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Kylie: Today we’re in the company of Charles Ng, a co-founder of international award-winning key organiser, Orbitkey. As an industrial designer, Charles saw a way to stop his keys from rattling while he was jogging, and started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to get the product to market. The highly successful campaign raised over $200,000 and enabled Charles and co-founder Rex Kuo to bring Orbitkey to life.
Kylie: Five years later, Orbitkey won a gold award at the prestigious IF Global Design Awards in Germany. In this episode, we talk about what it takes to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, the importance of having a solid relationship with your manufacturers, how to build an engaged and loyal audience, and why focusing on your company culture matters. Welcome Charles.
Charles: Thank you Kylie.
Kylie: Really excited to talk about your business journey with Orbitkey and all that you’ve achieved which has been monumental, considering the amount of time you’ve been around, but before we jump into that, I just wanted to tap into a little bit about your background and who young Charles was, and what you did as a young person, as a small Charles, and maybe how that might
have influenced what you do today.
Charles: I’m originally from Indonesia, so I lived in Indonesia for the first 14 years of my life and having spent 15 years in Australia, I’m probably a little bit more leaning towards Australian than Indonesian now, although I’m still an Indonesian citizen, but I do have a permanent residency in Australia, and I call Australia as home.
Charles: So basically, the young me, I’ve always remebered that I enjoyed drawing a lot when I was younger. Like, in class I would instead of paying attention to the teacher speaking about subjects that they were trying to explain, I would just spend my time drawing little characters, or Pokemons or something, things that you actually watch a lot when you were younger.
Charles: I really, really enjoyed drawing and I had a very good visual memory. There was times where I’d be sitting in the car with my mom and I would name all of the name of the cars that we drove past, and I just remember really clearly that my mom said that when I was growing up and if I was to grow up, I’d probably end up being a car salesman.
Charles: That’s not really something that I would actually imagine doing. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia when I was 14, I had a really great opportunity to move here to further my study. Basically I started doing year 11 here and I was really, really excited about this course, or this subject I should say, visual communication and design. That was really the very first time that I ever was exposed to a design subject in school and that really changed the way I see things, and it really changed my perspective of what I would really like to do when I graduate.
Charles: Visual communication and design, it’s mainly graphic design, so I was also quite lucky to have a good career counsellor that really saw that what I was doing more of this 3D design and it’s more towards industrial design. Basically when she told me that industrial design was something that you’d probably really love to do, and I was going, “Oh, what is industrial design? What does that even mean? Is it designing factory industry?” Until I read more about it and basically that really changed the course of my university course.
Charles: I actually applied for an industrial design degree, and I got into RMIT University, and since then I’ve just been doing mostly design, until four years ago I had the opportunity to start something of mine with my business partner, and right now I’m doing mostly the design direction of the company that we’re running, whereas my business partner runs more of the business operation side of things. That’s how the journey of little Charles, loved to draw, led to design, industrial design, and led to running a company that’s focused on design as well.
Kylie: Terrific. We’re going to jump into understanding a little bit more about Orbitkey, and how you made the jump from industrial design to Orbitkey in just a second, but before we get into that I just wanted to invite you to share three things that you believe and why, with our listeners.
Charles: I believe in second chances. I think growing up, and also working in the industry, I had my share of being someone that I wasn’t really proud of, and it’s something that was brought up by my senior manager before. Was lucky enough that he actually gave me a second chance to really improve myself and the way I do things, the way I communicate to other people. I believe that anyone should be given a second chance, and that really, really changed me. I’m glad for that, grateful.
Charles: I also believe that influencing or leading with kindness and generosity would actually take you a lot further than leading with force or leading with fear. That’s something I really try to practise on a daily basis. I just believe that everyone should be kind, more kind, and nicer to each other, and the world will be a better place.
Charles: The third belief is probably something to do with design, and design is something that I really loved, and that’s really neat. It’s given me purpose in terms of going about my life, and I think design, when used correctly, I think it can really make the world a better place. I’m more talking about design in a more genuine sense, like design for the better. We’re not really trying to design something that already existed before or something, that just looks different. We’re really trying to design something that adds value to people’s lives, and I think that if I can keep doing that for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy.
Kylie: Fantastic. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Orbitkey and the evolution of that business, and how you took your interest in design and seeing a problem and designing a solution about it. Can you tell us a little bit about the background of Orbitkey?
Charles: Orbitkey basically started as a side project. It wasn’t really a project to begin with. It was purely something that I created to solve my own problem. The story actually started, it was 2012, and I was working as a full time designer back then, and I remember that I was training for a half marathon run, and obviously when you train for that, you would run a lot throughout the week.
Charles: I just remember that every single morning that I trained, I had to actually take out my key from keyring, because putting the keyring in my pocket would actually jingle and it would just annoy the hell out of me. First of all, because I don’t really want to be running around being stared at because of that noise, and also because I just had this OCD, and I just really don’t like anything that makes noise, any little noise that annoys me just takes the focus of what I’m doing.
Charles: Basically after doing that for a while, after taking out a key off the keyring a few times, I just became frustrated and I just go, “Well, why do I have to do this every single time I go for a run?” I just asked myself a question, “What can I do with the skill that I have to solve this problem of my own?” It was just a natural thing that I went to the workshop at work, and I just tried to find a screw and a nut, and I thought that if I clamped all my keys together, it’s probably going to stop it from hitting each other and jingling.
Charles: That was really the start of Orbitkey. I was using that for around nine months I believe, until I met my high school friend back then, I’m talking about Rex here. Rex, my business partner, we were high school friends, but we were hanging out a little bit back then. Rex was also working full time but in a very different profession, so he was actually a full time pharmacist.
Charles: But we just got along, because we had common interests, and we’d just go out and play pool or have dinner. But yeah, one day I just showed him the prototype that I was using for a while and he got really excited about the idea. He said, “Wow, that’s really cool.” He basically said to me, “Oh, I actually have another thing that I really wanted to solve, because with my keyring, it always scratches everything in my pocket and it would scratch my phone and my wallet.”
Charles: He actually just got a new wallet from his partner back then and he really didn’t want to damage it. He just said to me, “This key scratching everything in your pocket, it would actually be a good problem to solve as well.” That got us collaborating and we were collaborating for nine months, and after nine months, we actually had refined this really rough looking, really crude prototype that I was using.
Charles: But it solved my problem, but it just didn’t look something that anyone else would use. But we actually had brought this really simple prototype to a stage where it was actually something that we could potentially sell, but the challenge that we had was that we really didn’t know how to sell things, because I was a designer, and Rex was a pharmacist, but we heard something about crowdfunding, which is Kickstarter. It was becoming really popular back then, for anyone who had an idea, but really didn’t know how to launch it or didn’t have any funding to launch the idea.
Charles: We basically did a lot of research into Kickstarter and a few months later we launched our first campaign. That was the birth of the idea.
Kylie: Yeah. The campaign was extraordinarily successful. You reached your target really easily and shot it out of the park by a mile. What made your Kickstarter campaign so successful?
Charles: Well, it might have actually looked easy, but trust me, there was definitely a lot of late nights and hard work into putting the campaign together, and also creating the campaign page with videos and also all the promotional images. I think Kickstarter is a very, very interesting platform, and a lot of the people that support Kickstarter projects, they’re not really your general consumers who would just go in there and buy and expect a return straight away.
Charles: These are actually things that we’ve found through doing research. First of all, what we did was we supported a few projects on Kickstarter and we were really trying to find out how it was run, and also things that we like from it, and things that we didn’t like from it. We were really trying to put ourselves in that perspective of a supporter, right?
Charles: I think that’s really important. When you’re trying to create a Kickstarter campaign or anything, you should really try and put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and that really helped us craft not a perfect campaign, but a campaign that’s more likely to succeed, because we did a lot of research into successful campaigns when we were trying to gather what made it successful.
Charles: I guess if you want a few tips from running a successful campaign, these are basically the things that we learned. First of all, research. As I said before. You need to research likes there’s no tomorrow. Second of all, I believe that when we create something that solves a problem, something that actually adds value, something that is different from what’s out there in the market, it’s sort of common sense, but you’re really trying to understand the problem that we’re trying to solve, and how our product solves it.
Charles: It will really help make your campaign a little bit more successful. And then, if you think about it more as well, like we’re trying to create a campaign, we’re actually asking someone to invest in our project. So, I see a lot of importance in communicating a project clearly and effectively. We all have such a short attention span nowadays. How do you make people actually go to your campaign page and really understand what you’re trying to do?
Charles: How do you make them want to support you? So, communicating your project clearly is important, so by creating a great video that really explains your product that you’re offering. Also it explains the purpose of your campaign. Like what is it that your company’s about? People talk a lot about why. You really need to know why we’re doing this, why are we on Kickstarter in the first place? Just telling that to the backers or to the supporters will really help them buy into the project.
Charles: I think communicating your project also involves you trying to convince people that you can actually deliver the promise. Kickstarter is becoming more and more of a marketplace now where anyone would just jump in there and go, “Oh, I want to make a quick buck” and put up a project and not deliver in the end. Like, a lot of supporters are actually not really getting the experience that they should be from Kickstarter.
Charles: What we really need to communicate as well, from our campaigns, is that we can deliver, and now that we’ve done a few campaigns, we always show how we’ve delivered in the past, as well. That also increases the chance of success, I believe.
Charles: I think really just trying to exceed the expectation, you know? I think this is just like any business, so if you’re trying to deliver something that people didn’t expect, I think because they expect something that came from another Kickstarter campaign, where a reward will come in a really plain plastic bag, because that’s just an easy way to pack your product, right?
Charles: But because we’re also here for the long term, we were trying to create a brand experience, so right now our focus is yes, we’ve run a few campaigns, but how can we make those campaigns even better and better? How do we make sure that when people receive our products, they actually feel like it’s something that was worth investing in?
Charles: Other than that, I think the key to a successful project, it’s all in the marketing. You can have the greatest product out there, but if you don’t market it correctly, no one’s really going to hear about it. I’m not really the person to tell you anything about marketing, but things that we’ve done in the past is just a lot of preparation, and making sure that we allow enough time for us to promote the project before we even launch.
Charles: Four weeks before the project, we start telling everybody about it, so that when it launches, we have at least a few people, or we have a good number of people onboard, and they would back the project earlier on. That will also increase the chance of success, because when Kickstarter actually notices that your project is getting a lot of traffic, they usually promote it in the trending section. Promoting your project early and also consistently throughout the project is very, very important.
Kylie: How did you start the very first time with your first campaign, when you didn’t already have an audience? How did you get the word out?
Charles: Yeah, that’s very interesting. We were quite lucky to have a group of family and friends that believed in the idea. Or, whether they believed in the idea or they just basically support you because you’re family or you’re a friend of them. We were quite lucky to have a really good group of family and friends who supported us earlier on, and there was also I guess luck factor in there.
Charles: We were quite lucky that Kickstarter notices that we had a lot of backing from day one, and they actually promoted us on their homepage and that really got the project more and more traffic from Kickstarter, because they see it on the front page. And also just a lot of late nights replying to customers’ inquiries. Actually, that’s one thing that is also key, because our customers are people who invest in the product without … They don’t get the guarantee that they will get the product in the end, so we make sure that we treat them like king.
Charles: We need to make sure that they get the information they need as soon as possible, and make sure they’re really well informed. Even when there’s delay, we’ll make sure that we communicate the delays as to why there was a delay, and how we’re going to fix this problem, and when they should be expecting to get their reward. I think communication also really helps in creating a great campaign.
Kylie: Did you just start with an email list like just sending an email to everybody that you knew, and posting it on your personal Facebook pages, that this is what you were doing and asking for support?
Charles: Definitely. Yep, there was a lot of that. There was a lot of shameless self-promotion on your personal Facebook page. We had an Orbitkey Facebook page, but there was only 100 followers back then, but we definitely relied on the support of our family and friends circle. I guess earlier on as well, another thing that you can do is to really ask for advice from a lot of the other Kickstarter creators.
Charles: I find that when you ask for advice and when they are a little bit more invested in your project, because they feel like they have a contribution to the success of your project, that’s when they’re more likely to actually be generous enough to support your cause, and hopefully other project creators will promote on their page as well, on their social media, so definitely, get out there and really try to reach out to more and more people, no matter what it takes.
Charles: Because especially now, where Kickstarter is getting more and more crowded, I think you need to do even more marketing, and you need to spend even more time and money on marketing. We were quite lucky back then, I guess. That’s why I said there was a bit of a luck factor in there. I think we were quite lucky to be identified as a popular project by Kickstarter and being put on the homepage and yeah.
Kylie: Charles, I think that it was a bit more than luck. I think you’re being a bit modest there, because I saw the quality of the campaign that you put up and the quality of the videos that you made, and the communication that you put together to make sure that it was very clear and exciting about what you were doing. But also too, one of those things that you mentioned was that you already had a page on Facebook with 100 people following it before you launched, so you were already cultivating an audience and getting people excited about what was coming, rather than waiting until you had it all worked out.
Kylie: You actually had an audience to launch the campaign to rather than just waiting, which I think is a really important thing to consider when people are very early days in their businesses, about not waiting. You can start talking about what you’re doing and bringing your project to life, and bringing people along with you for the ride, so that when you do have something exciting to say and launch, you’ve already got an audience to tell them about it.
Charles: That’s actually the summary of what I was trying to say, I guess.
Kylie: I also wanted to say, there are other crowdfunding platforms around, so Kickstarter is probably the biggest globally, and the most well known, but there are other even more local homegrown platforms now that people could also consider.
Charles: Yeah, definitely. We have a local crowdfunding platform here in Australia called Pozible. These are actually started by some guys in Collingwood actually, but there’s also Indiegogo which is an international platform as well. To be honest, I don’t really know a lot of the difference now. I think as long as you have the good marketing and good product, I think whichever platform you choose, in the end it’s not really going to matter that much.
Charles: A lot of people now also do Kickstarter campaign to start with, and also they move to Indiegogo later on, ’cause Indiegogo actually has a pre-order function, a pre-order platform where you can put your product out there once your campaign is finished, and people can still continue to pre-order. Of course, it’s not exactly the same as the crowdfunding because the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, or whichever crowdfunding platform you choose, it should offer more benefit than say pre-ordering, because pre-ordering, there’s less risk in terms of your investment.
Charles: I guess what I wanted to say is that you need to treat your early supporters, you need to give them reason to back you earlier on. For example, because on crowdfunding, you don’t get the product straight away. We usually give some level of discount to the product that we’re offering, so if that is the reason why they should back you, as well as because they believe in your product, if the discount is a selling point of your crowdfunding campaign, then maybe you shouldn’t discount as much on a pre-order platform.
Charles: Basically, what you’re trying to do is to give people more reason to back you or to support you earlier on, and yeah. Don’t lose the trust of your supporters, basically. Because a lot of campaigns as well, nowadays, is that people who back them earlier, supported them early on Kickstarter, haven’t even received the product but then the creator’s already sold it to end consumers somewhere else, because of an opportunity they didn’t want to miss, or they start selling to a big department store or giant, because they wanted to actually get the deal from these department stores, for example.
Charles: These sort of things are the things that a lot of Kickstarter supporters would be concerned about, because they support you earlier on, they should really get the product first, before anyone else.
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Kylie: I’m curious about what have been some of the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in after having a massive campaign that was hugely successful, to then actually delivering to that. What have been some of the biggest hurdles that you’ve experienced in getting the business up and going?
Charles: Oh wow. I mean, running the campaign itself, it was a huge effort for me and Rex. Especially back then, we were still working full time in our own professions. Basically we quickly realised that running a campaign is not an easy task. Halfway through the campaign, knowing that it was going quite well, I actually handed in my resignation letter to my employer.
Charles: It was not really a move that was easy to make for me, because I enjoyed what I was doing as a designer, but it was almost like, “I have to do this. I have to do this because if I don’t do this, I will never be able to deliver something that I promised to all the backers.” Because originally we expected the campaign to be going okay, we weren’t even sure if it was going to hit the target, but we thought that if it was to hit the target, maybe we’ll get 500 people that ordered the keyring or the Orbitkey, and maybe we can do this as a part time gig, instead of my full time job.
Charles: But yeah, we quickly realised that it was going to be bigger than what we expected and it was a move that I had to make. Basically, right after the campaign, we ended up having to deliver to 5000 supporters instead of the 500 that we expected, and basically the journey from the end of campaign to delivery was a journey that I will never forget, because I spent most of my time basically in China, where our manufacturing partners were, and just spending night and day trying to make sense of things, trying to bring a product from an idea to a mass manufactured thing, I mean, I was quite lucky to have a bit of a knowledge in design, industrial design, and mass manufacturing.
Charles: But being a graduate, I was actually a graduate, I was probably working for three years back then in my job as a designer. I didn’t really have the experience yet to bring something to the end consumer. Most of the work that I was doing back then was just designing and assisting in designing projects, products. The mass manufacturing was a key that was missing from my experience, so that was something that I really had to learn really quickly alongside my business partner.
Charles: We spent a bit of time in China. It was quite tough. It was such a different working environment and everything was new. It was very, very exciting, but at the same time, very tiring. After spending three months in China, we ended up delivering our products right on time, which is something that we’re really proud of achieving, because a lot of other projects didn’t really deliver on time.
Charles: So we made sure that we were there so that it was done properly, and it was done on time. It was just quite challenging. That was I guess between the end of the project to delivery of the goods to our supporters, but right after that we really had to learn quickly how to continue the momentum. We had to create our own website on Wix.com, which it was quite simple and modest, but we really didn’t know how to actually go about anything. We had to learn everything from scratch, so I found that quite challenging as well, but it was quite a steep learning curve, and I think it required a lot of hard work, and I wouldn’t complain, because I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I’m quite grateful of what we could do with the skills and with the knowledge that we had.
Kylie: Yeah, and so spending three months in China to bring the product to life, was that something that was on the roadmap for you before you actually launched the Kickstarter campaign?
Charles: No, definitely not. The plan was that we were going to spend a week in China trying to sort out everything. Meet all the manufacturers that we’d previously contacted, just tried to filter them out, try to find the best one out of the ones that we picked. But we quickly found that it was quite a naïve way of looking at things. We thought that everything was going to sort itself out, but really it was quite the opposite.
Charles: But by being there, by being able to be on the ground sorting out all the manufacturing issues, it was really quite helpful and it had to be done, because quality was something that we really, really care about. Up ’til now, it’s something that we really want to maintain, a high quality product that really works.
Charles: Because of that, we really couldn’t just let go of the project and getting the manufacturers to do everything. Because also it was quite a new way of doing things and making things that we had to sort out, all the little hiccups. It looks like a simple product, but there’s actually a lot of little details that was quite challenging to achieve.
Kylie: Did you end up changing suppliers based on your research when you were on the ground?
Charles: Yeah. The approach that we had was we picked a few suppliers, and these suppliers are the suppliers that we found from Alibaba, or some other websites or recommendations from a lot of other people that we know. But we really had to make sure that they can deliver, so what we planned to do in that one week is just to meet all the manufacturers and really pick one that we were going to work with, and go with that.
Charles: That was the approach that we had, and we basically ended up with probably a group of 4-5 different manufacturers that we worked with, based on the materials that we chose, and also based on the manufacturing process as well. Because each factory can just, we found factories that can do really great stuff in one manufacturing process, but not in another. It requires a lot of coordination between suppliers, and making sure that the end product was something that we could deliver and something that was of high quality.
Kylie: Yeah, and so you can’t really know that until you’ve got your feet on the ground and you’re engaging with the people that are actually doing the work, and putting their name to what you’re producing in the end. From one week to three months, that would have been quite an extended trip that you didn’t see coming. When you got back to Australia, how did you then go about working out what was next?
Charles: Well, first of all, I got my coffee which is good. Coffee culture in China wasn’t really up to scratch back then. And coming from Melbourne, where you can just go around the corner and get a coffee, that was definitely the first thing that I did. But going about how to actually go about our business, it’s not a straightforward process.
Charles: First of all, we set up our website, so that we could continue selling the product. But there was definitely a lot of different things that was in our mind. How do we keep marketing our product? How do we make sure that people see it? How do we make sure that this momentum’s not just going to die down and we end up with no customers talking about the product at all?
Charles: I think one thing that really made the difference that we did was first of all we signed up to a tradeshow, so we thought about how do we get our products into shops so that if anyone was browsing for another thing, they’re more likely to see our product on display? That was a lot of hard work as well. First of all, we were trying to do the research on how to get into shops, and before we signed up for the tradeshow, we actually had gone into a couple of stores that we’d personally visited, and just went in there, and basically like a walk-in salesman, just going, “Hey, I have this product idea. We raised this much money on Kickstarter, there was a lot of happy customers. Are you willing to take us onboard? Are you willing to put our product on display?”
Charles: There was some successes and some of our best stores, some of the best performing stores even up ’til today, they are the very first few stores that we signed up by walking in and really talking to the owner so that they really understood what we’re about and they really understand what the product actually does, and how it functions. There was quite a lucky strike for us. Just to find those really great stores that we could be in.
Charles: But yeah, definitely. Like, we went down the wholesale route. We’re doing also some design markets. We try to actually attend design markets where we can be there to explain the product to the end customers. These sort of things actually worked really well for us in the end. So yeah, I think a lot of the … Actually, it was not really in the design and manufacturing anymore. Once we came back from China, and once we delivered the goods to Kickstarter backers, most of the things that we were doing were mainly marketing, and also how to sell the product.
Kylie: I can see from your Instagram account, and also from the website, that you’ve grown the team substantially. It’s not just you and Rex on the ground doing this anymore, and you seem to have developed a really great culture. How’s the process been of growing the business and bringing other people onboard?
Charles: Wow. Well first of all, I think it was me and Rex for the first two years, so really the company grew from two to six people, to 10, to now 15 people. I think it really grew in the last two years. The very first few hires were actually through just a lot of mutual connections, so the very first hire that we had was an industrial design intern, and I actually went to RMIT to actually visit the exhibition, the end of semester exhibition. I was just looking for someone that could potentially be an intern in our company.
Charles: I went about it that way, and coming from RMIT as well was an easier process for me, because then the lecturer knew me, and also the lecturer would actually go, “Hey, this person could be a good fit for what you’re looking for.” The very first hire was actually an intern. The second hire was actually through another friend of mine that runs … She was actually an agent in a way that she connects … She’s like a recruitment agent.
Charles: We actually found our very first sales rep, more like an account manager, through that. We found that worked really well for us and we were trying to actually keep that going by reaching out within our circle of network. Before you know it, like after contacting all our followers and also our email subscribers, just going, “Hey, we’re actually looking for someone,” one of our staff members actually came from that as well.
Charles: A lot of talking to people, “Do you know anyone?” Before you know it, we grew to a team of 15, and it’s been an amazing journey, and looking at the culture, it’s really humbling to hear that you said that we actually have created a great culture. I think that’s very true and we’re really happy with the people we have onboard. They’re just amazing people.
Kylie: Yeah. You’ve just moved into a new office I think recently. You’ve grown and continuing to grow. What’s next on the horizon for Orbitkey?
Charles: Well, I think we just recently did a retreat actually, so we did a company retreat where 15 of us actually went to the beach and we spent four days just discussing about our future plans. I guess that was also one of the rewarding moments where you can actually see everyone interacting with each other outside of work, and how everyone got along, and everyone put some work into working in a team. We were just cooking together, we were packing up together, and it was such a nice thing to experience.
Charles: But talking about the future plans, we actually are trying to turn our brand into something more than a key organiser brand, if you know what I mean? So far, if you talk to anyone about Orbitkey, they would think about this one product, but really what we want to create is more than that. What we want to create is a brand that really inspires people, that really inspires other brands also to do great things.
Charles: Basically what we had to do was we had to ask the question of what we truly care about, so after asking ourselves for a lot of whys, and a lot of questions, we basically came to the conclusion that yes, we have a key organiser that helps you organise your keys, but really what we truly believe is that when life is organised, it’s just way easier, and it’s better.
Charles: It got us in a really interesting conversation where we imagined, “What would it be like for Orbitkey in 25 years? Or in 10 years? Or 5 years?” The focus right now for us, for the brand, is to turn our brand into something more than a product, is to turn our brand into something that inspires people to be more organised and we happen to design things that helps them do that. That is the focus for us, the next step.
Kylie: Absolutely. We all need help getting more organised. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. Particularly as we become a lot more mobile in the way that we live and the way that we work, we can have our lives in multiple different places all at once. Place is now not somewhere that’s really locked down to one location. We can find ourselves in all sorts of places doing all sorts of things, so all need help organising with that. What advice would you have for somebody who was starting their own business?
Charles: I guess reaching out to people is very important. For us, I think the very first time that we decided to go with Kickstarter, I think the very first thing that we did was as I said before, we did a lot of research, but we also contacted a lot of project creators who has done it before, and really asked them about what worked well and what didn’t work well.
Charles: That happens even now when we’re a team of 15. We’re still a small team, and there’s a lot of other business owners and also people who are involved in bigger businesses that we can actually learn from. I think always be curious and always be hungry that you would actually go out there and ask people questions and ask people for advice so that you don’t actually have to repeat the same mistakes they’ve done.
Charles: How do you avoid mistakes that you can easily avoid if you had that knowledge? First of all, trying to reach out to people and always trying to create something with value and again, it seems like common sense, but what we really try to focus on is think about the end user. Whatever we do, how does this add value to our end user? Why would anyone actually care about this product so much that they would invest their money in it? We really try to focus more on the benefits of our product and market it that way.
Charles: Also, trying to exceed expectations in everything you do. I think there was a lot of other businesses that does this better than us, but we’re continually trying to exceed expectations of our customers, in the way that when they receive our product, it exceeds the expectation that they have on the product. Also, in everything that we do in tradeshow, for example, we always try to do something that exceeds the expectations of our customers.
Charles: We offer refreshments at trade shows. People are tired, people are just there to buy stuff, but they’re tired and they still have a lot more stalls to visit, so we try to actually offer something more than just selling the product. I think a little bit of thoughtfulness really goes along way.
Charles: I think yeah, just really try to be generous as well. As a business, I think it’s important for us to be generous to other businesses as well, and that’s really something that creates a culture that helped us in the beginning anyway. Always important to give back, so anytime that you can offer advice to another business that is about to do something that you’ve done before, try and be open about it and trying to offer the best advice you can offer to them.
Kylie: Fantastic. Charles, we’re going to start wrapping up the conversation. Where can people find out more about what you have created?
Charles: You can go to our website. So www.Orbitkey.com. O-r-b-i-t-k-e-y.com. You can also follow us on social media, so we’re on Instagram, we’re also on Facebook. Feel free to follow us and see what we come up with next.
Kylie: That’s right, and get an Orbitkey so you can get your keys more organised and not jiggling around in your pocket as you go for a run or scratching your wallet, or just feeling good. Like, it actually feels good when you get your keys sitting in a nice little pouch rather than all hangling all over the place. I’m really excited to see what you guys come up with next. So, I have 10 questions to finish off. Are you ready to go? We have 10 seconds to answer each of these 10 questions.
Charles: I’ll give it a go.
Kylie: Do your best. All right. Number one, what I like about myself is?
Charles: I get along with people fairly well.
Kylie: I beat procrastination by?
Charles: I’m not sure if I’m actually very good at beating procrastination. I actually perform really well last minute, so I’m not sure how to answer that.
Kylie: So maybe a bit of positive deadline pressure.
Charles: Exactly. Positive deadline, moving your clock forward. There you go.
Kylie: A song on my life soundtrack is?
Charles: Maybe something that I aspire to do, maybe “It’s My Life,” Bon Jovi, living in the moment.
Kylie: Rock on.
Charles: Yeah, exactly.
Kylie: The world needs more?
Charles: I think the world needs more great products that genuinely helps add value in someone’s life, and something that lasts. Less of the so-so products, but more great products.
Kylie: A phrase I live by is?
Charles: Never forget where you come from, and stay humble.
Kylie: Something that everyone must do is?
Charles: I think we should all keep pushing ourselves forward but stop focusing entirely on things that didn’t work, or that didn’t go well in the first place. Really, trying to
reflect on things that went well instead and concentrate on that.
Kylie: A book that changed me is?
Kylie: That good old classic. Everyone needs to have that on their bookshelf. Fear and I?
Charles: We don’t get along. It’s like those friends that you don’t get along with but you can’t get rid of, but every now and again, you just have to confront them face to face because I just really don’t like that feeling of being scared.
Kylie: Something that always makes me feel good is?
Charles: Five second cold shower at the end of the shower each morning. It always makes me feel more awake. I think everyone should give that a try.
Kylie: I don’t know that you can convince me of that one.
Charles: No, trust me. It’s the hardest thing but it always makes you feel good in the end.
Kylie: All right. Maybe I’ll try it. Maybe I will give it a try. Number 10, my legacy will be?
Charles: Leaving the world a better place. Maybe a more organised place. Goes along with the mission of our company, so yeah.
Kylie: Great. Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Charles, and sharing with us your journey of conquering the crowdfunding world, and getting us more organised. We can definitely use with more of your wisdom and expertise in this area, so thank you so much and all the best for Orbitkey going forward.
Charles: Thanks Kylie. Thanks for having me.