:                 First of all, it’s really wonderful to have so many backers that are engaged in your product. It really makes you feel good. Our customers on the website are also our loyal customers, but the Kickstarter community just has something else it’s really nice to see. We listen to them and, often, they have a lot of great feedback and a lot of good ideas.

Adam Kuskner:                 For instance, just recently, just now, actually, we did a tote bag as a stretch goal. I’m thinking it was three days ago. We got a little bit of bad feedback from that because people apparently were a bit disappointed with the stretch goal. Now, we have to really sit down, and we have brainstormed and worked all day on creating a new better stretch goal that those backers will hopefully be more satisfied with. Some people take for granted the importance of backers because it’s really about creating a community and having them come back if you’re planning on doing more campaigns. That’s something that has been very important to us.

Roy:                                     Absolutely. What’s been the biggest surprise of this Kickstarter campaign, Adam?

Adam Kuskner:                 The biggest surprise of this Kickstarter campaign? I would probably say how fast we got funded. I would say we do all we can in terms of preparation up until the launch date. We are always a bit conservative with how fast we will get funded, but this was really extraordinary and we didn’t count on being funded that fast, also the conversion rates on the ads we’ve been running and everything. I think that was probably the biggest surprise, which is a very nice surprise, I would say.

Roy:                                     Always. I’m really interested to hear where you guys are headed next after this campaign.

Adam Kuskner:                 As I said before, so far, we’re a fully crowdfunded company, and that’s our vision. We would like to be the first Danish fully crowdfunded company. We’re hoping on expanding our sock collection to something more tech-related within socks. Without saying too much, we have been considering doing some socks with even more features, like special features, not just selling them on the design, but actually selling them on the material. There are a lot of odorless and SilverTech solutions out there, but our goal is to create a product that haven’t been seen before and that’s a new innovative solution to socks. Furthermore, we also have in the pipeline of maybe expanding from something else than socks, but that’s in the future.

Roy:                                     I’m really excited to see where you guys are going.

Adam Kuskner:                 So are we.

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

Adam Kuskner:                 Yeah.

Roy:                                     What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Adam Kuskner:                 Being my own boss.

Roy:                                     If you could grab a beer with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Adam Kuskner:                 What’s his name, Virgin guy?

Roy:                                     Richard.

Adam Kuskner:                 Thank you.

Roy:                                     Sir Richard Branson.

Adam Kuskner:                 Richard Branson.

Roy:                                     What would be your first question for him?

Adam Kuskner:                 It would be, how many times have you thought of giving up?

Roy:                                     What’s your favorite SOLOSOCK design?

Adam Kuskner:                 The [inaudible 00:14:46] style, the blue one.

Roy:                                     What’s your favorite pair of shoes to wear with them?

Adam Kuskner:                 Sneakers.

Roy:                                     Favorite book?

Adam Kuskner:                 What is it called, Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens.

Roy:                                     Yeah, that’s definitely a good read. All right, Adam, last question. What does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Adam Kuskner:                 The future of crowdfunding is just beginning, I think and I hope. In the States, it’s really big. I’m assuming the Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general is biggest in the States. In Europe, it’s still growing, and I still need a lot of entrepreneurs that don’t know about Kickstarter and that don’t know that they can get their product crowdfunded. Actually, Alex and I, we have considered doing crowdfunding consultants because there is just too little knowledge about it in Europe, and I hope it’s going to grow to become more.

Roy:                                     Adam, this has been awesome. This is your opportunity to give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should check you out.

Adam Kuskner:                 Awesome! Great! I will. My name is Adam and, together with Alex, my good friend, we have created SOLOSOCKS. SOLOSOCKS is a pack of seven single socks that are designed to mix and match. The colors are the same, the patterns are the same, but the colors are placed differently on the socks. That way, you don’t have to pair your socks, you don’t have to waste your socks whenever you get a hole in your socks. You don’t have to worry about your socks anymore. Just grab two socks from the box, and you’ll have a pair that matches. You can check us out on SOLOSOCKS.dk or you can go to our current Kickstarter campaign. That’s called SOLOSOCKS No-Shows, the World’s Best Summer Socks.

Roy:                                      Awesome! Audience, thank you for tuning in. Make sure to visit Art of the Kickstart.com for all the notes, transcript, links to the campaign and everything else we talked about today, and thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Of course, if you loved this episode, make sure to leave us a positive review on iTunes. Adam, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.

Adam Kuskner:                 Thank you very much for having me, Roy.

Roy:                                      Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business world in 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 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.