Petros Dertsakyan is a passionate entrepreneur who has successfully failed 3 startups and gained a wealth of knowledge. He has a Masters degree in Molecular and Cell Biology, and was an adjunct professor of Biology, Anatomy and Physiology for 4 years before he launched Empawer – and his keystone product, Bristly – to help empower pets to be independent and healthy by putting the power of toothbrushing into their paws.
He grew his brand in only 2 short years, to be one of the most impactful brands in the pet industry, and broke records by being the highest funded (and having the highest backer count) pet campaign in crowdfunding history.
I've heard only good things about your service, Petros. I am looking to engage firms to help me with a regulation 506 C raise that we just launched about a month plus ago on a new platform and now we need to focus the traffic there. Prior to that, we ran a very successful regulation CF raise on the republic platform https://republic.co/cityzenith . I did submit an application for your formal channel, for conversation. Looking forward to hopefully connecting.
Thanks to everyone for participating, I appreciate all the question! Have a wonderful New Year!
Hey, Why should you take your project to InDemand instead of selling on your own website?
Great question! Often times, especially if you are a new brand, once your campaign is over, you will not have your product for some time (until it's ready) and you will need to establish your online store & marketing, etc. The InDemand platform allows you to continue selling and making money, while you wait for your product to finish manufacturing, and get your brand ready to sell online & other outlets.
Hi Petros. Why did you decide to launch Bristly on Kickstarter? What are the differences between Kickstarter and Indiegogo?
Our agency recommended that since Kickstarted does have a bigger audience base. Also, the strategy was to build a successful campaign on Kickstarter, and then continue that on Indiegogo in-demand - which allowed us to take advantage of the benefits of both platforms.
Hi Petros! What was the biggest challenge you faced on your path to success?
Having to make a lot of decisions with very little information, and not knowing if the decision is the correct one, and how it will actually play out. Especially when you are manufacturing a product, even the experts aren't 100% sure of what issues may arise. It's been a lot of putting out fires that pop up and trying to be adaptable enough to make it through, learn from it, and apply it the next time a similar issue arises.
How did you get Bristly featured in big media outlets?
The Crowdfunding Formula, who ran our campaign, has a great outreach team and they were able to get us featured in all these outlets
Which shipping company have you used and what’s the cheapest way to ship from China globally? I was initially thinking of limiting the shipping to the States and Canada, but then decided to make it international.
Thanks Mikaela, we used a fulfillment company in China for a majority of the shipments. We did do a good chunk of fulfillment ourselves in the states. The US shipping is more reliable. The approach we took was the following: 1. Analyzed pricing from China vs. US to all our shipping countries 2. Those that were cheaper to ship from China direct, we did so. The ones that were cheaper to ship from US, we sent here and fulfilled ourselves.
Do you plan on launching another crowdfunding campaign, become a serial campaigner?:) thanks!
Thank Boris! There are a few projects we have, that we are thinking about doing crowdfunding for, but with all the dynamics going on in the business, we are not sure when the right time would be. But it is a good way to launch a new brand.
Also, you have so many backers, do you have a specific opinion based on experience whether you should include additional questions in the backer survey for the future? or keep it straight to the point? Because people don't usually like filling in surveys, even if it's for the projects they backed/products they bought
Keep the survey as simple and easy as possible. A lot of the time people get confused as to why they are filling the survey out, or what it means for them. So clear directions, and simple questions is key!
Petros when do you think is best to send out backer surveys? During the campaign? Towards the end? Or hold off till I'm ready to ship the products?
I think it's best to send out the backer surveys as soon as possible. A lot of backersa either don't see the survye (maybe it goes to spam), or forget to fill it out, or for whatever reason, they just don't fill it out. 1 year later we still have about 800+ backers who have not yet done a survey to get their product. So constant updates and surveying needs to be done as soon as possible.
Hey, so can you please share your post-crowdfunding experience. How's the business going currently?
Thanks Thea, it's really tough post-crowdfunding because you are scrambling to not only fulfill orders, but also establish your ecommerce presence and ensure the transition is smooth. The business has been suffering a lot of obstabcles, as we are still a new brand, but we are trying to overcome them.
Hi Petros, Why did you decide to go with crowdfunding? Why not go the traditional way? Do you think crowdfunding Bristly helped its brand establishment more? Thank you
Hi Lylyah, thanks for the question. We had been doing the traditional route, but building a brand take a lot of effort & time. Crowdfunding is a great way to accelerate a brand. That's why we decided to go this route
My production has been delayed. How do I tell my backers about it ?
My production has been delayed. How do I tell my backers about it ? Hi Ann, great question! We experienced this during our campaign, and a lot of other campaigns go through this. Production is hard, and there are a lot of unknowns! The best thing is, be transparent and honest. Tell your backers what happened, and why there is a delay. It will help them feel more trust with your brand, and at least they know what’s going on!
What are some common elements of campaigns raising over $1 million?
Thanks for the Question Tigran! I think there are a few key elements for campaigns that raise over $1 million: Solving a real problem or having some real necessity in your market It needs to have relative mass applicability - in other words, either hit the mass market, or be a strong niche with spending power behind it Having a real origin based on personal experiences Having a strong marketing campaign & team