In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Matthew Charles, president of TidyBoard. As a kitchen space-saver, TidyBoard streamlines your food prep by placing strainers, catches and containers on the end of the bamboo cutting board. Learn about how a passionate team of brothers turned their need for an organized cutting space into a successfully crowdfunded campaign.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • The inspiration behind TidyBoard and Matthew Charles’ background as a civil engineer
  • How they decided what features to include, like the bamboo wood and collapsable containers
  • The importance of raising awareness before your Kickstarter launch, either full-time or through an agency
  • What feedback their backer community has provided to improve TidyBoard

Links

Sponsors

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Transcript

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 startups raise over a hundred million dollars for our clients since 2010.
Roy Morejon:
Each week, I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story 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.
Roy Morejon:
It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for Co- luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.
Roy Morejon:
Today, we are talking with Matt Charles president of TidyBoard. Matt, thanks so much for joining us today on the show.
Matthew Charles:
Happy to be here. Thanks for having me, Roy.
Roy Morejon:
So, I really love your innovation during this whole pandemic. I’ve started taking up cooking and trying to help the family cook a little bit more. This product is a perfect fit for I think, most kitchens out there big or small, in terms of just an overall space saver. And what you’ve done is truly kind of streamlining the food prep process out there with this amazing innovation, the TidyBoard.
Roy Morejon:
So ,if you would please give our audience a little bit of background in terms of the inspiration in terms of creating TidyBoard.
Matthew Charles:
Yeah, thanks for those kind words. That is the way we look at it too. The streamlined process, it was basically just like everyone else in the kitchen, having trouble organizing all the ingredients in the scraps and boards getting cluttered and plus compounded by a very small counter and kitchen space that we were working with in the Bay area.
Matthew Charles:
So, I just kept thinking I need something at the edge of this, so I can just slide the scraps into it. Originally, it was really just about the scraps.
Matthew Charles:
And then once we started fooling around with prototypes and grabbing pieces off of the shelves and mixing them together, we kind of came up with the nested solution and I have to give credit to Mark van Velsen and William Charles, my little brother for working after hours and figuring that out.
Matthew Charles:
So, it was a really great team effort. We had a lot of fun figuring it out, and it’s pretty straightforward.
Roy Morejon:
We love family affair products. It’s always great to be able to tell the story and obviously then put the product into the use case but, was this the first product that you guys have ever developed?
Matthew Charles:
This is the first product that I’ve ever brought for commercial sales. I had come up with a seismic isolation device ,for hanging nonstructural elements ,when I was doing shake testing in my civil engineer days after school. So ,I’ve been one to come up with unique solutions, but never brought anything to market.
Roy Morejon:
Interesting. So, let’s talk about when you were creating TidyBoard in terms of the process there, how did you go about deciding what features to include with the designs, what elements in terms of bamboo or plastics and those sorts of things, talk about that process and how you got started there.
Matthew Charles:
I think,the bamboo we liked because it’s natural, it’s Renewable, it’s a relatively Eco-friendly product and it’s not too expensive. Also,it’s rigid. And since we’re leveraging off the counter, we also thought plastic would be more likely to sag over time if we didn’t put in any sort of like reinforcement within the plastic and again, less plastic, the better, I suppose. And yeah, we liked the look of the bamboos as well.
Roy Morejon:
Any challenges that you guys encountered when designing the product?
Matthew Charles:
Yeah. I guess, having this product have a small footprint for delivery purposes and for shelf space, that’s kind of where we went to the silicone collapsible solution. And that was a big part of, it was mainly we need to reduce the amount of square footage on a shelf and reduce the size when we want to ship it and reduce the size when we want to mail it. So ,I guess you just start to think about dollars and a lot of times that is what drives design.
Roy Morejon:
So in your Kickstarter campaign, you had said that you guys are going to be shipping this month. How’s that process going?
Matthew Charles:
Oh, well I think our campaign officially was published October. So ,good question. I think there was a point where we had mentioned September. So ,as far as delivering in October, my guess is we’re pushing this back to November. We’re still hoping for that but, the reality is we are seeing some potential issues with the large container and the large strainer, and a few of them seem to be bowing in since it’s such a long container.
Matthew Charles:
And so we’re now toying with the idea of a permanent center bridge brace that prevents any defamation, but also acts as a handle so that you can pull the large catching container out of the board easily. So, we’re seeing it as a positive and we just really want a product that lasts and doesn’t deform and continues to work properly over time. So, its tough decision to change, aesthetically, but overall functionality should be the number one priority.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So, when did you first get introduced to crowdfunding itself as an option to bring the product to market with?
Matthew Charles:
You know that, actually might’ve…
Matthew Charles:
The first time that I was really a kind of a believer, was boosted electric skateboards. I was at a party in the city and someone’s telling me how they just threw down $1800 on electric skateboard. And I started a club in college called bored with school and it was all about skateboarding, Snowboarding and surfing.
Matthew Charles:
And so, I’m intrigued by this electric skateboard idea because I used to skateboard to class every day and I still skateboard. And I’m actually a disbeliever. “I’m like, you’re nuts, how could this actually be really any good? “I didn’t believe it. And then, I saw it in person months later, some person on an electric skateboard, and I was just blown away what an amazing product booster boards was.
Matthew Charles:
And I then went and bought one and I’m like wow, you can…
Matthew Charles:
People actually throw down money on Kickstart. And it was just the first time where I just thought that was a reasonable way to raise money for a good product.
Roy Morejon:
Let’s talk a little bit about the preparation work that you guys did to launch the campaign. What was some of the marketing techniques or things that you guys used internally to the campaign in such a great success point? Because you know, when the campaign ended on Kickstarter, you guys had over 5,700 backers and raised over $600,000 for the campaign. What were some of the marketing things that you guys did during the campaign to make it fun so well?
Matthew Charles:
Well, we partnered with launched IT. They were kind of the secret to helping us because we both have full-time jobs and William’s a full-time student and we just couldn’t manage everything that was required to the setup of a Kickstarter campaign. And the key to Kickstarter campaign is a lot of people know at this point is the pre-campaign. You need to have a strong following when you start.
Matthew Charles:
You have to have a lot of interested people so that you get a quick kick of infusion of money into the Kickstarter and the first day, and it gives you reputability right away. When people see that, wow, this has already raised 60 K seems like a safe bet. It sounds like they’re going to be successful. It seems like there can be able to pull this off.
Matthew Charles:
So, committing to raising awareness before you launch is essential from what I can tell and picking a good team to help you prepare is probably a good idea if you don’t have the time to do it yourself and commit to arranging everything and building that list. I have met another person throw a shout out to CAS caps.
Matthew Charles:
They just finished on Kickstarter, I believe. And she did an incredible job and she figured it almost all that out on her own and produce their own video all on her own and I was just blown away that she’d managed to do all that, but she had committed full time to it. So, if you’re not going in full time on preparing for your Kickstarter launch, and you’re not spending the ad money building that email list, then you got to hire someone.
Roy Morejon:
So after your campaign ended, you guys moved over to Indiegogo in demand. Can you tell me a little bit more about why you decided to go that route and what the process was like there?
Matthew Charles:
Well, we don’t have a product to sell yet. We’re still in the manufacturing phase and it seems like a good opportunity to continue to raise money. We were stuck between Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Indiegogo allows for pixels from Facebook, for marketing Kickstarter does not, but Kickstarter has such a large following.
Matthew Charles:
I think, it’s just a bit more of a trusted platform for example, my boss, she will invest in Kickstarter and he hadn’t heard of Indiegogo. So, that was kind of what pushed me over. It’s like, I know my boss knows India knows Kickstarter’s, so let’s go with the tried and trued and that’s kind of how it happened. And we went to Indiegogo, basically just to raise more money.
Roy Morejon:
Certainly. So, talk to me a little bit about the backer community that you guys have built. I mean, with over 5,700 people supporting and backing the campaign, how have you gone about managing their feedback and potentially taking some of that feedback and put it into potentially version two of this product?
Matthew Charles:
Yeah. Feedback is great. It’s really good to hear how involved everyone is with great ideas. I mean, the feedback is really intense and I should include that we also worked with a company called Jellop everybody who’s followed Kickstarter, probably has heard of this company. So they did help us do the marketing during the campaign LaunchBoom really focused at the beginning of the campaign.
Matthew Charles:
Although I think they could have done a great job during the campaign. They are specialists in Indiegogo platform .Jellop are specialists on the Kickstarter platform and Jellop put out a survey to a lot of our customers that asked for feedback. Why do you like this product?
Matthew Charles:
What would you like to see? So that’s how we really got a lot of our feedback is we asked them for the feedback and people were more than happy to share what they liked about it and what they would like to see. The biggest thing that we added to our product was the lid for the large container.
Matthew Charles:
And, it was just such overwhelming demand for a lid that is so fine, we’re building, we’re doing it. And the lid is currently in the mail coming to us for testing as is. We already have a few of the final products in hand to that we’re testing now. So yeah, feedback is great. You know, it allows you to provide what the customer wants.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So I’m excited to hear where are you guys headed next after you deliver this product?
Matthew Charles:
So,we are going to have some features that we’re going to be working. We’re working already on a mat that goes on top of TidyBoard that helps direct the juices from the board into the large catch. So, the issue that the one shortcoming that we knew we always had was, okay, juices could potentially go in between the crevice of the container and the board, which would then leak onto the counter, or if it’s not in the sink, for example.
Matthew Charles:
And so,the solution that we have for that is this mat and the mat is nice, because you can throw them to a dishwasher, bamboo and would you never want to put those in a dishwasher? The heat and moisture can separate the wood connections. So, we kind of wanted a solution that allowed everyone to dishwash the entire set up. So…
Matthew Charles:
You got to build bed juice groove, right? Well, we got the juice group we need. Yeah, we need the juice waterfall, I guess the catch. Exactly. And another thing we’ve already started quoting and in the works of designing is stainless steel solution.
Roy Morejon:
Nice, Matt, this has been fun. This is our opportunity to get into the launch round where I’m going to rapid fire and handful of questions at you. You good to go?
Matthew Charles:
Am ready.
Roy Morejon:
let’s do this. So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Matthew Charles:
I have been an entrepreneur as early as I can remember. I was buying candy bars at Safeway, taking orders on the playground in third grade, and then riding my bike to Safeway and picking up product and selling it with 40% margin. So yeah, it was just always entrepreneurial, always selling.
Roy Morejon:
So if you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it?
Matthew Charles:
Oh, that’s interesting. I guess Ben Franklin I think he was an entrepreneur. He seemed like a pretty cool guy. He was a hustler.
Roy Morejon:
So, what would you have asked, sir Benjamin Franklin?
Matthew Charles:
What books do you recommend? And, what’s your motivation to keep pushing ahead? He seemed very motivated.
Roy Morejon:
On the book front. Any books you would recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Matthew Charles:
I honestly just read old literature. I don’t actually read very many entrepreneurial books, but I highly recommend the Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky.That really great book has nothing to do with business, but it’s good for the soul.
Roy Morejon:
Always good these days. All right man, last question. What does the future of Crowdfunding look like?
Matthew Charles:
I think it looks good. I believe people are becoming more and more connected via the internet and community is actually on the rise again. And it’s just really great to see the world supporting each other, where they believe in something and see opportunity to help another. And so I think, it’s just going to be a growing industry.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Matt, this has been great. This is your opportunity to give our audience, your pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where they should go and why they should check you out.
Matthew Charles:
Yeah. Tiny board is a simple product. It solves a basic problem that people in the kitchen experience, every time they cook, we are just trying to increase your usability in the kitchen and provide hands-free straining
Matthew Charles:
For berries and pasta or whatever else you want to strain. The price point is competitive to anything on the market. It is unique. There is nothing that provides nested containers or leveraged strainers off of the counter. And we believe that you’ll enjoy this product and find it very useful in your daily cooking.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely, well audience thanks again for tuning in make sure to visit art of the kickstart.com for the notes, the transcript links to the TidyBoard and everything else we talked about today. And of course thank you to our crowdfunding podcast, sponsors the gadget flow and product type. Matt, thank you so much for joining us today on art of the kickstart.
Matthew Charles:
Thank you for having me.
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 art of the kickstart.com and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it.
Roy Morejon:
And of course, if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review@artofthekickstart.com slash 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 Uninvented partners.com. Thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you again next week.