For this week’s episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Patrick and Margarita Vacanti, two entrepreneurs who put a literal twist on the typical wine glass by adding a spiral that catches sediment to bring out red wine’s best flavors. Tune in to learn more about how they designed these glasses, how they used Kickstarter Live to their advantage and much more.

The Spirale™ Wine Glass

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to collect useful feedback about your product before launching it on Kickstarter
  • How to handle product design challenges
  • How doing a livestream on Kickstarter can give your campaign a boost
  • Why it’s important to stay authentic on Kickstarter
  • Why launching a project on Kickstarter takes serious commitment

Links

Connect with Vacanti

Sponsors

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

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

Transcript

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 start-ups raise over 100 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 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 buyers’ guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts.

Now let’s get on with the show.

Roy:

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today, I am being joined with Margarita and Patrick Vacanti. Thank you so much for joining us

Margarita:

You’re welcome.

Patrick:

Thank you Roy.

Roy:

So, we have created the Vacanti Wine Glass, please tell our audience all about this unique product.

Margarita:

I can just take that one Pat. So the Vacanti Wine Glass, the unique thing about the Spirale Wine Glass is it really changes the way you experience red wines because as many people experience with red wine you can end up with that sediment at the end of your last glass that gives you the bitter run up.

And what’s really unique about the Spirale is that we have a corkscrew feature in the bottom of the bowl that enables the sediment to settle down into that and because of the way it’s uniquely shaped, when you tilt the glass you don’t get the sediment.

Sediment is something that you find in fine wines or in regular bottles. When we first encountered it, it was just a Thursday night at home enjoying a bottle of red wine, and we tend to open a bottle, pour, and enjoy, and don’t really think too much about whether or not there is going to be sediment. So, it was a situation where it was just a casual evening together, and encountered sediment and unfortunately it really ruined that last sip of an enjoyable bottle.

So, that was a little bit about the inspiration but you know that’s the unique feature of the Spirale Wine Glass.

Roy:

So this campaign got fully funded in the first, I think, six or seven hours. When you guys were creating the Spirale Wine Glass, I mean, what did the process look like? I know that you guys went through a really long time, in terms of development, you almost launched a campaign and then realized you had more product work to do.

So talk to our audience about that process that you guys have gone through to get to this point.

Patrick:

Sure. So, after Margarita kind of explained her idea of what she wanted to create with the Spirale Wine Glass, we started working with scientific glass blowers initially. They seemed to have the skill we needed to kind of create this unique shape of what we’re looking to do.

And after we were able to kind of hone in on our prototype that we had, that met our design and functionality, the next thing we needed to do was to test it, make sure it worked, make sure it cleaned well, and we kept getting further and further and once we realized that we had something that was viable here it was time to move on to the next step, and get some mass production lined up.

So, that was a journey to try to find somebody who could make, you know, several thousand of these for us, and, to meet our design, because this is a design that has never been made before so the manufacturing process didn’t exist. So, it’s not like we could just walk in to a glass manufacturer and just say, you know, “Make a bunch of these”, and they’d say, “Okay, they’ll be coming tomorrow”.

So we had to do a lot of, you know, research and development and collaboration with manufacturers, which itself is a challenge because a lot of them are just set up to manufacture the next wine glass down the street.

So we had to go through a lot of that, once we got that nailed down, we sent out over 600 glasses to wineries, restaurants, wine bars, wine connoisseurs, event spaces, sommeliers, you name it. Anybody in the wine industry or big wine fan we got the glasses in their hands and let them use it and got feedback from them saying what works well, what needs to change, what’s your feedback. And we collected all that so that we could perfect the glass that we are now presenting today in our Kickstarter campaign.

We wanted to bring the best product to market and we took all of that feedback and created the version we have now, and to your second part of your question, we were ready to start our campaign and we realized that our manufacturer that we had picked out just wasn’t ready to scale the operations and produce the glass that we wanted to produce for our fans. And so we went back to the drawing board finding manufacturers, cause we really wanted to get one that was ready and able to create the glass that we wanted and had the high quality levels and was able to produce it on the timeframe that we wanted.

So, that took a little bit longer, but we finally came around to that this spring and had that nailed down and that’s when we decided it’s time to roll out to the Kickstarter campaign to get some fans onboard.

Roy:

That’s lovely. So these products are absolutely beautiful, I’ve got a set here in my office with me. I mean the hand blown glass is amazing, I mean. Talk about some of the challenges that you guys have encountered thus far by just designing the product because it hadn’t existed before.

Patrick:

So [crosstalk 00:06:02] let me, I’ll dip in on that one and then Margarita if there is something you need to add you can.

I think the biggest challenge in glass blowing that we’ve learned, you know we weren’t glass blowers when we started this, and we still aren’t glass blowers but we’ve learned a lot about glass manufacturing. Our design has negative angles built into it, so that’s what really helps keep the sediment at bay when you’re tipping your glass.

And, you know, glass is very difficult substance to work with because it melts at a very high temperature and so there aren’t a lot of tools out there that you can use to help shape what you need to shape. So, we had to get pretty creative on what we were using and how to use it, and a lot of glass blowing manufacturing is all about temperature and time right, so, we had to really figure out getting the temperature up and down in the right place, right time, and you know letting things set for the right amount of time and all that so.

That was all stuff that we didn’t know and we had to learn as we went and trying to explain to somebody this is what we’re trying to build and, you know, drawing it by hand and trying to figure it out, it’s, we really had to do a lot more work than we thought we would because we thought we could just describe it to somebody and they could just crank out a glass. Well, it’s not that easy. If it was that easy it would already be done, so we had to spend a lot of time one learning how glass, and different types of glass, and different types of materials all behave together, and had to shape them properly and work them properly with time and temperature so that the final outcome was the design that you see embedded in the glass.

Roy:

Interesting. So what’s been the biggest surprise that you’ve both encountered so far during the campaign

Margarita:

I think one of the wonderful surprises that we’ve encountered, is that we have backers from around the globe. So getting this product out, getting word out across the world has been fascinating to watch. Really proud of the coverage that we’ve gotten, most recently from a magazine in London.

So, that’s been a delightful side of it. I think the other surprise that I would say is just seeing how our fans spread the word about us. So we get, we continue to add Facebook followers, folks share about our products.

And I think that’s one of the things about the Spirale Wine Glass is that it’s a real conversation starter. Whenever I’m talking with someone about what we’ve invented, there’s always a lot of questions and, “How do you look at the wine differently” and “It changes the texture of the wine”. And so I think our product is surprising to other people as they encounter it because it really starts a conversation about wine that people aren’t normally having.

Roy:

Interesting. So you guys did a Kickstarter live stream event a few weeks ago, tell our audience about that. How did you guys go about preparing, and what kind of feedback did you get?

Margarita:

That was fun. Pat do you want to answer that one?

Patrick:

Yeah so you know obviously we did a highly well produced video for our Kickstarter video and there was a lot of time and prep and, you know, going through scripts and things for that. But the live stream for Kickstarter was a totally different experience.

And I think, you know, what was fun about it for me was that we didn’t want to go into it, you know, prepared with agendas and lines and what we were gonna say. It was more of, “Let’s just talk to our fans and let’s have fun with this”.

So that’s what I think helps bring across, you know the authenticity. This has been, yes a lot of work and a lot of time for us but we’ve learned a lot and it’s been fun meeting all of these different people and telling them about our creation and seeing the great responses that we get, the feedback that we get about just how cool it is, and, “How come nobody has ever thought of that” and, you know, “It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe you’ve stuck with it this long”.

You know, that’s the type of feeling that was fun to kind of convey through our live stream that we had.

Roy:

Yeah, that’s always fun to get on there and, you know, there’s no lying on Facebook or, you know, any sort of live video right. You’ve got to present it raw. At least you guys got to drink some wine out of it though, right? But I think you guys-

Margarita:

That’s right.

Roy:

… got plenty of that, I’m assuming? Plenty of taste testing right?

Margarita:

Absolutely.

Roy:

So, what advice would you give to someone else looking to Kickstart their innovation whether that be in the wine industry or in glass blowing what ever it may be? What advice would you give to them?

Margarita:

I know I would have something I would say Pat, and then if you want to add to it. The way that we approach this, and some of this is a fact, that the name of our company is our name.

The commitment we’ve had to establishing a quality design and a quality product that we can be very proud to bring to market, and making sure that we understand exactly how we are going to manufacture this, is to me a really important part of [inaudible 00:11:03] with a Kickstarter campaign.

Now I think it’s really important to establish your companies integrity right out the gate with your consumers and with your fans, and that’s where we’re proud of how far along we are in this process. Between being willing to halt our campaign preparations to make sure we had a manufacturer in place ready to scale, making sure that we had taken the product out to market to a subset of consumers without selling it. To be committed to postponing revenue so that we bring it to market at the right time and we’re ready to fulfill our commitment to our backers.

So that would be one piece of advice I would give is, go when you’re ready to really fulfill the promise.

Patrick:

Yeah, I would say, you know that, never give up. I don’t know if I can count how many nos I heard from manufacturers or, you know, whoever, of, “Yeah we can’t do that” or, “That can’t be done” or, you know, “That shouldn’t be done”.

You know just questioning why, and is it worth it and all that. You know, that was balanced with a lot of great feedback about what a great idea it is. So continue pushing. If you have a great idea continue pushing and get through that, and that’s what truly an entrepreneur is, you know, believing in your idea and pushing through and getting that done.

And I would say, you know, adding to that, nobody cares as much as you, and that can be an advantage and a disadvantage. You know when you get reactions or feedback that aren’t 100 percent positive sometimes it hurts because, you know, this is your baby, this is your idea. You’ve carried it this far, and somebody you thought, maybe, would back your project maybe that hurts a little bit, or somebody who, maybe, cancels a pledge for what ever reason. Maybe that hurts a little bit.

But, on the other side, believe in yourself and don’t listen to the nos, that’s what you can take to your advantage, is because you care so much, you’re the one who’s going to push this and get this through. Because you care so much, you’re the one who’s going to carry it to fruition, and that’s the best thing you have in your wallet, you know. It’s not the time, it’s not the money, it’s the ambition to get it done, you know, and to push through and believe in yourself.

So you’d have to use that to your advantage and just bring it to market because you know it’s a good idea and you know you can carry it through fruition.

Roy:

Absolutely. Solid advice from the both of you. Thank you.

This is going to get us into our launch round where I am going to rapid fire questions at you. Who wants to be on the hot seat?

Patrick:

Can we both be on the hot seat?

Roy:

We can do that. All right.

So, for the both of you, what inspired you both to become entrepreneurs?

Margarita:

The opportunity to create something that is uniquely our own.

Patrick:

That’s exactly what I would say. Something that you could call your own.

Roy:

All right.

What’s your favorite bottle of wine?

Patrick:

I’m a Zinfandel fan.

Margarita:

I’ll take any Malbec out there.

Roy:

So, if you guys could have a glass of wine with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Patrick:

Wow, I’d have to go with the technology side. I’d had a hard time going between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Margarita:

I’d go with Elon Musk.

Roy:

Nice.

What’s the last book you read?

Margarita:

I will take that one because my husband is not a book reader.

I am reading A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Synonymal dystopian example. Very good.

Patrick:

I am reading Never Pay Retail for College, because we have three teenagers and it’s time to start thinking about it.

Roy:

Fair enough.

Where do you both see yourself in five years?

Margarita:

If it’s not an Italian villa retired with Pat, then most likely still enjoying a healthy balance between entrepreneurship for ourselves, and continuing to have a career that balances some involvement with corporate structure.

Patrick:

I think in five years we’ll almost have all of the kids out of the house and I, as it pertains to what we’re talking about here, I would love to be knee deep in a fantastic operation that has spread from not only the Spirale Wine Glass out there in the world, we got other big plans for the company, as far as extending through other drink ware.

So, stay tuned for that, but my hope is to have a, you know, well run operation, that we’re up and going and have a lot of, you know, products out and that are deep into consumers’ hands.

Roy:

Last question in the launch round.

What does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Margarita:

Crowded.

Patrick:

Yeah, I think it’s got a big upside. You know, as laws are changing and technology is changing, more and more people are understanding it, and giving in to it, and there’s different niche plays out there that different companies can get into, and you know, it’s bringing the power to the people. Which, is what you know all this technology and disruption is about, and, you know, it’s leveling the playing field and I think it’s got a long ways to go.

Roy:

I agree.

Well Patrick and Margarita this has been great please give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where they should go, and why they should go buy Spirale Wine Glasses.

Margarita:

Well I will say, if you want to revolutionize the way you experience wine you need to check our project. The Spirale Wine Glass had the unique feature that you will not find anywhere else on the market. We ask you to back our campaign, because that is how we will build our base of customers, and get our production ordered through and get our product out in people’s hands. [crosstalk 00:17:18] Vacanti.com, or find us on Kickstarter, looking for Vacanti.

Patrick:

Yeah, whether you’re an average wine drinker or a big time wine drinker, our glass has the unique look that nobody else has, it’s a great conversation piece, and it’s another way for you to enjoy your wine, and whether you have sediment or not, it’s a great thing to have in your cabinet, and, you know, if you do run into sediment, obviously, it plays a great role there and it let’s you enjoy your wine without worrying about getting it in your mouth.

So, you know, again, vacanti.com or on Kickstarter under Spirale or Vacanti.

Roy:

Patrick and Margarita, thank you so much for joining us today.

Audience thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all of the show notes, the full transcript, links to the campaign and everything we talked about today.

And of course thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and BackerKit.

Patrick and Margarita thank you so much for joining us today.

Patrick:

Thank you Roy.

Roy:

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 artkick.wpengine.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 love this episode a lot leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.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 enventystpartners.com

Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll see you again next week.