They will Romp on in our memories…


February 21, 2020

Kickstarter is a weird place, y’all. Around this time last year, The Hustle’s intrepid (or insane?) Zack Crockett dove into the world of fidget spinners and telescopes to see which projects were most successful (hint: board games are up there). We’re wading back into the weird waters of crowdfunding to take a look at… male rompers. Today:

  • RIP RompHim — thou did not romp in vain
  • Subscription cars pull into the fast lane
  • Exergames like to say “no pain, no gain”
RIP, RompHim

So… what makes Kickstarter campaigns go from virality to viability, anyway?

RompHim, the men’s one-piece jumpsuit startup that went viral in 2017 after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, announced plans to shut down last week.

Although some other Kickstarter products — like Peloton and PopSocket — managed to become full-fledged businesses, RompHim’s bust shows viral fame doesn’t always make a good long-term marketing strategy.

Everything started with plenty of romp and circumstance

After launching in May of 2017, RompHim sold out of its inventory — and raised $353k of its goal $10k — in less than a week.

In the days following their debut, the RompHim appeared in Vogue, Elle, GQ, Esquire, The Washington Post, CNN, and Time.

But RompHim had a thigh too close to the sun

After starting RompHim in business school, the company’s 4 co-founders ran the company as a side hustle. But despite their early success, they encountered early challenges.

RompHim shut down their funding period 3 weeks early to avoid imminent supply-chain issues. 

Then the company started showing signs of strain. In 2019, its social posts slowed and it slashed the price of its products.

Why didn’t RompHim succeed?

RompHim’s co-founders didn’t respond to The Hustle’s requests for comment. 

But Roy Morejon, a crowdfunding consultant who has helped 68 inventors raise $1m+ on Kickstarter through his agency Eventsys, explained to The Hustle that many viral Kickstarters are “one-hit wonders.”

Morejon said viral launches can help make an early splash, but usually can’t sustain long-term business.

“I don’t think there are any [Kickstarter] products that have ever launched and then ‘set it and forget it,’” Morejon explained. “You have to put a ton of marketing effort behind products to make them six-figure projects.”

So, how do you avoid becoming a one hit wonder? 

Morejon suggests Kickstarters keen on launching a full business should:

  • Confirm that real-live customers actually want their product.
  • Map out future product lines.
  • Make production plans for a 2x (or 10x) demand increase.

Of course, even with all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, there are no guarantees.

“Some stuff hits, some stuff doesn’t,” Morejon said. “But it does take a ton of marketing to make these things uber-successful.”

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Life in the Fast Lane

Hulu, Netflix, Nissan? Subscription cars are hitting the road

This week Nissan said it’s pulling into an emerging lane in the auto industry — the car-subscription business.

For a monthly fee, Nissan Switch will let drivers change out their rides as often as they change their socks (hopefully you’re changing those once a day). 

That option stands out in oncoming traffic

Nissan is hardly the first carmaker to get into the subscription biz, but the “once a day” wrinkle is unique.

Subscriptions give drivers more flexibility than old-school routes to a new set of wheels (a purchase or a lease). The monthly fees typically cover costs like maintenance and roadside assistance.

What kind of wheels are we talking about? Practically everything in the parking lot — the startup Fair deals in used cars, while Access (by BMW) and the Porsche Passport stock swankier rides.

Here’s why you should look before you merge

Some companies place limits on what you can do with your ride. One example: If you roll with pets, they might have to go in a carrier.

And the price tag isn’t cheap. Nissan Switch is coming to Houston first. Drivers there will pay a $495 activation fee, and then $699 a month (or more, for premium wheels).

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The Hustle Says

VC-funded cookware startups are out to crush Le Creuset. So, who’s the Warby Parker of pots & pans? Great Jones

The average Inside Sales Rep’s tenure has dropped by 60% — that’s what we call a “Turnover Uh-Oh.” Lucky for you, Outreach just put out this ebook on how to better retain sales talent.*

*This is a sponsored post.

Sweat Equity

Video-game programmers want to pump you up

“Call of Duty?” More like “Call to Move Your Booty.” Exergaming isn’t a new concept, but it could become a hot segment in the video game market.

Just what are Wii talking about here?

You remember the Wii Fit. It’s only one of the best-selling video games in the US. Those of us who are a little more — ahem, seasoned — might also remember the Power Pad, a floor mat with pressure sensors that worked with the Nintendo Entertainment System. 

Now Nintendo i’s rocking bodies with Ring Fit Adventure, for the Nintendo Switch. A flexible, hoop-shaped controller monitors players’ movements as they squat and jump to defeat on-screen foes. 

One reviewer found 20 minutes of game play burned 132 calories. It won’t replace a HIIT sesh, but it ain’t nothin’.

Console-based systems aren’t the only game in town

Mobile and virtual-reality apps have changed the face of gaming, and there are plenty designed to get people moving.

  • Zombies, Run! puts runners through their paces as they run a 5K … and escape the undead. 
  • Pokémon GO uses GPS and augmented reality to send players out into the world to capture digital critters.
  • Beat Saber challenges players to slice — and sweat — to the beat in virtual reality. 

Slow and steady might win the race

Exergaming represents a small portion of a growing market.

  • 73% of Americans play video games in some form.
  • Video game sales totaled $35.4B in 2019, up 2% from 2018.
  • Fitness games account for 1% of that.

But creating fun-yet-functional games could draw in even more gamers, boosting all of those numbers.

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Shower Thoughts

You’ve waited all week for this… it’s Shower 👏 Thoughts 👏 time 👏

1. Maybe superheroes wear capes to hide the zipper on the back of their onesie.

2. A wireless charger restricts your phone much more than a wired one does.

3. Dropping a cup of coffee wakes you up more than drinking it.

4. It’s annoying to feel your stuff in your pocket. It’s terrifying to not feel your stuff in your pocket.

5. Muffins are to cupcakes as smoothies are to milkshakes

Got your own shower thoughts to share? Drop us a line.

 
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Nick “SwampHim” DeSantis

STAFF WRITER/EDITOR

Hugo Gurll

Assistant Director of Moral Support

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