That’s a screen shot from our Mint.com account. (If you haven’t tried mint.com go do it!) As you can see, our budgeted spending for May was already used up and it was only the 5th of the month. That’s just how things are working right now. We are doing this as lean as humanly possible, but it’s still adding up.
Getting to a designed product has actually been pretty inexpensive. We hired a few graphic designers which cost maybe $3k total. Money well spent. Then there was the trademarking, patent research, bar codes, nutrition labels, certifications, etc. These might add up to another $5k. Other than that we bought experimental packaging, tons of spices, and paid through the nose for shipping. These things, however, don’t amount to much. If we paid ourselves $5 an hour, however, the past 9 months would have cost a fortune.
Getting our first run going is, unfortunately, much more expensive. We are only making 6,000 boxes, but in most cases we are buying much more than that. Most of the packaging vendors have minimums (~25k pieces) that we have to meet. Also, running a product at this volume just isn’t cost effective. Such small quantities are basically a pain in the ass for our vendors and the prices reflect that. Ordering 100k or more would result in real cost savings. Hopefully we get to that point.
The thing is, this is still very much an experiment. That means two things. We need to be poised to react to the issues and needs discovered after we start selling. There will be problems, but hopefully we don’t have to reinvent everything. The other side of this being an experiment is that it might not work. We love the idea and our product, we have received mountains of positive feedback, but we cannot predict if that will translate to sales. Scary but true.
Enter Kickstarter. If you haven’t already, check out Kickstarter. The basic idea is that people with a germinating business presell their product to people who dig their idea. The money raised helps get the product out the door and the company up and running. Take a look around the site, it’s friggin amazing. Strangers are actively and effectively getting startups going $50 at a time. While the money spent is paying for a product, that’s not the whole reason people are willing to help out. Really, it’s a chance to play a role in a getting a good idea off the ground. It’s an easy way to be part of it.
First, we need to make our video about Quinn Popcorn, and my perfectionism isn’t helping to get it done. It WILL be up in the next two weeks, and I’ll write a post all about it.