Thankyou is currently 11 days into a ballsy crowdfunding campaign, which if successful, will see the socially conscious business expand into a new market and launch a whole new product range.
The firm, which started out as a water company created to help end world poverty, now sells 38 different products and is hoping to add a baby range to the mix as well as a New Zealand operation.
Thankyou doesn't have a big marketing budget, rather it relies on social and people power to get the message out about its products.
To achieve this goal the company has launched a book called Chapter One with all sales going to fund the next chapter of the business. Consumers who want to buy the book can do so online, for a price of their choosing.
The business needs $1.2 million to be able to both create its baby range and take its products to NZ, and co-founder and managing director, Daniel Flynn, believes it can be done. Since the end of February the business has sold more than 14,000 books and raised close to $600,000, with the likes of Ooh Media and QMS donating media space to help get the message out there.
“It's a massive target,” Flynn told AdNews. “The sales rates are slower in the last couple of days, and we've been thinking what are we going to do to tip the scales and take it there.”
Flynn, who spoke to AdNews while on the book-packing production line, explained that the company has reached a tipping point and now is the right time for it to expand.
“The profit that we generated in the first five years was $500,000, and that was a good start, and in the last two and a half years we've raised more than $3.7 million,” he says.
“It's getting to the point where it's working and consumers are getting behind it; our products are now out-selling multiple global competitors in their own categories, so we know that it works and with any organisation the next question is where to from here?
“For Thankyou our drive goes beyond building a bigger business. Extreme poverty is such a big issue, there's still a billion people living in extreme poverty and we think Thankyou has such an incredible opportunity to help empower people to change that fact. It is time to go to new markets, it's time to see Thankyou work in other countries and it's time to get into other categories.”
The markets the business are looking to enter are not small, and it will be no easy task with the size of its budget, with
Thankyou allocating just $600,000 for each project.
“Nappies is a huge play,” Flynn says. “There's one big competitor in the space who has 50% market share and there hasn't been a whole lot of innovation in the space, so we've put in a whole lot of effort to create a product we think will be better for consumers.”
The issue for Thankyou is that its main competitor is now already working out how to stop the brand from gaining market share. According to Flynn, competitors are likely to discount their products to ensure “pantry stuffing” so that people's cupboards are full so they won't buy Thankyou's baby products.
The business also doesn't have big budgets to combat such tactics. He says however that by using crowdfunding, hopefully consumers will be invested in the brand by the time the product comes out.
“[What will make this work is] the 20, 40, 60,000 people who have invested some of their own hard earned money in it and part of the book and the crowdfunding is having the wider base to launch the range.
“They'll be people walking through the supermarket saying: “Hey – I helped put that there”. Ultimately the people power is the only thing that would give us a shot against some of those bigger brands out there.”
Flynn adds: “It's going to be an interesting six months. People are watching to see if we make the target. We have a lot to prove as a young brand, but we're giving it everything we've got.”
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