Starting a business is exciting but hard.
That should sort of go without saying, but I think back to when this all started, and all of the things I've learned since this journey began.
When I finally decided to make Toolaloo happen, I started by solving a problem: getting folks to remember their reusable bags at the store. Then, I wanted it to be multifunctional.
That's why you can also hang Toolaloo on your car's headrest to keep all your bags easy to grab. It's why the device has a universal fit to attach to any store's cart. No more digging for your bags under all your groceries.
To make life easier, I added the cup holder. Then, I had it designed so it can hold at least 40 pounds of groceries in one trip.
Those things seem easy sometimes compared to all the things that go into launching a business from the start!
There's the accountant to hire, the patent lawyer to consult, the manufacturers to choose. Not to mention the (fab and smart) engineers you need to hire and have countless conversations with to make sure your vision is also well-designed and effective.
There have been so many CAD designs to pour over, modifications to make, tests to run and more. Each small tweak can make an important difference not only in the user experience, but in the engineering, design, and manufacturing cost.
We've worked so hard to get a U.S.-based manufacturer! We wanted the product to be eco-friendly, but also economical. It's a balance that has taken months to strike.
Sometimes the visions I feel most strongly about can't happen because of an design need (or are cost prohibitive).
There's the branding and marketing of your product. It's NAME. What colors will you use, what will it look like, how will it be packaged?
What are your financial projections for success in the future? Better yet, what does success look like for your business?
So, you've got a product, a brand strategy, and someone to build it. Now you've got to sell it!
Where will you sell it? Who will buy it? How will you manage the supply-chain management? What are your production costs? How much will you sell it for?
Okay, so we've got a great product, a manufacturer, and a schedule to roll it out.
The big question now is 'When will we be ready to go to market?' Right now, Toolaloo is on track for early 2018, but if there's one thing I've learned along this journey, it is that patience and flexibility are paramount.
Next, we begin the process of a crowdfunding campaign to help crowd-fund this adventure. Raising capital is key to starting any business, and I'm excited to embark on this journey in the crowdfunding sphere.
As a mom, and now an entrepreneur, I've learned many lessons along the way.
What an adventure it has been so far!