With Ashley Black, Founder of FasciaBlaster
Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent
Ashley Black, the founder of FasciaBlaster and other related products, leads a company that generates millions of dollars in monthly sales to customers worldwide. With a social media following of over 8 million, she is also a two-time best-selling author, including her latest book “From Passion and Purpose to Product and Prosperity”. Today, she will share insights on building customer communities, becoming the personal brand behind your product, and achieving successful brand growth for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers to achieve the success of a “hardware startup unicorn”.
Today you will hear us talk about:
- Create a brand for your hardware product startup that balances product sales and community engagement.
- Use advertising to reach a point of profitability.
- Offer deals and incentives to customers to promote your product.
- Be an advocate for your product and yourself as the inventor.
- Share your personal story and identity as the inventor of the product.
- Be authentic and true to yourself in your promotion.
- Don’t overthink your approach, just be yourself.
- Self-fund your startup and fully commit to it.
- Reduce the cost of acquiring customers by building a larger community.
- Have a clear goal and don’t make a plan B.
- Be dedicated and commit to making your product a legacy business.
- Find a community that resonates with your product and aligns with your values.
- 2:05 – Consumer goods are one of the harder ways to build a business, but one of the most rewarding.
- 2:40 – Passion will make your product successful, both in the size of success, but also in how quickly you can achieve that success and the resilience of that success.
- 3:10 – If you have passion, then when failures come along the way, you will quickly overcome them.
- 3:40 – If you focus on your mission, the money follows.
- 6:00 – Ashley didn’t quit work right away, she worked through the idea first.
- 6:55 – Ashley had to educate the market that they needed this product, then sell it to them once they realized their need.
- 7:14 – The whole FasciaBlaster business was built and scaled all through direct-to-consumer selling.
- 7:30 – How a hardware product startup can build a community to help with selling their first products online.
- 7:45 – Facebook Ads that both sell the product, but also advertise the brand community.
- 8:15 – Once someone is in your community, the community speaks for you, and is more powerful in helping to sell your product.
- 9:14 – Ashley took out a $200,000 loan, after she had developed her product, to sell it.
- 9:50 – You need to build a product and start making money BEFORE you raise capital.
- 10:50 – Put in the effort to launch your business.
- 11:20 – Seize every opportunity to introduce someone to your product, to get a true feedback of your product, is extremely valuable in the early stages.
- 12:00 – Be an authentic spokesperson for your own brand. Don’t get someone else to do that for you, for many reasons.
- 15:30 – There is magic in an inventor, the person themselves, not just their product.
- 15:45 – You don’t have to be pretty, polished, etc., you just have to be genuine, so literally any inventor or hardware founder can easily do this, even if you are uncomfortable with it.
- 16:30 – People who resonate with your brand of weirdness will come out of the woodwork and love it.
- 17:20 – Being an authentic inventor behind a product is something that big corporate simply cannot compete with you on, and even further, is something that corporate buyers or acquirers will want to buy off you.
- 17:50 – Big corporate is spending less money on their own R&D, and more money on acquiring new emerging hardware product brands.
- 18:00 – Acquirers will want to know what your CTA (Cost to Acquisition) is, and you can reduce that cost of acquiring a new customer by leveraging your community and brand to make more sales with less ad spend.
- 19:25 – Your customers can also help you with your R&D for the next version of your product or even a new product you plan to launch with that brand.
- 20:35 – Being all in on your invention.
- 21:20 – If you are an inventor with an invention idea, and you are convinced that there are people out there who could benefit from your innovation, then it is up to you to put 100% in on making it happen, both for yourself, and for the world.
- 21:40 – Ashley bet absolutely everything on making this product work, and that is why it was such a big success, and so fast.
- 22:10 – You should not be comfortable with your investment, or stay in your “safety zone”, unless you just want the product to be a hobby business. Either is okay, but you need to ask whether you want this to be a life-changing business or just something on the side.
- 22:25 – Ashley built the product business to be her legacy business, to be her life’s work.
- 22:40 – People need to have permission to have an all-in attitude towards their product, because society has all this chatter about safety and such to keep people conformed, instead of doing something great for themselves.
- 23:00 – This is a huge planet of people. If you are authentic and create an authentic product to your vision, others will find you and your product.
- 23:45 – You get out of your product business what effort you put into it.
- 23:50 – Statistically, a person will only have 1 or maybe 2 major success ideas in their lifetime, so don’t let it pass when you have had the fortune of seeing a great opportunity, quite possibly the one opportunity of a lifetime.
- 24:45 – Ask yourself, if you don’t pursue this product idea, will someone else do it?
- 25:00 – Ashley felt like it was her duty to bring this invention idea to the world.
- 27:35 – Ashley says that she’s just a normal person who built an empire, so anyone can do it, and keep at it if you’re on the journey to building a new hardware product and hardware brand.
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About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!