How do you take a product like sheer tights and market them on a successful crowdfunding campaign? What is it that makes this type of product so unique that it creates a passionate following? On this episode, Natalie Catania joins the podcast to discuss Sheerly Genius’ Indestructible Sheer Tights. In our conversation, Natalie explains how the materials used really set these tights apart from the rest, why Sheerly Genius went the crowdfunding route, the biggest surprise from the campaign, why they decided to partner with Enventys Partners and so much more! You don’t want to miss a minute of this eye-opening episode.

Bulletproof tights?

What is one way to make sheer tights stand out? Make them bulletproof! Sheerly Genius has developed the world’s first pair of indestructible sheers using their proprietary Sheertex yarn which has been developed from the same fiber used in bulletproof vests. While Sheertex tights were created with the same type of materials used in bulletproof vests, the end product is not in itself bulletproof. Imagine how versatile and useful these indestructible tights can be! Listen to this episode to hear from Natalie Catania as she goes into further detail about Sheertex tights and their origin story.

The decision to bring sheer tights to the crowdfunding community.

Why did Sheerly Genius decide to launch their Sheertex Indestructible Sheer Tights through crowdfunding? Wouldn’t it have been easier to market them with a more traditional model? On this episode, you’ll hear from Natalie Catania as she explains why Sheerly Genius went the crowdfunding route. Natalie points to her personal experience with successful crowdfunding campaigns as one of the reasons she made this decision. In addition, Natalie mentions that the passion and enthusiasm of the crowdfunding community made it a great place to introduce a new product to the marketplace. Hear more about this topic by listening to this engaging episode!

Leveraging social media to maximize product exposure.

How can social media help a brand connect with consumers and ignite a passionate following? Is there one platform that works better than others? Which one provides the best return on investment when it comes to time, energy and resources spent? In our conversation, Natalie Catania opens up about her perspective as Sheerly Genius’ community manager. According to Natalie, Facebook has proven itself as the most valuable social media platform due to the fact that they get more engagement and comments from fans than any other channel. Get more helpful insights from Natalie by listening to this exciting episode!

The decision to collaborate with Enventys Partners.

How can startup entrepreneurs and brands make the most of their crowdfunding campaigns? Are there services out there that can help leaders and innovators go further by allowing them to focus on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses? On this episode, Natalie Catania touches on the reason why Sheerly Genius connected with Enventys Partners to help with their marketing efforts. At the end of the day, it came down to communication and commitment for the Sheerly Genius team. Because they were able to connect with and trust the Enventys Partners team, the Sheerly Genius team felt confident that they’d be able to focus on all other aspects of getting their sheer tights to market. Learn more about Sheerly Genius and their decision to connect with Enventys Partners on this informative episode.

Key Takeaways

  • [1:10] Natalie Catania joins the podcast to talk about Indestructible Sheer Tights.
  • [2:40] How did Sheerly Genius come up with the materials to use in their tights?
  • [4:30] Why was crowdfunding the right means to launch?
  • [5:55] Which online platform provides the most ROI? What is driving sales?
  • [7:20] The biggest surprise with this crowdfunding campaign and feedback from backers.
  • [8:50] Why did Sheerly Genius decide to partner with Enventys Partners?
  • [9:50] Natalie enters the Launch Round.
  • [11:30] How to connect with Sheerly Genius.

Links

Connect With Sheerly Genius

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

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. 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 BackerKit and the Gadget Flow. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, and manage orders for fulfillment, but 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.
Welcome to another edition of ‘Art of the Kickstart,’ today I am joined by Natalie Katenaya, the community manager for Sheerly Genius. Natalie, thank you so much for joining us today.

Natalie: Thank you so much for having us, we’re really excited to be a part of this.

Roy Morejon: So, I am excited because you guys are the world’s first pair of indestructible sheer tights, let’s talk about all of the pain that you women have gone through to get to this point to create such an innovative product. So where does this all begin?

Natalie: Katherine Horvath of Sheerly Genius and it all begins with her actually, she always had troubles with ripping her pantyhose, and she always found that to be a pain point whenever she’d go into business meetings. And, she told me a little bit about this, because we’d been friends prior to the business, and I was like, “Yeah, I totally get it.” Because I’ve been in the service industry for about 14 years, surveying, and I would have to purchase multiple pairs of pantyhose, and they’d be ripping every single time I’d wear them.
And, especially if I’m running around, not paying attention, you always get a snag, and you always get a hole in them. So, it was a big pain point for me as well, and I was like, “Is there any way to write these off, or anything like that for us?”
It’s really well-needed, that’s for sure.

Roy Morejon: So, this is super cool, I love the fact that it’s innovative, and the fact that some of the materials that have been used in it are the same fibers that have been used in bulletproof vests. I mean how did you come up with the idea to integrate such a material into tights?

Natalie: Yeah, a little bit about the history of tights, I mean, prior to us coming up with this fiber, there hadn’t been an innovation since nylon in spandex, and that’s about 60 years ago. So, this is the very first innovation in material for hosiery in about 60 years. And, the way Katherine came up with it was, she thought that she really wanted to get a very strong fiber going for pantyhose, and it’s got to be super simple right?
She thought of Kevlar, as being super, super strong, and when she looked into Kevlar though, it was way too thick, and what she really wanted to do for a product like pantyhose, but she really wanted a very strong fiber, that was also really thin and fine to make the pantyhose.
So, she ultimately found something that was very close to something fine, it was also very Kevlar-esque, but it wasn’t quite fine enough. So, in order to produce the pantyhose, we actually had to develop our own fiber that’s never been used before.
So, all of the fibers that we wanted for strength, were in the category of bulletproof vests, and climbing equipment, and they were a lot stronger than ours, and they were also all white. And it was also a fiber that, it was non-dyeable as well, so we had to figure out how to color it, and the coloring process actually is in the production process. We had to manufacturer our very own fiber and we actually had to dye the fibers in the production process, as the fiber was being extruded through the machines.

Roy Morejon: Lots of innovation there. So, given that you’re the head of all things marketing and community driven, let’s talk about the preparation for the crowdfunding campaign. What did you guys do, or how did you decide that crowdfunding was the right means to launch?

Natalie: Yeah, so, I actually, personally have run a couple crowdfunding campaigns on my own through various projects that I’ve done on the side. And, I really love the Kickstarter community, and the crowdfunding community, I’m actually an avid backer as well on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So, I thought that that would be a really great step to take, because Kickstarter already has a very engaged, built-in community, with people who are willing to take a chance on a product that they believe in. So, that was a big thing for us.
In regards to planning for it, we hired a PR team, who is fantastic, and we got the word out first and foremost, and working with, you know, a marketing team like Enventys to kind of help us along, and just get the word out.
And, right away, first and foremost, when you’re launching the campaign, we talked to all of our friends and family and said, “Hey, can you help us, we want to raise as much money in the first day as possible.” And so, that’s kind of like how we did that, as well as building up our social media strategy as well, through our Instagram and Facebook, as well as Twitter and Pinterest, and all of that, just having our ducks in a line before we launched.

Roy Morejon: So, being the community manager, which platform or network do you think’s given you the most ROY or has the most fans in it that are really active that you communicate with daily?

Natalie: Yeah, I would say that Facebook would be one of the biggest platforms for that, just because we have quite a few PR posts from things like Buzzfeed, and Insider, and they’re all on Facebook there, and, you know, everybody wants to comment on it. So, it’s, really, really, quite interesting.
I think Facebook is the platform that most people comment on, for us personally.

Roy Morejon: So you guys have raised now more than 6X on your goal, what do you think’s been ultimately responsible? I mean, with all the marketing efforts, the PR, obviously all the advertising that we’re doing over here on our end, what do you think’s been driving the majority of all those sales for you guys?

Natalie: I think it’s just the fact that our product is super-innovative. We have something that has not been created prior to today, as I said, over 60 years, and people are really tired of the planned obsolescence of the hosiery industry. And, so, I think it’s a partially, obvious the marketing, but also partially the fact that we have an innovative product that people want to write about and talk about.
Actually, what’s interesting about our product, speaking of planned obsolescence of the hosiery industry, is the fact that with our product, we’re saving around eight million pairs of throw-away pantyhose every year globally from the landfills. It’s a pretty big dent.

Roy Morejon: Yeah, that’s great to see, obviously.
So, given that you’ve run a few crowdfunding campaigns, what’s been the biggest surprise thus far for this active campaign?

Natalie: The biggest surprise, huh? I guess with my last few crowdfunding campaigns, they weren’t as quickly funded. So, I think that just the fact that it was so quickly funded, and that everybody was onboard, and just, the feedback that we’re getting from everybody and the positivity. I think that was the most surprising for me.

Roy Morejon: So, let’s talk about interaction with your backers, are you getting a lot of feedback, how are you managing it, and what are they saying?

Natalie: Yeah, for sure, a lot of our backers, which were so happy to have, we get a ton of different feedback, we get comments and messages and we love it, I answer every single one of them. And what they’re saying is, they really love the product, but they really would like us to expand it to nude pantyhose, other colors, and other styles, and things like that. That’s probably the biggest question that we get from our backers.
And, our answer to that is, yes, we definitely want to do that. We definitely want to be in many more colors and styles and sizes in the near future, and hopefully expand globally and make this a global brand. So, yeah.

Roy Morejon: So, that’s where you guys are headed next when the project ends?

Natalie: Well, next, yes, we hope so, but next we’re gonna be heading over to Indiegogo to continue with our crowdfunding actually. Which is very exciting for us.

Roy Morejon: Awesome. So, you guys have been working with our agency, Enventys Partners for a while now, what were some of the considerations that you guys went through in terms of choosing an agency to partner with?

Natalie: Yeah, so, I guess, number one would probably be, you know, just taking a look at what the history is of the company, right? So, who you worked with, and how they did, as well as being able to get along with the people. You know, you guys are very friendly and very easy to get along with, which we really, really love.
There’s no period for trial with you guys, which is amazing, you guys stick with us all along the way, which we were really, really happy about. And, it’s been a fantastic outcome, so we’re really happy with the partnership with that, that’s what we were pretty much looking for, and you guys hit all the goals for us.

Roy Morejon: We love all the feedback, Natalie, and, no, it’s been great working with your team as well. And, obviously, achieving hundreds and hundreds of backers, and I think we’re almost at 175,000 dollars raised as the campaign is coming to an end on Kickstarter and migrating over to Indiegogo in demand, so it’s been great.

Natalie: Yes, it’s been awesome.

Roy Morejon: So, Natalie, this is gonna get us into our launch round, I know you’re an avid listener of ‘Art of the Kickstart’ so are you ready to go?

Natalie: Let’s do it.

Roy Morejon: So, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Natalie: So, for me, I was an entrepreneur of my own right prior to joining with Katherine. But, for me, becoming an entrepreneur and joining a startup, it’s just about building a product that people can love and people can, you know, really relate to, and just to see how people react to it, it’s amazing.

Roy Morejon: So, if you could go to the beach with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Natalie: Oh, the beach, Sara Blakely, she seems like she’d be super fun. You know, she was a comedian when she started, and she just sounds like a down to Earth, really great girl, and we could learn a lot from her.

Roy Morejon: Nice, what would be your first question for Sara as you guys were laying your towels out on the beach?

Natalie: Oh my goodness. How do you do it? Keep a family and a business going?

Roy Morejon: And find time to go to the beach right?

Natalie: Exactly.

Roy Morejon: Who did you look up to as you were growing up as a kid.

Natalie: When I was growing up as a kid, I looked up to my mom, I think. She was always a working person, and I always wanted to strive to be independent like that.

Roy Morejon: What book would you recommend to our audience?

Natalie: This is very hard, I love all of the books. You know what, ‘Ready Player One’ has been, like, one of my favorite books, actually. It’s really interesting, and it’s a fiction, but …

Roy Morejon: That’s a first one for us. Alright Natalie, last question, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Natalie: I think the future of crowdfunding looks pretty bright, I think more and more people are gonna be getting involved in it. I think that more and more people are going to be, you know, learning more about it as it grows and becomes more popular, and this will really help entrepreneurs to build really great products that people want, I think.
The more people involved will help a lot more people be able to start businesses and create more jobs for other people as well.

Roy Morejon: Absolutely. That’s our hope as well.
Well, Natalie, this has been awesome, please give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should check you out.

Natalie: Yeah, so we’re the first pair of indestructible, sheer pantyhose, and, yeah, definitely, check us out, there are more answers to your questions on our Kickstarter page where you can see our whole video, about the whole behind the scenes process. And there are lots of behind the scenes videos there.
You can also check us out on our website at Sheerlygenius.com. And on our Facebook and Instagram and Twitter @sheerlygenius.

Roy Morejon: Awesome, audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit Artofthekickstart.com for all the notes, transcript, and links to everything we’ve talked about today. And, of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors the Gadget Flow and BackerKit, and if you loved this episode as much as I did, make sure to leave us a review on iTunes.
Natalie, thank you so much for joining us today on ‘Art of the Kickstart.’

Natalie: Thanks so much for having me, that was great.

Roy Morejon: 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 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 start-ups 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.