On the 11th February we had the pleasure of hosting our latest webinar in the Shake & Learn series – “Crowdfunding and Impact Startups: The Experience of Popee & 900.care”.
We welcomed speakers Audrey Destang, Founder and CEO of Popee, the hygiene paper brand taking France by storm, and Aymeric Grange, Co-Founder of 900.care: the innovative, refillable personal care brand saving your bathroom bin from overflowing.
Audrey’s trajectory at Popee from founding to launching was a quick one: she quit her job in April 2019 and founded Popee in June. By September 2019 she had launched, and spent a year mono-product, selling just loo roll. She has recently expanded to tissues. For Audrey, the key cornerstones were always going to be that of health, and that of social responsibility. Her products boast 0 colorants and are Made in France with products from France. Both Audrey and Aymeric discussed how, in 2021, ‘Made in France’ isn’t enough. You need to check that your products and suppliers are French too. Popee is now 4 employees-strong: 2x focused on B2B and 2x on B2C.
Aymeric meanwhile is one of two founders at 900.care (the second being Thomas Arnaudo). Like Popee, 900.care’s mission is to eco-ise your bathroom experience. Why keep buying plastic bottles of shower gel if the key ingredient is water? 900.care sells you a recycled bottle and a capsule containing the product, which you mix yourself with water. You keep doing this and result = no overflowing bin. 900.care also sells toothpaste tablets which you chew on to turn into the foamy paste you are used to. No grotty toothpaste tube beside your sink! They are releasing a deodorant shortly. 900.care was born in July 2019 and launched in June 2020. The start-up now boasts 8 employees plus a pop-up shop in the Marais.
Both Audrey and Aymeric chose crowdfunding not simply for money, but because it’s a great gauge of whether or not people actually like the product idea. It’s a superb test of the market. If people are putting money into the product, you know that they believe in it and they’ll buy it! Aymeric noted that with crowdfunding, it’s all about the community. You create a community of people passionate about your product who become the best ambassadors.
When to launch?
With start-ups like Popee and 900.care, it’s all about timing when it comes to the launch. Audrey warned against launching in August – better to wait until Christmas. But then Aymeric jumped in, saying the game then is when you start generating publicity. You’ll fatigue the customer if you start plugging the product in September, but you don’t give it to them until December!
For advertising, Audrey discussed her use of Facebook Ads over Google Ads, while Aymeric boosted his products using Kickofflabs – he tried out the whole giveaway thing. However, he noted that, while this may have spread the word, it wasn’t wholly successful in turning testers into buyers: the majority of testers were just people looking for a freebie.
Aymeric went down the friends & family fundraising route, while Audrey chose against fundraising in favor of 100% control. Audrey was particularly keen to note her preference to doing things as cheaply as possible – and seeking help from her contacts, friends and family where possible. Both then went on to talk about the apps and software they both rely on to host their product. They both use the e-commerce marketplace, Shopify, – plus Klaviyo for their marketing, and Shopify’s Loox for reviews. Audrey also recommended using no-code tools. She used Switcher for videos and concerning websites, she warned against hiring a web-designer, who might use a code far too complicated for you to be able to change yourself later on.
The resounding message from both speakers was this: in 2021, everyone should be creating products which are both good for you and good for the planet. It shouldn’t be an added bonus, it should be a given.
And secondly, whatever your idea, believe in it and really push it. You only have to look at Popee and 900.care’s videos to see that both founders love their products. They’re not the typical walking-down-the-street-here’s-my-product sort of thing.
Finally, Audrey hammered home the importance of swallowing your pride and spamming your friends, your family, your contacts. Get anyone you can to help you and to buy your products. You can’t be shy! If you don’t believe in your own product, nobody will.
Watch the replay of the webinar here.
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