This week on Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Patrick Hohmann of Werenbach, and learned more about his Kickstarter campaign for a collection of watches made from original rocket material. Tune in to learn more about creating a new watch, why your pre-launch campaign is important and why you need a team to support your crowdfunding efforts.

Watches built from spaceborne rockets.

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to modify your product to make it feasible to offer on Kickstarter
  • How long it takes to plan for a crowdfunding campaign
  • Why you need a good team working on your Kickstarter campaign
  • Why the pre-launch part of a Kickstarter project is so important
  • How a sense of urgency and limited quantities can help your crowdfunding project

Links

Connect with Werenbach

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.

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, turn key product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups 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 startups 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 cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts.

Now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another addition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I am joined by Patrick Hohmann, with the Werenbach.

Patrick, thank you so much for joining us.

Patrick Hohmann:

Yes, thank you for inviting me to the interview.

Roy Morejon:

So, you have created something truly unique. You have created a watch that is built from a space-borne rocket. And not just any rocket, this has come from the mother of all space rockets. Please, tell our audience what the back story is and how this all began.

Patrick Hohmann:

That’s a big story. Well, I mean, it is exactly what you said. I use real space rockets to create watches, and for this I traveled to Kazakhstan, to collect the debris from the first stages of the rocket, which fall back into the city. And then I take this material, I bring it back to Switzerland, and I cut it into pieces to fit into a watch as a dial. [crosstalk 00:02:15] That places a real piece of space rocket on your wrist.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, it’s truly beautifully crafted and obviously a lot has gone into this. In terms of when you’re creating these watches, I mean, where did this idea come from? What’s the backstory there?

Patrick Hohmann:

That was really, some inspiration. I was always fascinated by owning a speed monster and I didn’t want to pay so much money for that watch because it was just too much, and so I was always thinking and dreaming about this watch and, then I was jogging in the forest and … Yeah, it was really some inspiration, out from nowhere. And … But I could never let go that idea anymore and … Yeah, after some years I decided to go to Kazakhstan and to look whether I can find some material.

Roy Morejon:

So how did you know where the rockets were gonna land? Or how did you get the rights to be able to chop up these booster capsules, if you will, and turn them into materials for watches? How did that occur?

Patrick Hohmann:

Well, I mean, from the idea to the first trip to Kazakhstan was about two years. I did a lot of research and … at the beginning I wanted to use American material, but I didn’t succeed with that. I got lost in the administration and then by chance I discovered a film called Space Tourists, which was actually made by a Zürich filmmaker. And in that film, there is a side story talking about these metal dealers that go into the [inaudible 00:04:17] to collect those parts from the rocket. And I contacted them and he gave me his contact who brought him to that area. So, yeah. Then I got into contact with this guy and then we traveled together to Kazakhstan. Yeah, it was quite funny trip.

Roy Morejon:

No, looked like quite the experience in the crowdfunding video that you guys put together.

Patrick Hohmann:

But this, I mean, the film, the sequences you see in the film, this was I think our fourth or fifth trip to Kazakhstan so at the very beginning it was not possible at all to get into that area … or into [inaudible 00:05:09]. A movie, sorry.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting.

So how long did you spend preparing for the crowdfunding campaign? I mean, when did you know that you wanted to launch this product using Kickstarter as a means to boost your product and do pre-sales for the product itself?

Patrick Hohmann:

Well, at the beginning, I saw it’s impossible to sell a watch made from a space rocket at Kickstarter because my manufacturing costs were so extremely high. And, for me it’s a surprise to be able to sell … That you could lower the price so, at this level, where I can sell watches at Kickstarter. Because at the beginning I melted the engine from the rocket to make really the whole watch as a … yeah, the whole watch is made from the rocket. And the watch is … But the clue was, we don’t do this anymore, we just cut the material out from the shell of the rocket and developed a complete different production process. So, actually, I mean, I have this one year ago to create a watch which I can sell on Kickstarter, but it took more than half a year to make the project realistic, or feasible. And, after this half year, I took another half a year to prepare the campaign. So, it’s actually one year.

Roy Morejon:

And sometimes the best campaign, like yours, take that amount of time. I mean, what were some of the marketing aspects that you did before the campaign launched to build up such a successful campaign to date?

Patrick Hohmann:

Actually, I didn’t do a lot of marketing at the beginning. This is … My biggest learning was I should have improved. I should have built up my community in the beginning, so I started doing marketing only one week, my month before the campaign. It was a small, pre-launch campaign … I offered a watch as a gift if people would give me their addresses. And then, I followed or I wrote several emails giving them some stories about our trip, and this was very very successful. And, then I also went to the biggest watch show in the world, to both worlds, and tried to present my project to watch journalist. But, I didn’t succeed there, so there was very little attention because all the journalists were focused on the big brands and not small players like I am. And yeah, that was the pre-campaign.

Roy Morejon:

So what’s been the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered thus far with the campaign itself?

Patrick Hohmann:

The biggest challenge … Well, I mean, I was a really small team that consisted of only myself. I had two agencies who supported me, one did … online marketing like Facebook ads and the other one did some YouTube advertising. And so the rest of this was all … I did everything, like PR and all the customer … You know, answering all the emails and that was a huge workload and, that was too much for me. So it’s actually the workload that was the biggest challenge and I mean, the other challenge was PR, where I didn’t succeed. I had almost no articles about this project, which really surprised me because I thought we have a wonderful story and I really don’t know why we didn’t succeed.

Roy Morejon:

So given that this is your first campaign and you’ve already pointed out a few things that you probably would’ve done differently, what advice would you give to someone else that’s looking to kickstart their watch or accessory

Patrick Hohmann:

Looking back, I am convinced that this pre-campaign, is super important and the problem is that as a creator, is that your product is not ready and you don’t want to show unfinished work, and I mean, I could have involved people during that process in last October. And together with them I could have built up that community who would have supported us much more, and maybe we would also have … they would also have given us interesting ideas for the product development. But, I didn’t care because I wasn’t satisfied with my … with the design of the watches or other things. So, I think these pre-campaigns are a huge chance to create an interested audience which is the base of any success for a campaign.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. So given the uniqueness of the campaign and the product itself, how many watches will you be able to produce from one of these space foreign rockets?

Patrick Hohmann:

It depends very much which model. Model one to three, which is made from the booster, the … Where I can do infinite watches because there’s so much material. And then model four and five, the white one and the orange one, they’re the … The material is very limited. These two watches are the watches I sell best, so the consequence for me is that I have to travel several times a year to Kazakhstan to pick up that material to bring it to Switzerland, to manufacture those styles.[crosstalk 00:12:12]

The white dial is made from the rocket fairing, and only half of that fairing can be used as dials because of a special surface which is not suitable for a dial, and then the orange part from the rocket, this is like the engine [inaudible 00:12:34] and so the engine is the heaviest part of those boosters, and this is where the rockets fall down so this material is either burned or crashed. And so there’s very little, which can be used for the dials, so that’s a little challenge we have to face. But, I think we can do it. I mean, this material is limited, but we don’t have any experience about how many watches we can do, so I made a secure guess and limited the orderable quantity of watches.

Roy Morejon:

Sense of urgency and limited quantities certainly leads to profitable sales for you guys. You guys are doing great, you know, over 600 thousand in backing, almost a thousand backers so far. I would say that the crowd has spoken and they certainly appreciate the diligence you put into this product thus far.

Patrick Hohmann:

Yes. I guess so.

Roy Morejon:

Well this gets us into our launch round. Patrick, where I’m gonna rapid fire a few questions at you. You ready to go?

Patrick Hohmann:

Yes, okay.

Roy Morejon:

So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Patrick Hohmann:

Probably my father. He was also an entrepreneur. He was in the textile business, and I always looked up on him and I wanted to do his work, and to work together, father and son, is not always that simple. So I decided to do my own business.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting. So if you could go to space with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Patrick Hohmann:

Elon Musk.

Roy Morejon:

Alright, so while you’re up in space, what would be your first question for Elon?

Patrick Hohmann:

Oh … Let’s slide to the moon. That’s not the question, you wanted a question. Why can’t we go to the moon?

Roy Morejon:

Fair enough. So what business book or life book would you recommend to our audience?

Patrick Hohmann:

Oh, business book.

Roy Morejon:

Or what’s the most recent book you’ve finished, that you would recommend?

Patrick Hohmann:

I don’t have time for reading books. The last book I read I wrote myself. [crosstalk 00:15:00]

I wrote a novel about our adventure in Kazakhstan, actually the plot is from the first ad year, until to … It’s from the ad year until the end of, oh, no, I’m sorry … The plot is from the ad year of creating a watch made from space rockets. Up to the first beat of a second. And, unfortunately, it’s only in English, but it’s a very nice adventure novel, telling the story of two friends.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting.

So where do you see yourself in five years?

Patrick Hohmann:

Oh in five years, I dream of running a company with positive cash flows, solid finance and having a lot of enthusiastic, well involved fans.

Roy Morejon:

Last question in the launch round. Patrick, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Patrick Hohmann:

Oh. I haven’t thought about this. But, I think … I consider crowdfunding as a very creative form of financing, risky project because it’s so difficult to find investors. I really see it as a important way of financing, creative projects. I don’t think this, trend will fade. No. Certainly not.

Roy Morejon:

Patrick you’ve been great. Please give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where people should go and why they should go buy a Werenbach space rocket watch.

Patrick Hohmann:

Yeah, I have to credit this watch because I was so much thrilled by the idea of bringing space to the wrist, and this is why I went to Kazakhstan to collect those parts and made a watch which is much more authentic than any other watch because it’s true, it’s not just a marketing story. It’s real, and you can see it on the dial.

And, yes, buy the watch now. It’s really a super price, and it will help us to build up our company to go into the future. And just buy the watch on Kickstart, and our campaign ends on the 29th of May. Thank you for supporting us.

Roy Morejon:

Patrick, thank you so much for being on this show. Audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all of the show notes, a full transcript and links we talked about everything today, and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit.

Patrick, thank you so much for being on Art of the Kickstart.

Patrick Hohmann:

Thank you too. [inaudible 00:17:55].

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart; the show about building another business, world and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. If you loved this episode, leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.com/itunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find this show and helps us get better guests on here to help build your business. If you need a more hands of crowdfunding strategy, please feel free to request a quote on commandpartners.com.

Thanks again for tuning in, we’ll see you soon.