Bringing Dinoski to Life
Phase #1: Concept
The kids skiwear market is boring. There's no stand-out brands and everything looks pretty similar. This is despite the fact that one of the most important things for parents is being able to easily spot their kids on the slopes. We decided to do something about it. Let's make the best kids skiwear brand that we can.
LEARNING: BE PROACTIVE
A good idea means nothing unless you actively begin making it a reality.
Phase #2: Design
We needed an awesome product range with a simple but distinct design; a cross between a super hero and an animal but it shouldn't look like fancy dress.
We had never designed children's wear before, let alone children's skiwear and we had no money to employ a fashion designer / agency so what do we do?
We find a picture of Kanye West's kid in a ski suit and we colour it in.
DINOSKI is born.
LEARNING: BE RESOURCEFUL
You don't always have to spend money to get your idea off the ground.
Do as much as you can yourself to establish your vision before getting to a stage where you need to pay people to take it further.
Phase #3: sampling
This is the stage where we needed someone to help.
We got in touch with Matt who ran his own premium skiwear brand. He had already made all the mistakes that we would probably make doing it on our own and he had the relationship with the right supplier. So we showed him our vision, and asked if he wanted to team up. He loved it.
We tinkered with the design and branding some more and picked some colours that we thought were cool. Matt spoke to the supplier and the sampling process began.
LEARNING: FIND THE RIGHT SUPPORT
Explore your contacts to see who might be able to help take your product to market. Failing that, hunt down the right people on LinkedIn and get them to meet you.
PHASE #4: Content / Shoot / TEST
Now that we had the product sorted it was time to put it to the test.
We took 9 samples, a camera man (Darius - Dino legend) and his drone to St Anton and managed to test the suits with the local Austrian kindergarten (thanks to a guy called Mike who's another top legend). It was total carnage.
Imagine mini Dinos running in all directions talking a different language. Somehow we made it work and not only did we get some great footage, the kids (and parents) absolutely loved our suits! Our product passed the test with flying colours. Literally.
LEARNING: GOOD ENERGY ATTRACTS GOOD LUCK
There was so much that could have gone wrong with this shoot but if you're nice to everyone you meet and always bring good energy then things turn out well.
Phase #5: INVESTMENT
Time to ramp it up.
By this point we were getting a great reaction from everyone we spoke to and the product / brand looked awesome. To launch with a bang and grow quickly we needed investment. So the next challenge was to create realistic forecasts. How much would we need to cover operating costs for an entire year - a good amount of time to prove the concept, build a community of customers and secure orders from retailers.
We needed £150K.
To break this down into a more manageable task we said we needed to find 15 people to invest £10k each and that's pretty much exactly what we did.
Here's a link to our funding page which was used to raise the money.
LEARNING: BITE-SIZE THE CHALLENGE & GET A GOOD LAWYER
Investment means mountains of unnecessary documentation.
Phase #6: BRAND aesthetics
This is the fun bit.
And this applies to any industry and also to us as individuals.
How do you make your brand more than just the products / services that you offer. How do you stand out. How do you make yourself more memorable.
In our case, how could we bring these suits to life?
More than just ski suits, we want people to feel like they are adding a new member of the family to their ski trips. We want kids to feel like their suit is their best friend.
To do this, we found an amazing children's illustrator on Instagram called Jane Foster (check her out she's amazing) and asked if she could create a character and storybook for each suit design which would be included with every order.
LEARNING: INVEST MONEY AND LOVE IN BRANDING
This is the most important part of a consumer business. It's the substance behind your products and why customer will pick you over a competitor. Add extra layers of value and don't be scared to do things slightly differently.
Just because some products / industries are sold / positioned in a certain way doesn't always mean thats its the right way or the most efficient way.
Phase #7: PRE-SALES
Once the brand was ready to share, we just had to speak to as many relevant brands & buyers as possible. The hustle needs to be stepped up a gear. Track down the right contacts. Find them on Linkedin. Chase them up until they respond. After a long few months of emails, phone calls and meetings, we can happily say that we will be stocked throughout Austria, Andorra, France, UK, US & Switzerland this winter! Retailers include Kidly, Not On The High St, Internet Fusion (Surfdome), Absolute Snow, AS Adventure, Alber Sport, Les Enfants & Yellowstone Club.
LEARNING: ONE EMAIL IS NOT ENOUGH. CHASE UNTIL YOU HAVE THEIR ATTENTION
Phase #8: launch
The adventure begins. Watch this space.