Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
As the previous two have mentioned, the right group was critical, and ours worked very well. Each of us shared a unique set of skills with the group, making our entrepreneurial venture a success. I look forward to pursuing entrepreneurial adventures while keeping in mind the critical lessons learned in this class and initial venture. A venture is not successful on its own, it takes time. Lots of time, and accompanying this time, it also takes patience, cooperation, perseverance, and motivation. iGroup has proven to ourselves that we have all the necessary traits to pursue a venture. This class has possibly been the most valuable learning experience during my educational career at James Madison University. Other classes have been educational, but this class requires real-world interaction and experience. It inspires students to get out and try something they believe to be a failure. Cool Wax was just that, something to get iGroup started, nothing more. Now, Cool Wax is a brand spreading across the United States, and thanks to this class will continue to do so. As I already said, this class really inspired creativity and the entrepreneurial passion in each student.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Packages have been shipped to friends out west and up north. We are currently waiting to hear how our attempt to enter these markets is going. A few initial sales have been made and we look forward to the final results. Within the past week we created a flier to send with our product, now that we have begun our mailing campaign.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
With customer feedback, using our friends essentially as test dummies, asking for straight forward opinions, and with a drunk idea iGroup has made a few needed changes to the oh so Cool Wax. We have learned that change is constant and necessary and we will be ready for more as we continue on this journey.
To start there is no way we are going to continue to donate ½ our proceeds to the environment. We still love it but we’ve learned that you won’t make money (sorry mother nature but business is a nasty game) and people are willing to buy our product regardless of our donation efforts. We originally thought large donations would help boost our products appeal and that we even loved the environment that much…wrong! We still love our environment and want to keep our cool slogan so we are still donating, but we just changed the 50% to 1%. We are currently researching the “1% for the planet” label you see on a lot of organic products and seeing how we can label our product with it.
Next, we found that saying we are donating to the global warming research efforts is a very very not so good idea. Too much biased opinion is placed on the whole global warming thing and we found it safe to just say alternative energy research (and maybe soon 1% for the planet). When pitching to one of our friends, as soon as we said proceeds to prevent global warming her exact comment was; “oh god, are you serious? Another global warming sales sympathy pitch?! You guys are lame. I’d never buy it if you had that b-s label on it.” So with immediate response to our new customer research, we ripped off that back label and are selling it straight up.
We also tested the product ourselves but like all testing there is no better way to find flaws then to sell it and wait for complaints. The biggest complaint with the wax is that it does not rub on too well and when you are rubbing back and forth on your edges it can even rub the wax off. If the wax doesn’t coat the edges properly then rust spots will show up and the idea of Cool Wax will be crap. This is an obvious problem for the quality assurance management team (Bianca, Kyle, & Jake) at Cool Wax. Luckily however, Jake and his girlfriend got drunk…
When socializing with friends Jake was telling them about the Cool Wax product and the disappointment in the new found flaw. Jake’s girlfriend then told him “just put it in the microwave for a few seconds.” So simple and obvious, never underestimate the lack of complex thought while inebriated. She told Jake about how she had to mold a candle in some art class in grade school and they just put it in the microwave and it made the wax pasty. This simple added instruction could increase the performance of the product to meet our customer’s needs. At the end of this week after all of our schoolwork load dies down, the group is planning to meet and test what may be the new directions of application for the Wax.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Kyle got the labels made and we've been taking shifts to cut them out and stick'em on. The labels came on one big sticker sheet so we have to cut the circles out one by one. We have a front and a back label soooo 100 wax cubes x 2 labels for each = really sore hands. But we managed to sell five already just talking to people randomly throughout the day. Kyle and Jake have started contacting ski reps across the country to try the product out and possibly endorse it and Kyle has visited a local ski shop who asked as to create a brochure and then they'd look into selling it at their store for us. Things are looking good so far.
"Keep your edges and keep your snow!" That’s the slogan that has us off to the entrepreneur races. Cool Wax was officially born last night (3/2/10). For only $2 dollars you get a cube of our specialty wax that helps prevent your ski or snowboard edges from rust when you store them and helps prevent global warming by donating 50% of all proceeds to alternative energy efforts.
We met at Jake's around 6:30pm and piled into Kyle's car to go out to find supplies, that is when the adventure began. We were originally headed to Walmart, but Michaels just happen to stir our interest at the last second. We went into Michaels not having any idea what we'd be getting into other than we need wax. We found the wax... all 20lbs of it! We had no idea how much wax cost or how much you could get.
We sorted and debated through the different options and decided to go with the smaller 4lb block just to try it out. Of course as we start walking up to the register, we all get distracted and start wandering the store looking for more ideas and just looking. After spending a few minutes in the tie-dye section we stumbled across cheaper (Michaels is a rigged operation). So we ditched the block of wax for the cheaper... and some tie-dye (Bianca & Jake wanted shirts). Bianca also found some sweet wrapping paper to wrap up our product in.
WAX IS EXPLOSIVE!!! We finally make it back to Jake's around 7:30 and we started the melting. After a quick research on proper wax melting techniques, we quickly learned that wax actually has a flash point around the 300+ degree range. The vapors are extremely flammable and should not be exposed to an open flame. Use of a cooking thermometer is required to keep your boiling water at a safe 212 degrees. Weelllllll we didn't have a thermometer. Jake had an electric range, so no open flame, and we're adventuring entrepreneurs... so screw safety! Yeah, we went for it. We cranked up the heat on the stove and had the water boiling hot. We dropped what is called a "Pourer Pot" into the boiling water and then dropped in the wax, and our secret ingredient to say, into the pourer pot and started melting.
Once the wax was melted (looks just like water) we poured it into individual molds where it would cool. We could only melt so much wax at a time (what with the flammable fumes and all) so the process took some time. Kyle help speed the hardening process up suggesting we put them in the freezer.
During the melting and poring process something happened... something innovative even. We had bought dye to tie-dye some shirts for fun later and Jake decided to poor a little of that dye into the pot of melted wax. Now it's colored cool blue!!!! We're on a roll, even our packaging paper is a transparent blue!
Once the wax had hardened and was blue, we formed an assembly line. One cut the "packaging paper," one popped the wax out of their molds and the other packaged. When we started packaging, we found some defective products. When Jake was pouring the wax the water on the outside of the pot dripped into the empty molds and later created holes in some of the wax. And the blue dye doesn't dissolve well in the wax so there were some very odd-looking pieces. Out of the 100 we made only about 20 were defective. Luckily we can just melt them and try again.
Kyle is working on getting us labels printed and we'll be sticking um on tomorrow hopefully!
Cool Wax is real. It's no longer a worthless idea it's a product. Kyle has texted us claiming he sold 3 as soon as he got home and has more sales transactions lined-up. We learned that you have no idea how you’re exactly going to make something or what you’re going to do with it. You have to have a simple general idea about what you want to do and just go on an adventure to try and do it. We had a general plan and we had some idea how we were going to do it but everything little thing changed as we got deeper and deeper into the experience. We all found the fun and excitement of creating something and not knowing what was to come to be exhilarating. Last night was our first night as entrepreneurs and we have a feeling it won’t be our last.
... if we fail we still made some cool shirts!