Most of us have been pulled shrieking into 2017, a year when we would all pay top dollar for one decent night of sleep. But who has enough cash to buy peace of mind in these trying times? That’s Sonic commercial money. That’s Trump’s cabinet money.
However, with an eye for trendy items and questionable business ethics, you could be making bank like the 24-year-old entrepreneur referred to only as “Jack” in a CNBC interview. He made nearly $350,000 in two months. With that kind of money, your financial worries would ease up and you could get at least one more hour of sleep, and you would be doing it on some really high thread count sheets.
The key to Jack’s financial triumph? Finding crowdfunding products with a high level of backer interest and beating them to market. The approach is quickly making him rich.
His interest was first grabbed by an inflatable chair made of parachute material whose Indiegogo campaign ultimately made 19402% of its goal. But, the chair wasn’t unique or new. Five years previously, the idea was presented by a Dutch inventor on Holland’s television show “Best Idea of Holland.” It was perfect for racing to market; it had huge interest and no obvious patent.
Jack and a partner found Chinese manufacturers, grabbed a domain name and bought some credit card readers. Thus, The Cozy Bag was born. They raised $100,000 in revenue and rolled it over into a greater viral hit: The Stress Cube.
The Stress Cube was actually poached from a product called Fidget Cube, a tiny, handheld toy with multiple clickers and joysticks, was designed to help people with anxiety keep their hands occupied. Fidget’s Kickstarter campaign ultimately earned $6.5 million, but a manufacturer delay left backers worrying that they wouldn’t get their cubes by the holidays.
Once again using Chinese manufacturers and internet sales savvy, Jack and partners were beating the product to market. Their Stress Cube launched by the close of November. One week into the venture, they were selling 100 a day, and at their peak 800 a day. In two months, the venture grossed them nearly $350,000.
However, Jack and associates have a nemesis: patents. “I’m checking every other day to see if there’s any new information,” says Jack. If a patent shuts down one of his product lines, he is prepared. “The world is filled with products. I don’t need to sell Stress Cubes, I just want to sell products that people like.”
In this Shark Tank world, racing brands that have social media clout to market might become a whole new niche. It doesn’t feel super ethical, but it’s also not illegal. Which means we’re sure to see more “Jacks” soon.