Using a minimalist wallet to turn a maximum profit, a BYU student has seen his business take off by using crowdfunding to gain popularity for his new idea.
Ryan Crabtree, a business finance graduate from Logan, expanded his business venture in April by using Kickstarter, an online pledge system used for funding creative projects.
Crabtree said his idea for the Crabby Wallet originated while he attended softball games.
“I would have my phone in one pocket and my wallet and keys in another,” Crabtree said.
He didn’t like everything separated and unorganized so he started playing around with the idea of a wallet to keep all of his necessities together.
Soon, Crabtree’s family and friends became interested in his project and wanted him to make wallets for them. His brother, Gage, introduced him to Kickstarter.
“I sat and watched Kickstarter for a long time,” Crabtree. “I studied and analyzed projects. I spent a good six months to see what makes good successful projects.”
Nearly a year after he created the first prototypes of the Crabby Wallet, Crabtree launched his Kickstarter campaign and set a goal to hit $100,000 in pledges.
Crabtree narrated a YouTube video advertising his product. He identified his target market – outdoor enthusiasts – and laid out the benefits for potential customers. From all the publicity he garnered, Crabtree tripled his pledge goal in just 30 days.
“It has exceeded my most optimistic predictions,” said Crabtree. “I thought the wallet would do pretty well….(but) $300,000 in pledges – I didn’t even think that was possible.”
What began as a small start-up on the side has grown into “more than a full-time job” for Crabtree.
Crabtree runs his businesses together with his brother Gage. Ryan serves as the face of the business and the creative side, and Gage is the “backgrounds guy.”
“(Gage) does a lot of the setting up of the business and working the background,” Ryan Crabtree said.
The brothers plan on continuing to build their business. Currently, they are busy capturing the momentum from online sales from Kickstarter, Crabtree said.
Soon the business will start using television ads and direct marketing.
“Down the road it will be distribution and potentially retail,” Crabtree said.