Kevin here to recap all that we accomplished and the highs and lows of the past month.
Get ready for another newsletter full of pictures!
Launch Party Set for October 27th in Austin!!
Before getting into the August recap, I want to share some exciting news. We are hosting a launch party in Austin on Friday, October 27th! We would love to invite any locals and non-locals to our event. This will be a moment to both showcase our product and to thank everyone who has supported us in our journey to get to this point. Speaking for the Outmore team, we hope to see y'all there!
Ads are live on Meta platforms!
A few weeks ago, we started testing our ads on Instagram and Facebook. While in this 'testing phase,' we have been excluding targeting anyone who has ever been on our Instagram, Facebook, or website before so that our data is clean (hopefully you have not been seeing our ads). Below is an example of one of the ads.
Our testing ads are not perfect (i.e. we are using renders instead of images of our products). But the goal during the 'testing phase' is not as much maximizing conversions as it is figuring out which audiences, images, and messaging drives the best overall results. With these learnings and the product images and videos we will have in a couple of weeks, we will move to the 'scale phase.'
These are early days, but I thought I'd share some initial learnings and community engagement.
Messaging: we have seen stronger results messaging "the best outdoor furniture ever" compared to "the world's first heated outdoor furniture"
- Our theory is that because furniture is historically a design/aesthetic buying decision versus functionality, leading with our tech downplays all of the other premium features in our product that consumers typically value in making a purchase decision.
- Geo-targeting: Due to the heat wave that hit most of the south and northeast the past couple of weeks, we decided to geo-target the midwest, CO, UT, CA, and the PNW over the past 10 days. All of our ad analytics improved, with our CPC (cost per click), CPL (cost per lead), and conversions improving almost 2x.
60 people have given us their emails to learn more and 2 people spent $10 each to reserve our product!!!
- Our first paying customers felt really good. It felt even better knowing we have spent less than $500 to deliver over 60 qualified leads. Our goal CPL overtime will be $2 or less, which we hope to achieve once we finalize our images, audiences, and messaging.
- People are talking about our product! It's been so cool to see strangers not only pay to reserve the Solerno Collection but also comment, tag, and share our ads. Below is an example of a woman in Wisconsin re-sharing our ad post and her friends commenting on it.
These results are preliminary but it gives our team a lot of confidence that we are creating a product that consumers will want.
For those of you looking to reserve your spot on our initial shipment, we plan to share our Kickstarter presale page with our network on September 15th before the Kickstarter goes live on October 15th!
Our video and photo shoot was INCREDIBLE!
From Sunday 8/27 through Wednesday 8/30, Outmore Living's offices were closed as we shot all of the Kickstarter, website and social media advertising content that we will be using to market Outmore for the next six months. I want to give a HUGE shoutout to Alex and the six extras (Ally, Jac, Sean, Tara, Mallory, and Tom) who helped us shoot, and a special shoutout to our Head of Marketing Miranda for planning and executing an amazing few days for our company. It was an incredible experience, and I am excited to share all of the pictures and videos in a few weeks.
In the meantime, here are some pictures shot on the iPhone 14.
Jac, Miranda, and Sean staging our loveseat set with
cream Sunbrella cushion covers.
Behind the scenes with our loveseat set with grey Sunbrella cushion covers.
Ally, our dog Mia, and I staging the sofa set with aspen Sunbrella cushion covers.
Mallory, Tom, Tara, and Sean during our Video Shoot
Alex sitting in one of our sets for our Kickstarter video.
Alex and I post-shoot sitting on our sofa with Navy Sunbrella cushions.
Founder Perspectives - Doing whatever it takes.
The photo and video shoot went incredibly well, but it almost didn't happen. I am so proud of our team's resiliency and thought I'd share the story of Outmore's ability to do whatever it takes.
**For context, ads get a lot more expensive heading into Thanksgiving and stay expensive all the way through Christmas, so we need our Kickstarter to end by November 14th at the latest. That means that the October 15th launch date I mentioned earlier is non-negotiable, as any delay would cause us to push our launch to January, or after the Q4 ad madness.**
About a month ago, our team drew a line in the sand that we were going to launch on October 15th. As a result, we needed to have our video and photo shoot done by the end of August, so after the two week video and photo turnaround timing, we could aggressively advertise for 30 days starting September 15th.
We individually assessed each component that we needed completed by this date and gave them each about a 50/50 chance, making our total chance of pulling all of them off at 6.25%. In hindsight, I think those odds were optimistic. Below are some of the highlights we had to overcome.
1) Frames ✅
I'll start with the easiest component, our frames. We called our factory in Vietnam and they were able to make all of our product samples in one week, air freight them to Houston, and deliver them a week before the shoot! Thank you to Alex's family, and especially his wife Sophie, for letting him turn his house into Outmore's temporary factory.
2) Power Bars ✅
Our ideal option was to get the power bars from our factory, but they just opened our mold and it will take them two months to have our final product (just in time for the launch party). So that option was off the table.
Option 2 would be to order functional 3D printed prototypes, however, these vendors' quotes were both unbelievably expensive and their lead times didn't hit our August date.
Option 3 was Alex's idea. Frustrated with the lack of options, we 3D printed empty molds of our power bar. He then ordered batteries and lights and built each power bar to look functional on his dining room table (again, thank you Sophie). The product wasn't perfect, but it looked pretty close to the real thing.
3) Cushions ✅
When we told our Vietnamese cushion factory that we were going to be doing our shoot, they said they could not get us the product in time, as they needed 45 days to source our Sunbrella fabric.
So we sourced the fabric on our own and found a factory in Colorado that could make the samples in a week. Crisis everted, or so we thought.
Then on Wednesday, five days before our shoot, Alex called me and said, "we have a huge problem." It turned out that the Colorado factory made our cushions two inches too big and the product looked awful. That's when Nga comes in.
I met Nga almost a month ago. A legend in Austin's textile scene, I had been told for almost a year that I needed to meet her. When I finally met her, I understood why. She is awesome and loves sharing all her stories of how she is who people call when they need the impossible done. We needed the impossible.
When I called Nga Wednesday afternoon, she said her word is her everything and that she was giving me her word she would get this done. So I drove half way to Houston, met Alex at a gas station to get the cushions, and was at Nga's factory at 8 am Thursday morning.
There is a lot of funny moments between then and Sunday, but it all concluded with Nga and I spending five hours Sunday morning making cushions in her factory just in time for the shoot. Nga and Outmore were able to get it done!
Getting Excited For Fall
2023 has already been a momentous year for Outmore, but the best is yet to come.
To Recap ways you can 'be outmore' right now:
- Signup and read our monthly newsletters
- Follow and interact with us on social
- Join our waitlist to secure yourself earliest shipment and help us demand plan
- Officially reserve your Solerno furniture with a deposit (September 15th)
- View lifestyle & product photos and videos of our final product (Sepetember 15th)
- Actually purchase your heated furniture (October 15th)
- Receive delivery of your heated furniture and enjoy (March 1st)
Until next time,