The story of how Ammon Arave started One80 and created the first 180 degree headlamp, the new One80 Pouches and some Kickstarter Marketing Tips!
My name is Ammon Arave. I started life right out of college as a 7th grade history teacher. My first side business during that time was as owner of a porta-potty rental business. I spent nights and weekends cleaning porta-potties with the frustration and limitation of a single spot of light from traditional headlamps, which eventually led to the concept of the One80 Light in 2014. I knew it had potential the first time I experienced what it was like to have a headlamp that illuminated 180 degrees of light that included vision in my peripheral. It took 2 years to develop the light and I launched the Kickstarter in May of 2016.
Shortly after product delivery, I got a message from a backer of the One80 Trek Belt version of the light. They said that they loved the light, but wished it had a way to store a phone. That message led to the development of the current kickstarter, the One80 Pouches. They are an expansion accessory to the existing product line of One80 lights. We are thrilled with the success of the kickstarter so far and are excited to be adding more products to the One80 Line in 2020.
Prior to the development of the One80 Light I had no experience in product development. I had lots of ideas, but not practical knowledge of the process. The design process was slow, as I wanted to do as much as possible without taking on debt. Working with a wide range of manufacturers, it took months of back and forth and sampling before arriving at the final product. During the course of development, I found and hired a design company to help with a few aspects of the process that were holding everything up. In the end, their design efforts didn’t work out. The time working with them did help get the project to the next phase even though their designs were not used.
Finding manufacturers, was not easy. Starting on alibaba.com, it was a steady process of contacting manufacturers that specialized in specific areas. After weeding through those, the next step was requesting samples, then more customized samples before the actual selection was made. At that point, development of the light began. Since the One80 Light kickstarter in 2016, I have switched manufacturers 3 times in 3 years and enhanced the One80 Light experience with many improvements. This experience with manufacturers has made the design and development of the current project (One80 Pouches) much smoother.
We launched the One80 Pouch on Nov. 5, 2019. It has been about three and a half years since the launch of the One80 Light. When I launched the One80 light, I originally used the website platform Weebly. It’s a super-easy website builder that worked great for the first few years. While preparing for the 2nd product launch, I moved everything over to Shopfiy in Aug 2019. This has been a great move and has opened up more possibilities.
Leading up to the launch I ran all marketing efforts. With the help of giveaways, using the software KingSumo, social media ads, current email list and personal networks, built an interest email list of about 400 people. This turned out to be almost the same number of first day backers on Kickstarter (352).
I ran a limited number of paid ads on Facebook and Instagram only. I opted to not hire an agency. In total we spent about $300 leading up to the launch. Paid ads added little to no tractable leads . This may have been due to low ad spend, but I was happy with the results of the other methods.
The majority of the leads generated came from our existing customer list, personal connections and giveaways.
The process of gathering interest leads was pretty straight forward. I created a landing page and had info and email sign up on that page. The giveaway offered multiple ways for people to enter, all based around sharing the project launch and driving people to that landing page.
Without question, the giveaways and outreach to our existing customers and personal out reach proved to be most effective.
Here’s a link to the early bird sign up page – https://one80light.com/pages/early-bird-sign-up – I shared this on social media and with my email list.
Below is a screenshot of the email I sent to share my launch with my audience:
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned through this process is the importance of persistence. Much of the process has been pretty rough, and that’s the side no one sees or wants to talk about. There is a fine line on a “ready product” also. It’s hard to know when to pull the trigger. I felt like I could have fine tuned each of these product for months or years longer, but ultimately had to stop and launch. It’s not a perfect science, that’s for sure.
The campaign is going great! I’m very happy with the progress and look forward to see where it ends. I’m excited to add the new product to our light options on our website after the campaign ends and product is delivered. I’ve got plans to expand to a few new products in 2020; all of which will also be launched on Kickstarter.