BUSINESS PODCAST: Crowdfunding – reVessel’s Start up Story and Kickstarter Campaign Success with Co-Founder Jessica Bell
I talk with Jessica Bell, the Co-Founder of reVessel, the most versatile bento style lunchbox.
Jessica talks about how reVessel was one of over ten ideas they had when she and her husband and co-founder, Eddie, started the company.
Their Kickstarter campaign reached it’s goal in three days and has since hit over $150,000.
Jessica talks about their start up journey and how to stay healthy while building a start up.
You don’t want to miss this episode…
A full transcript of the episode is below.
Brandon: 00:00 Everybody and welcome to the first episode of build a business with Brandon. I am your host, Brandon White and I am excited to be back into podcasting. I started in 2005 did a bunch of podcasts in the fishing world and now I’m back at it in 2019 and I’m excited to be here. Our first episode is with Jessica Bell of re vessel. I met her at an entrepreneur conference where I was speaking and I really loved her take. Her and her husband are building this company called re Bessel and from a person who takes their food with them wherever I go, usually if I don’t think I’m going to have good food, her product sounded awesome. So after the conference I had her card and I was following up and I went onto Kickstarter where she and Eddie have a campaign for vessel and I w I looked at the video and I looked at what they were doing and I loved it so much they actually bought it and then I sent her a note and said, Hey, I just bought the, I think I bought the adventure pack and what do you want to do a podcast, because I think the listeners would love to hear how you got your Kickstarter program going, how you started and how it’s happening.
Brandon: 01:21 Now. Here’s the exciting thing with her and Eddie is they had a goal of $15,000 and we recorded this episode just a little few days after they had kicked off. They had already exceeded their $15,000 goal. I think they were at 33,000 and they are at over a hundred thousand dollars in their Kickstarter campaign, which is super exciting and even better is the Kickstarter campaign ends on November 26 so you still have time if you’re interested to go to Kickstarter and check it out. I also created for you a crowd funding cheat sheet. A lot of students of mine are always asking, how can I raise money? And one of the best ways is using something like Kickstarter where people will pay you for a product that they’re interested in and front you that money. Now you have to deliver on it, but it’s a great way to raise money. So I put together a cheat sheet. I tell you where to download it towards the end of the episode. So without any further
Brandon: 02:43 We are here with Jessica Bell from reVessel to hear her and her husband’s story about how they started re vessel and how it all came about. They have an incredible Kickstarter campaign going. They had $15,000 goal and I checked the first day and I think they had already exceeded it. So we’re going to talk about that a little later. Learn how Jessica and Eddie did that so quickly and it keeps on growing a full disclosure for everybody actually did buy one of their boxes. I paid full price, did the whole Kickstarter thing. I met Jessica and her husband Eddie at a entrepreneur summit a week ago this weekend with Damon John where I was speaking with Damon John and Robert held his check and grant Cardone. I was really impressed with what they’ve done. When I first talked to him, I didn’t realize that they were launching Kickstarter right away, but they launched Kickstarter on that Tuesday and it really Oh, they’re kicking rear with it. But we’ll talk about that. And Jessica, thanks so much for taking the time to come on today. I know you just maybe you could tell the audience where you just came from and it, I think it’s where this whole idea reversal started.
Jessica Bell: 03:59 Yeah, absolutely. So Sunday, today’s Sunday. And for the fifth year in a row, my husband and I have spent our Sunday with the San Diego chapter of ALS. And that stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That’s a neuro neurodegenerative disease. It’s a fatal disease. And up until this I mean as far as, as far as the general public knows, there is no cure for that disease. So we we, we face that disease with somebody very close to us about five years ago and received a diagnosis from my husband’s mother-in-law, Marianne. And that was kind of the beginning of, of our story. It was a, it was a very tragic beginning, but it was it was a, it was a, a place where we either could be broken or we could rebuild. So about 10 months into the story we lost Maryanne and two months after that I received a few diagnosis, a few diagnoses for some autoimmune conditions, and I had known for a couple of months that there were some there were some, some declines in my health. Just, you know, it was very much mom trying to keep everything together and this very difficult time of our lives and this, this life event that everybody, everybody has to face. So we, we, we got through that and every year we go back and, and we walked. Remember we actually ran this year, I have two boys that don’t tend to walk very well. So we we, we sprinted the three miles it seemed. And,
Brandon: 05:43 And that’s kept you and Eddie busy for the debt for this morning. You look pretty good for having run this morning.
Jessica Bell: 05:49 Well, thank you. We’ve been to hockey games. We’ve been all over the place. So
Brandon: 05:54 We were, we were back there. Yeah. Tell us how, how did, I mean, that sounds like a crazy tragic thing to happen, but how did, how did that spring about the reversal?
Jessica Bell: 06:05 So you know, the, the story of an entrepreneur is never linear. It’s never, you know, just to a straight path. And for me I can, I can start from today and literally back peddle into what led to what led to what led to what and it’s, it’s this game of or the feeling of, and then I went over there and met somebody new and found somebody over there and that informed this next decision. So what informed our decision to move forward? My husband and I have always been idea generators. We love to talk ideas and this would be really cool, but for some reason this one really, really stuck. This was a need. This was a big gap that, that really hit home for us. So after losing somebody very close to us to a, an autoimmune condition, and then having been diagnosed with my own autoimmune conditions, I knew deep down, I, there’s a lot of gut intuition that has guided this journey for us. And I use that gut intuition to kind of guide my, my navigating the medical field and the medical space to recover and, and ultimately go into remission on my autoimmune disease. So,
Brandon: 07:23 Oh, that’s awesome
Jessica Bell: 07:25 Then. Yeah. Thanks. But you know, rather, rather than taking the conventional path of, you know, here’s your, here’s your label, here’s what you have, here’s the pills that you take for that to treat the disease. I want it to get to the root of the disease. And so I spent, you know, years researching and trying to uncover what the, what the body really needed. And it really boils down to two very simple things. It needs less exposure and less contamination, less exposure to toxins, less, less, less of the stuff that, that caught, undermines the body and the biology. And it needs more of the good stuff, more of the nutrition, more of the the powerful stuff that builds our body and keeps us healthy. So my approach was at this point in time, restorative, but now it’s, it’s something that I use on a daily basis to prevent any it’s actually a longevity, you know, a longevity practice that I now practice and use with my family as well to, you know, to help my kids recover from little injuries that they get [inaudible] help. Keep them on, on the top of their game. And, and so far it’s been working very well.
Brandon: 08:38 Oh, that’s great. So just for the listeners, are there, are there any tips when you say good stuff and bad stuff, can you give us an example of the good stuff that people should be eating more of?
Jessica Bell: 08:51 Sure, absolutely. I’m a, I’m a nutrient chaser, so if somebody asked me earlier today, you know, what, what type of diet do you follow? And I chased the nutrients I go where I can get the most nutrients in real food. So it’s not coming from a factory, it’s coming from a farm, it’s coming from soil that was that, that, that was regenerated. And you know, uses practices that are contributing to the health of the soil because that’s really where, you know, the, the, the seed and the roots are absorbing those nutrients and they become the plant and the plant is then what we eat. And sadly, in our current state of, of farming and conventional farming, I know this, this could absolutely be another rabbit hole. But we’re missing a lot of those nutrients due to our chemical farming. So re committed to getting back to regenerative organic agriculture as part of our social impact.
Jessica Bell: 09:49 That’s just a part of it. But it is the you know, it is a big driver for us is to look at that stakeholder as that’s where our food comes from. It comes from farms. It doesn’t come from you know, processing and factories and getting wrapped up and then it just sits on a shelf for months, months, months on end. And then at that point in time you don’t have any to transplant. So if I’m going to chase the nutrients, I’m going to go local, I’m going to go sustainable. I’m going to make sure I’m getting a lot of cruciferous vegetables. That’s your, you know, your cabbage and your brusselsprouts and your broccolis. And even better than that is broccoli sprouts or not a leafy greens, dark, dark, leafy vegetables. Good. good brain food, good brain food. Like,
Brandon: 10:32 Well, I think that’s good advice for all of us. And I was sitting here thinking we should probably, can you explain exactly what re vessel is because we’ve talked about the name and the nutrients and all that, but we haven’t even talked about what it actually is and it does. So maybe give your your elevator speech or what that is
Jessica Bell: 10:53 Sir. Re re vessels, what you put all of these nutrient dense pure foods to keep them pure. That’s weight. That’s what you put it in. To be able to spend as little time in the kitchen as necessary and to get out into the world to pursue passion. So it’s a safe, reusable, sustainable food storage system. It’s dynamic, it’s three systems all bundled up into one that can serve multiple functions, whether at home or at a campsite or at an office where you can pack up a lunchbox or you can use it in the oven. So it’s oven safe, freezer safe, fridge safe. It’s really our it’s the essence of, of who and what we are, which is simple but effective and it’s clean and nontoxic.
Brandon: 11:38 Yeah. And the other thing that I liked when I watched your video and read everything is you can actually, when you take a campy and you can put those, they’re stainless steel containers onto the fire themselves to cook as well, right?
Jessica Bell: 11:51 Yup, yup. We’ve done a lot of testing. We tend to spend as much time as we can in the outdoors. So we, you know, we have this, this gift of not doing a very good job of separating business and pleasure, which is also a blessing because we can then test our business in the environments where they’re going to be used and where they’re intended. So using them on a cooktop to, you know, saute vegetables while you’re outside watching your kids play in the, you know, at the camp site or taking, you know, taking a picnic to the to the beach and being able to use them in multiple environments.
Brandon: 12:33 So this has been a two year really journey for you. And I think one of the things that I like to talk about to entrepreneurs, especially when I tell the real story is, is everybody sees your Kickstarter. It’s doing really well and it looks like you’re doing awesome. But this has been a two year journey all along the way. And I think that you and Eddie are actually doing this full time. So could you tell us a little bit about you obviously or maybe not, but had jobs before you decided to quit and go all in on this. Tell us a little bit about that.
Speaker 4: 13:10 Yeah,
Jessica Bell: 13:10 Sure. Yeah. Jumping back to when Eddie’s mom passed away there, there was kind of a, this trifecta of, of events that happened in our life. Two of them. One, his mom passed away, another one, he was working for a startup up in the Bay area and the company was, was not doing as well as it had, had hoped and let him go. So he was one of the five executives and or one of the five original you know, founders of the company. And he was given what I look back and consider a a parachute, you know, he was given the opportunity to kind of jump. And at that moment in time for us, it was you know, as soon after we had lost his mom, his mom passed away and left us something, you know a pile of money to do something with.
Jessica Bell: 14:03 We could have either gone on lavish vacations and spent many years just, and, you know, enjoying and not working or doing whatever it was that, that I guess our current society says is what we should be doing. But we looked at it as, we can’t just do nothing with it. And so we we, we decided that we needed it to, to 10 exit and do something with it to, to, to have a positive impact. So we looked at all of our values and really assessed all of those values, and we looked at our children and had to do something to change their future not just their future of health, but for their peers as well and for the planet. So our company is focused on, on two, two pronged approach. Neither one are, are isolated from the other, both the human impact and the environmental impact on our planet.
Jessica Bell: 14:54 Sick. Our humans are sick and then our humans are sick. Our planet is, is, is not thriving as well. So we looked at what we could do with that and we also, you know, there, there was, there was a convergence of ideas. I happen to be prepping a lot of food at the time. So while I was prepping all my food, I was confined to the kitchen for, as I was learning to cook. You know, we’ve lost the regeneration of traditions and knowledge and wisdom in the kitchen space. And so most people today don’t know how to prepare a meal with real foods. It’s, it comes in a box and it can be microwaved or put on a tray and thrown in the oven. Then it’s it’s convenient enough for somebody who has no skills or knowledge in the kitchen. So while I was teaching myself to cook years ago, I would have a lot of friends come to visit, but they also got to see how my children were eating.
Jessica Bell: 15:52 So at that time I started getting requests from neighbors to start preparing food. And so after several invitations to do that, I actually said yes because I realized I could influence the health of my children’s peers. So I started doing that for about six months and got up to within the first week. I had, you know, one family and had no intention of doing anything more than that, but they apparently shared it with somebody else or somebody else found out. So within six weeks I was cooking for at least six different families Monday through Thursday, while, you know, juggling hockey and while doing all these other things. But I was sourcing the food for them. So I knew, I knew the farmers that they, that the food was coming from. I knew the ranchers, I knew everything about it, so I could vouch for it.
Jessica Bell: 16:41 It was the, it was, it was displacing conventional food and factory food. And it was putting a meal on the table. So they would come home, they would have salmon, broccoli, and spaghetti squash to eat as opposed to, you know nuggets, fries, and a shake. So after six months, that became very grueling because there was this, this, this is not scalable nagging feeling that I can’t keep serving in glass that’s not modular, that doesn’t have any greater function. It’s, and it’s fragile and it’s, it’s difficult. Plus at the same time, I was carrying a lot of my food to hockey tournaments and camping trips and three, we growed trips and I was carrying glass everywhere. So at that point in time, both of those concepts, in both of those issues that came together, it’s like one thing could solve both of these issues.
Jessica Bell: 17:31 Something that is, that facilitates a better experience for somebody that wants to take food out, but a better experience that for somebody that wants to bring for the back end. So at that point in time, we had, you know, this, this funding, this, this angel funding, if you will. And, and so we decided to take that. And start speaking a new language whose language of, of entrepreneurs and the language of manufacturers and language of mechanical engineering and really started to dive in. So we took this on full time in October of 2017 and since that time, a year, about a year later, we launched the brand and spoke out about what our brand was about. And then about six months after that, we launched our flagship product called the adventure kit, which is in fact available on a Kickstarter as well. But that’s not how we intended it to be introduced to the world. So we started with preorders. We started with a small friends and family offering just and friends and family, meaning they could actually buy the product on three order. They knew their credit cards would be charged they’d been waiting. And we actually just fulfilled a small portion of those orders on Friday. So just two days ago, we knocked on some doors in LA and took them to people in our community and showed up and surprise them with the boxes of of, of opportunity and possibilities.
Brandon: 19:03 That’s awesome. And that, that’s one thing that I always tell entrepreneurs. They always say, well, we need funding. And I said, well, why don’t you just, you can go take preorders and that’s exactly what you did, which ultimately gave you knowing that when you place that order, you are going to be able to fulfill the cost of that. So that’s awesome. You guys are pretty much gone by the playbook, so you’ve been,
Jessica Bell: 19:28 Yeah, but even the playbook sometimes doesn’t have rules for the things that you encounter. I do remember I saw a presentation that you had put on, I believe it was on Saturday. We’re at the event where we met and you showed pictures of, of what life looked like in the early days and it wasn’t as glamorous and as one would think of, you know, a title as a CEO would be. And I laugh because, you know, CEOs, they’re taking red eyes. They’re sitting in, you know, sent not in the aisle seat or the window seat, but right in between. And, you know, it’s not as luxurious because we are bootstrapping and we didn’t know back in may how we would get to June and June. We didn’t know how we were going to get to July and July. And here, here we are and we’re still 100% fully owned and operated. By the grace of God and the creativity and the just, you know, looking forward and looking ahead. We’ve, we’ve made it here, so with was very Holy underwear and, you know saggy underwear that need to be replaced and many other things that need to be replaced at some point in time and a vacation that is so needed. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there.
Brandon: 20:46 So do you have an internal timeline
Jessica Bell: 20:48 For yourselves? I mean, I know you this Kickstarter campaign at a ton of work, and while I want to get to that in shortly, but do you have an internal timeline in your business plan where you said, okay, if we don’t get to X in sales or we don’t make these milestones, then you know, we’re either going to pivot or we’re gonna say this isn’t gonna work. Did you have that sort of internal game plan? I would definitely say it’s an internal game plan. Absolutely. we’ve, we’ve certainly been, as I mentioned earlier, guided along the way. You know, we’ve put our foot out and, and, and sell it for a stepping stone. And if something felt like there, you know, there was stone there we would take to step and we’ve moved constantly in that direction. We’ve pivoted along the way. When we first w when we first came up with the concept of concept was for a family style actually a disposable container system.
Jessica Bell: 21:49 And after looking at the damage that disposable has done, whether they’re compostable disposables or plastic or whatever material might be used, we didn’t need any more disposable. We needed something that was forward-looking and was going to empower the future of food storage as opposed to we’re still trying to deal with issues from 30, 40, 50 years ago when plastics were, you know, were, were introduced. And so we look at this as an opportunity to, to stop that bleeding. But then, you know, also look at the future and the future for us is, is reusable, is people now taking responsibility for their everyday choices and you know, looking at their impact. So that, that kind of flows nicely into how we look at our impact. And we’re a manufacturing company. And so without a doubt, every manufacturing company is going to have a footprint.
Jessica Bell: 22:50 Just like every individual has a footprint. Every, you know, every average individual throwing about 4.4 pounds of trash up to seven pounds of trash away a day. And so as a company, how can we use those same practices or those same philosophies to cut down on our carbon footprint? So we’ve organized ourselves to be in alignment with a new nonprofit called climate neutral and founded by two prominent, actually one of them is the record holder on Kickstarter peak design. And the other one is the founder of BioLite. Those two companies came together and recognize the need for better way to measure a company’s carbon footprint. So once the measuring tool is, is applied and you can assess that carbon footprint that you can then reduce it and we will still have a footprint after that. So we’re going to be going back in and offsetting those carbon emissions.
Jessica Bell: 23:44 So we will then be a neutral company. So we will continue to have a net positive impact beyond the fact that we’re using reusable products. And what we do, what we intend to do in the community. It’s, it’s, it’s so vast. It would, it would take us a long time to dive into all of the plants that we have. But to get back to your original question, yes, we’ve pivoted. We’ve, you know, we’ve, we’ve gone month to month looking at how are we going to get there? Where are we going to dig deeper into our own pockets? And, and that’s really where it’s come from. Without having, taking money. We did use some some credit that, and that was, you know, that was something that I had picked up from a podcast that I was listening to. I was listening to a funding podcast or an investor, a, you know, a bunch of investors talking about creative strategies to, to fund a company.
Jessica Bell: 24:39 And even if we had a perfectly aligned investor, perfectly aligned, meaning the value systems, not just that they had a pile of money and they wanted to throw at us, that’s not the type of investing that we’re looking for. We’re looking for the passion is there, the purpose is there. And you know, there’s this, this synergy that comes from that. So we knew that we needed to wait until the moment was right for that. And so leveraging credit cards was a great opportunity for us to to get creative and make it to this point where we could actually switch fueling sources to Kickstarter and to revenue from our customers.
Brandon: 25:18 So you [inaudible] so this is a strategy that I did it early days and I’m not advocating this to any listeners of course. But it does work, right? I mean, I, I paid credit cards with credit cards. I did some other crazy stuff like trading stock with our revenue, but that, I don’t recommend that either. But these are the things that I think as entrepreneurs, you’ve got to take that chance. So it sounds like you guys did that and you’re currently doing that. Is that right to Le, to basically parlay yourself into this Kickstarter campaign to probably give you cash flow for well, let’s jump into the Kickstarter if that’s okay with you because you and I had a conversation when we met and I think there’s a lot of missed. What I, I don’t know what to call it. It’s the myth about how build it and they will come, right, put the Kickstarter campaign up and it’s magic.
Brandon: 26:11 And all of a sudden you’ve got all this money and you’re funded within 24 hours and you’re a rock star and now you’re rich and famous. [inaudible] Scholars tell us. Yeah, exactly. I was watching, I said, and you’ll relate to this, you know, when we were younger, there was that movie called field of dreams and it said, build it and they will come. And my message is to entrepreneurs that are not coming in unless you have a plan to get them there. So it was a good movie and I think we all liked it. But can you, can you give us some insight into really how this Kickstarter stuff works? Cause I think you guys have done a remarkable job and you still have the campaign going. I know it goes till the end of November, but if you could lend some insight into like what really goes into putting one of these things together to get your, you know, goal done within 24 hours.
Jessica Bell: 27:04 Yeah, super important. Great question. And as entrepreneurs, we have to decide how much control we’re, we’re willing to relinquish. Right? So when you relinquish control, you’re handing over your vision and your baby to somebody else. So we didn’t, we didn’t launch Kickstarter alone. We did it with the support of friends and family to produce videos to support of agencies to, to help get the advertising. So like you, you were alluding to earlier, you don’t just show up on launch day and say, okay, we’re going to go ahead and push submit and everyone’s just going to flock to us. Definitely not the case. And the more stories from both successful and unsuccessful campaigns that you’ll hear you’ll learn that, you know, the unsuccessful ones tend to go with the, well, I produced it or I came up with this idea and I just threw it on Kickstarter.
Jessica Bell: 28:07 Those kinds not to get the attention that maybe they deserve, but you have to be in communication with these folks. This is a completely different audience. This is not your your average consumer. These folks, they, they, they want to be bought into the story obviously. And, and granted, this is our first campaign, so we have so much still to learn, but we started conversation about this back in may I would say. And so in June, we really started to get serious with a particular marketing agency that has a skill set that is focused around Facebook ads and getting the right audience to look at the product because they want what’s new. They want the latest, they want, they want innovation as opposed to folks that may be think that that’s too risky. So, and, and just for the audience, Kickstarter is not a retail shop.
Jessica Bell: 29:03 It’s not where you go and you exchange, you know, money so that you get your product sent to you within a week or it’s not an Amazon, you know, you’re not getting your product in two days. You’re backing an idea and you’re hoping that because you think that idea is so cool, you’re hoping that, that that team that’s behind it can produce it and fulfill. So the Kickstarter campaign was very strategic for us. And that we didn’t want this to be our first product. We wanted to have the, the knowledge of having gone through the manufacturing process and having our suppliers and the raw materials in place before we went and said, Hey, yeah, we’ll do this in six months and we’ll go ahead and, you know, make sure that it’s ready by, by X date. We wanted to have everything tested by way of doing it. We’re very, you know, hands on. And we had a lot to learn early on when we, when we launched the brand that we’re fortunate to have had a great team. So doing the Kickstarter campaign was not just us, but we did want to retain a lot of that control and we certainly made some mistakes along the way. And just translating our vision to the partners that would be communicating to
Brandon: 30:14 What were you allowed? Could you elaborate on that? I am interrupting you cause that that’s an important part. What, what was that mistake that and how did you correct it?
Jessica Bell: 30:26 Yeah. I, I think that as a, as an entrepreneur, there’s, there’s, you know, this journey out into the unknown. You know, you’re kind of departing from the Harbor into the open seas, but there’s also along the way, this journey inward. And so I had to look at some, some oversight, some, you know, excitement to partner up with this company that could do a lot of great stuff for us. But I didn’t take the time to ask enough questions to understand the methods of communication. I’m a big face to face person, so if I’m meeting a new potential partner, I’m going to sit down face to face and just really feel that there’s a, there’s a connection there. And we didn’t have the opportunity to do that. We did a couple of Skype calls. And, and, and I, I think that there’s a lot of things that we can highlight.
Jessica Bell: 31:11 But you asked, you asked about some mistakes. I didn’t ask enough questions about who was going to be involved in creating a lot of the ads and how it was going to be conveyed to our audience. And so there were some I’ll call them misrepresentations there. They’re not, you know, legal misrepresentations, but just we’re speaking to an audience about one thing and the product that we’re launching is slight, you know, as is is, you know, we, we were, well, we weren’t able to show that we weren’t able to show that through our, our ads at the time because we weren’t planning on prototyping this next product just due in large part to the expense of prototyping with steel and building out those tools. So it was it was a great lesson and it was something that I had to recognize that I had a part in it.
Jessica Bell: 32:04 Otherwise, I could have just been, you know, blaming the entire time. So at this point in time it’s actually influencing how we kick off, instigate new relationships. The questions that we ask early on to see how they’re responded to, is it just yet, we just want, you know, we just want the 10%, or is it, yeah, this is how we do it. Here’s our project plan. Here are our systems. Here’s the, here’s the timeline that we’re going to be communicating with you. And here’s, are we gonna use Skype or Trello or Google docs or, you know, what’s the platform that we’ll be communicating? There’s been, there’s been some communication gaps in the steps along the way, you know, we’ll recover from, but that, that would be a big one. And that’s probably the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in this in this step of the journey.
Brandon: 32:48 Yeah, I think that’s a, I was just talking to my wife this morning, I said, I think most of the challenges in business and in relationships are mostly communication. And I say that after 23 years of being together with my wife and just actually starting to figure it out. So, so when you’re in business with somebody else you gotta get all that straight. And I think communication is key. I think email is terrible for it. I don’t care if you do it, you and I have communicated on text, which has worked for us. But it’s one of those things where you want to be able to at least reach someone. So I appreciate that you sharing a question for you. Did, did you have an email list before you started the Kickstarter where you doing Facebook ads and getting them to give you your, their email for something that you exchanged or how did you approach that?
Jessica Bell: 33:47 Yeah, we actually did, so about eight weeks before the campaign, this the, the company that we, that we hired that was the, the subject matter expert in the Facebook ad space. They did, they, they used, you know, all of our assets put some ads together and created a list of about 7,500 emails for this campaign. So on launch day or I guess in advance of launch day we started, you know, kind of keeping it, keeping them warm and, and re communicating with them. You know, now that we’re getting closer to the actual campaign, they were, you know, ready to, to jump. So day one and two, and there’s also been some, you know, some, some platform issues, not, not within Kickstarter but on the Facebook ad side. That has actually slowed the campaign down drastically. So it’s, it’s something that we’re actually still looking into.
Jessica Bell: 34:46 Our team will be back, you know, back online and in a matter of an hour and a half or so. But you know, it’s, it’s, it’s one of those things where you’re, if, if your campaign is dependent on one, you know, source of fuel and you don’t have anything else to back it up, then that could be, you know, 45 days of, of, of detriment as opposed to the campaign thriving. So we’ve seen a bit of a slow down and we expect once that that issue is resolved that it actually will pick back up. But it’s, it’s on the Facebook side and
Brandon: 35:22 Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, I was just wondering, is that a, is that because they won’t serve your ad because they’re denying your ad? Or is it because you’re sending people to a landing page or, or, or you don’t know yet, or you’re not willing to say which is totally,
Jessica Bell: 35:37 I, I don’t think we have the full story just yet. I think that it could be a major update to Facebook and that could be causing a glitch. Right now we’re referring to it as a glitch, which does not sound super technical. So I, you know, we’re, we’re diving in, we’re asking those questions, but we’re, we’re, we’re set up for plan B’s and C’s and we actually haven’t done any any PR, so all PR will actually start next week. So that’s another way for us to, you know, really get that exposure outside of that one channel. So we’ve got kind of multiple tentacles reaching out to the, the Facebook or I’m sorry, the Kickstarter oriented audience to, to get them there, to see that, that we have these amazing products that are gonna, you know, expand the possibilities
Brandon: 36:32 For sure. Going back to your, the email list and I, and I go back to that cause I tell everybody is, you know, or maybe we talked about it, I forget what I talked about last weekend already, but one of the big things I’m always saying has gotta collect email. Every channel that you have has got to go push to email. If, if you’re not going there, you’re going to lose your audience. And I, I wanted to ask you, did you send people to a specific page that said basically a warmup page, Hey, this is coming to Kickstarter. Put your email in to be one of the early people. Is that the type of structure you had
Jessica Bell: 37:09 Along those lines? Yep.
Brandon: 37:11 And then how, how, if you’re willing to say you can give a range out of that 7,500, well not out of the 7,500, but what has your conversion rate from that list been very high to give you that could because I was shocked. I say shocked. Impressed is probably more like it that you know, you go from, you set a goal and then I come back the next day to check on it. And and then I think I’d want, I forget you were only a few days in when I bought it cause it was already running out of one of those options, which I wanted it to grab. I imagine a lot of that came from that list. So is your conversion rate, is it 20 plus percent? Is it 30%? Is it, you know, how, how, how good is that list then for you?
Jessica Bell: 37:58 Yeah, no, the list, the list is, is definitely is definitely good. Going back to driving everybody through email. Yes. Because I can’t communicate with everybody, you know, on one off calls and texts. And so to keep everybody warm and to communicate that, that cohesive message the email list was, was really critical. So yeah, the current, the conversion rates right now are, are, are doing what they should be doing to, to keep us in a space where we can manufacture the products, we can grow our business. So this is, you know, this is really a great platform for awareness, but it’s also not meant to drain us and make us go into debt. So we want to actually use this to, to, to, you know, deliver the products that we say we’re going to deliver and then also use it to fuel the next stage in the development of our company. Cause we have a, we have a lot in the pipeline.
Brandon: 38:59 Well that’s exciting. So if I tell me when the campaign goes to on November 24th or something like that,
Jessica Bell: 39:07 November 27th, right before, right before Thanksgiving.
Brandon: 39:11 That’s awesome. And you’re going to be starting a media campaign, I guess, or a PR campaign. Maybe this is part of it. Who knows? Is next week is that, what type of PR are you thinking about besides being on this podcast? Which I didn’t, we didn’t time for all the listeners. We actually didn’t at all. I just, I texted you this week and I was like, Hey, you want to be on the podcast that I love your product and I sent you that thing that I bought. So what is PR means for you guys in the coming weeks?
Jessica Bell: 39:45 I think it’s really speaking and, and finding the audience that this product is intended for. And I think that, that it, it’s a forward looking product. It’s, it’s not something that every household who eats food is looking to take their food everywhere. Yet we, we want to have this replacement, this alternative available when people arrive at this, you know, conundrum of, but how do I live healthy and a busy life and not have so much waste at the same time? How do, how do I do that? And then LA, LA,
Brandon: 40:21 Well, there you go. It made total sense to me. I think I used to do amateur bodybuilding and I’m a health freak anyway. And ride my bike all over the place and I used to race and that just so when I saw this, the reason I like it is it has all these compartments. I was telling my wife, I’m in it because I used to carry all my stuff in glass balls. And if you’re a bodybuilder, a fitness person or some sort of crazed athlete, you take your food with you all the time, I mean, that’s just part of the deal unless you know, you’re going to somewhere in the city where you can actually get something healthy. So for me, this makes, you know, made total sense. And I think that’s the audience that, that will be receptive or originally, you know, initially and then moving out. Although I think kids would probably take this to lunch all the time. When I talk about PR, what outlets specifically, are you going to radio or are you going, you know, podcasts? Are you targeting articles online? That’s can you give us some fidelity around that?
Jessica Bell: 41:32 Sure. Yeah.
Brandon: 41:34 We have a PR team that is handling the, the local outreach. Our, the agency that we have partnered with for this campaign specifically is also doing independently of what we’ve, we have locally doing their own PR. So outreach into the health and wellness space. You know, sustainable. This is an outdoor oriented product. It’s oriented for adventure. And whether that adventure is, I’m on an adventure to the office or I’m on an adventure to school today or I’m going to the beach or on a hike, it works in all of those different areas. But we really have you know, two primary targets that, that we want to serve. We want to serve those with chronic illness that are using food as medicine, that that is how they’re looking to heal. They don’t want to be on pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical life support.
Brandon: 42:29 They want to get to the root of the issue and they want to supply their body with the nutrients that it needs to get back to balance. And then, you know, the folks that are outdoors that don’t want to do any more harm to the, the beautiful playground that we have. And actually at that event, there was something, and, and because this resonated so much with me is how much we invest in our homes. You’re in the Bay area. I’m down in San Diego in best, you know, these huge sums of money in our homes. You know, these sets of walls and we live right here. But then when we go out our doors, we invest nothing. We invest nothing beyond that front door. And that’s kind of the philosophy that we have is continuing to invest in our home that we all share beyond the four walls.
Brandon: 43:19 It’s, you know, whether it’s in your neighbor’s yard and there’s waste or you know, whether it’s in Yosemite, it’s, it’s still our home and we still need to preserve it and take care of it for future generations. A, there’s a quote that we’re just borrowing it from, from the next generation. So that’s a gift that we can all give to our kids and grandkids is taken care of of our planet. I totally agree. So one other thing I wanted to ask you is I was just scrolling through, so those who are watching it can scroll through. And take a look. Your goal was 15,000, but I was looking because I bought this and I see that if we get to a hundred or 150,000, that you are going to unlock some other features. So is your real goal a hundred, 150,000 to get here and yeah, that’s really my question. Jessica, is that really what you have set? Because I’m looking, I’m looking here. Well, I wanna I want to know like I want this seafoam color or the olive color, which is pretty cool. So if we get to $100,000, then you’re going to unlock this. And those of us who have supported or do support, we’ll get an a choice.
Jessica Bell: 44:47 Absolutely. Yep. So initially these three colors and then we have the opportunity to continue to, to unlock new colors. And there’s a reason that they’re set up that way. Right? So in order to to invest in new colors, it’s new material. It’s, it’s, you know, new, new, raw materials that we have to look at. It’s new colorants, it’s new inspections. It’s all these things that go into it. To keep, you know, to stay in alignment, to not do things in a half-assed way to cut corners. We want to still pursue the the right path. And so we want to do it and make sure our customers know that it doesn’t just happen. It has to be done in a, in a strategic and a systematic way. So when you, I think that we also are looking at some silicone inserts and this was, this is something that our customers came back to us and said, but how do you microwave, you know, the stainless steel?
Jessica Bell: 45:45 And the quick answer was you don’t, don’t you use, you know, you use the oven and you know, you, you, you have opportunities to reheat it. But the truth is, is that most people are still microwaving their food. And so if, you know, we want to continue to meet customer demand, we wanted to introduce something that was as a nerd as possible, using silicone but developing not something that’s flimsy that you can get on Amazon for, you know, get a bunch of them for 10 bucks. But something that was actually gonna work and integrate within the system and still function at the level that we expected it to. So that’s a replacement for the steel. If you do happen to have something that needs to be reheated and all you have in the microwave, then this is another unlock add on that we can. There were actually already, you know, pursuing as far as drawings and, and suppliers and all that good stuff. But it really requires the support of the community to help elevate us to get to that level.
Brandon: 46:46 Yeah. That unlocks at 150,000. And this looks like it’s awesome cause it says these crush resistance. So I’m hoping that we can get there and we can help you get there. And one thing I just want to verify with you because I’m a big finance guy and I’m always saying, Hey, if you don’t do your numbers, you actually don’t know where you’re going and you’re shooting from the hip, you ran your numbers and you know exactly what you have to hit to be able to build the molds, do the manufacturing.
Speaker 5: 47:20 Mmm.
Brandon: 47:21 Do the packaging and, and I know you’re, you’re even a, I say what I say earth-friendly with the packaging. Cause you don’t use bubbles because you have the paper in between. I read. But to be clear so that everybody, all the listeners know you, you, you and Eddie ran these numbers very specifically. So if you don’t hit these numbers, even though you may be emotionally that you want these financial, you can’t do it. Right. And you guys have that discipline.
Jessica Bell: 47:49 Think that’s, that’s pretty crystal clear. Yes.
Brandon: 47:54 So I hope everybody heard that. I had a student the other day who said I said, can you just give here a financials? And they say, well, we don’t have them. I said, well, you do. Can you write them down on a piece of paper two days back? And they’re like, Oh my God, I really learned something. I mean, if you don’t run the numbers and if you’re going to do a Kickstarter campaign, a Kickstarter campaign really requires its own financial model because you have to take into account the marketing that you’re doing. These marketing agencies. Some of them want to retain or some of them take a percentage, right. And whatever that is. So yeah, you guys really have, you have great graphics and great videos on here and a financial model to back it up. So this has been awesome.
Brandon: 48:40 Jessica, can you give our listeners, I I don’t know if I, when I gave my talk I talk about it, but in phishing where I come from, my first company that I sold, we have HPS, which are high percentage spots. So if I take you to a high percentage by probably going to catch a lot as fish. So my entrepreneur education teaching, I call it HPTs high percentage tips. So what three high percentage tips do you have for our listeners, either about general entrepreneurship and your journey over two years and, or your Kickstarter journey?
Jessica Bell: 49:16 Ooh, I do like this question. I could go down so many different, different [inaudible]
Brandon: 49:22 I think three.
Jessica Bell: 49:24 Yeah, I’ll, so I’ll stick to the entrepreneur’s journey. And that I think is, is definitely a journey inward, a journey of self discovery. And continuing to dive into, and I think we talked about this when we met is, you know, I was, I was writing down some things that I would have told my younger self and I wrote down study more philosophy because that’s really what this, what this journey is all about is, is understanding oneself and understanding how we behave in certain, certain circumstances. Another tip that I like to offer is do something for the first time every single day and that has a multitude of, of benefits. But the biggest one is just trusting that you can take that step and failure is inevitable. But say I should say stumbling is inevitable. Failure is only when you stop trying so that you won’t be able to do something for the first time in it.
Jessica Bell: 50:30 I can even, I can even look back to, you know, the first nine ideas that we had and the 10th one was was read vessel. The 10th one was food storage. So nine times we were like, Oh yeah, that’d be so fun. That’d be so fun. And then we woke up and we’re like but we have real lives and, and how are we going to even fund that? And you know, how are we going to do this? But we realize that it’s one step after another and it’s one stumble after another. And that stumbling block is just a way of saying there’s another way around this. There’s, there’s another resource that you don’t have yet that you need to go find where that is. And you know, gosh, I think I’ve, I’ve given lots of tips before and right now I’m in a space where I also need to be kind of good to myself.
Jessica Bell: 51:20 Because this is a long journey. This isn’t a sprint, this is a combination of sprints and marathons. And we just did a huge sprint this past week with shipping and launching Kickstarter and being at the Beck and call of customers inquiring. And I have enjoyed that so much. I, you know, profess to my, my team how much I’m enjoying interacting with, with more and more customers. We received the kindest, most validating email from a new customer that understood everything that we were doing and wrote back in a, you know, a novel to us just with, with so much love and support. So right now I need to make sure that I’m in this for the long haul and that means taking care of myself and, and getting that sleep and getting the, you know, I’m, I’m planning on hitting my sauna after this and that was one of the tips and tools that I use to, to kind of eliminate those, those toxins years ago. And so that’s now a longevity practice that I use when just taking care of myself. Fortunately, I haven’t been sick and you know, in five years, so that’s kept me, you know, not laying in bed all day, which is great, but it’s kept me revved up and able to still go.
Brandon: 52:38 Well, that’s awesome. I love these three tips. Can, what is the best way people will be listening to this shortly when we, when we put it out there and then they could be listening in, in a year from now when you’ve already done 15 products, is the best way to go to your website? Can you tell the listeners, is it to go to re vessel.com or the Kickstarter campaign?
Jessica Bell: 53:03 Yeah, if, if, if folks are listening in a year, Kickstarter we could, we could be launching a, another line of products, but we have a pretty pretty active and growing Instagram audience and we share a lot of the the latest stuff that we’ve got going on. The best way to get ahold of us is at re vessel. So you know, folks can send us an email from that, that, that portal if you will. But they can also, you know, check us out on Instagram and comment and we tend to be pretty, pretty active and responsive on that platform as well.
Brandon: 53:39 Cool. So everybody re vessel R E V E S S E l.com or on Instagram at re vessel. And you have re vessel USA,
Jessica Bell: 53:53 Correct? Correct. We had to have some trademarking stuff in place so it could be switching to read vessel at some point in time, but tray trademarking had to be you know, in place shipping had to, you know, there were a bunch of steps that had to take place for, for Instagram to verify our accounts. So,
Brandon: 54:11 Oh, there you go. Good lesson for everybody right there. Everybody always talks about that. So on Instagram reversal USA and their website is re vessel.com R E V. E. S. S. E. L. Jessica, thanks so much. I know this week’s been absolutely crazy. You guys. We, we did that three day summit. You guys walked into a Kickstarter campaign, you did a run this morning, you did all of your kids what are all the activities they do and then you showed up today. So I think you deserve to take the rest of the day off for sure. It’s Sunday. Good luck with your Kickstarter and maybe we’ll tune in at the end maybe in two months or something, three months and see how you made out.
Jessica Bell: 54:56 Sure. I’d appreciate that. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
Brandon: 55:01 Well I hope you enjoyed that. I’m sitting here recording this and checking out their Kickstarter campaign and you’re not going to believe this, but they have 15 days left. They have 968 backers and they’ve raised $164,047 is absolutely incredible. Good news for you. Is there still some packages that you can check out? So go to their Kickstarter campaign at [inaudible] vessel. If you Google re vessel Kickstarter, you’ll get it and you’ll know you’re there cause it says the most versatile bento style lunchbox out there. And as I promised you, I’ve got a crowdsourcing cheat sheet. If you go to Brandon C white.com board slash one that’s Brandon C. White Ford slash one it’ll take you to a page, you can download the cheat sheet and get yourself going with Kickstarter. Thank you so much for tuning in today in our next build a business with Brandon podcast, we’ll be talking to a longtime friend,
Brandon: 56:14 Longtime career attorney, turned entrepreneur, gave up his career. You’re going to love it, and until the next episode, have a great rest of your day. I’m rooting for your success.
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