When it comes to luxury products--say, that Ferrari you'd love to drive--we tend to demand quality. But for things we use every day, like a fork, we're creatures that tend to settle. So, would the same philosophy apply to a product like towels? Even when they can stay damp way too long eventually leading to mold?
Shane Monson, CEO of Onsen, thinks it is totally backward.. totally backwards.
"As creatures of habit," he says, "our days are defined by the basics in life. So isn't it worth paying attention to the tools we rely on for our daily routines?"
Based on that philosophy, Monson created a towel with a unique weave design that improves feel, drying, and sanitation -- and, you know, something that actually works incredibly well. What personally moved me, though, was not only the mission to build a brand for the bathroom, but the immediate connection I felt through the tasteful video -- infused with 'dry' humor. Take a gander below:
I had to try it
Because I have an extremely bad case of FOMO, I had to try it out. Initially, I was a little underwhelmed with what I received -- it definitely felt super soft, was a bit thin to my surprise, and I was admittedly a bit of a skeptic. However, after the first use, I was extremely impressed with how well it absorbed and how quickly it dried when I used it next. It also wrapped around my body like nice and snug -- alas, skeptic no more. It's the real deal.
How he brought in millions from crowdfunding
Here's what Monson learned through a crazily successful crowdfunding process.
1. Do your homework before asking others for help.
People initially told Monson his idea was "cute". Then he found a factory, got samples made, calculated production costs, and figured out the minimum order quantity for an initial production run. When people saw how realistic that made the project, they took Monson much more seriously -- the numbers didn't lie.
2. Be flexible.
Onsen's initial fundraising goal? Just a meager $25,000. But after passing the $100K mark in 10 days, Monson increased the order quantity 20x from the original plan and flew out to the factory to prove he would make everything work.
3. Look for opportunities.
Monson says to focus on what you can influence, not on what's unchangeable. When he had to delay the ship date, for example, he was able to give backers an even better product by getting the factory to use Supima cotton.
"I started to look for the opportunities within the negative events, and that's where I discovered the most support from backers. Nobody wants excuses. They want to know what's being done to make it better."
Oh yeah, he's doing this all as a Solo-preneur
To date, Monson, who is the only employee for his company, has raised $1,052,447 through his Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns and can boast 8,423 total backers. He plans to take what he's learned and keep expanding.
"Towels are just the beginning. The Onsen brand stands for exceptional experiences with bathroom goods. By keeping this as a direct to consumer brand we can learn directly from our community to continuously improve."
Find out more and be the judge for yourself at their newly launched direct-to-consumer site.
Onward, Onsen. Onward.