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The Kickstarter Success That Launched Quilo

Bree Weber

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Quilo
Fans are boring. And by fans, I mean the apparatus with rotating blades that creates a current of air for cooling or ventilation. Even the definition is boring.
That’s probably why you don’t know a lot of ‘fan designers’. I know I don’t. It’s not a super hot cocktail party line, but whenever I’m looking for something cool (see what I did there?) there’s one space that always delivers something conversation-worthy: Kickstarter.
That’s where Quilo made a name for itself, as a super cool fan company.
Quilo is not a conventional-looking fan, nor does the company behind it take a typical approach to business operations. For one thing, they designed and launched their product without a website, email list, or any customer base at all. 
It didn’t take long for them to become a Kickstarter Darling, and that’s probably due to their innovative product.
As a group of designers and developers who built fans, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers for other companies, they wanted to create their own product and develop their own brand, but they didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.
It wasn’t about inventing something new. Not only would that take time and money, but let’s be real: fans work. There really isn’t a great need to improve upon the general function. Instead, the design team focused on innovation, developing sketches and drawings that were interesting and could go to market quickly.
 
I mentioned it before and I’ll say it again: fans are a snooze. They’re also not designed in any particularly interesting or aesthetically-pleasing fashion. Our phones look like spaceship remote-controls, but fans haven’t changed a smidgen since the dawn of time.
Quilo changed all that, and they did it in the middle of the summer, with only three months of lead time. That meant they had to design, produce, and ship quickly while the market was hot (I just can’t stop). 
Like any good designer or developer, they started by addressing a problem. Unlike most companies, however, they turned Amazon’s review platform into their own focus group – for free.
They combed through mid-tier fan reviews, the ones from people who were neither super excited, nor especially dissatisfied: the middle road. Those reviews told them that people disliked evaporative coolers (science for swamp coolers) that were loud, smelly, and expensive to run. So, they created an engine that was akin to an air conditioner, that would be quiet and odorless, but more energy efficient.
There are a few things about their Kickstarter success story that is incredibly rare in today’s marketing ecosystem.
They didn’t do any direct to consumer marketing or any public relations.
Building an email list organically takes a long time. Building it quickly generally requires a paid advertising resource like Facebook Ads, which is expensive. Quilo did coordinate with some influencers, and while some helped to increase viewership, most provided absolutely no traction.
How did Quilo get the word out? They used the free online resources available to crack the Kickstarter code, utilizing the platform’s features to their fullest.
After the Kickstarter campaign ended, they launched their innovation on Amazon where their target customer (identified in that makeshift focus group) was already active. They sent a single message asking their Kickstarter community to write reviews on Amazon; in 24 hours they had 37 reviews. 
Kickstarter is generally still associated with the artist trying to get their latest indie album or underground documentary off the ground. But the platform isn’t just for inventors, it’s for innovators turning the boring into the brilliant.

Bree is a copywriter and content marketer for busy entrepreneurs, authors, and small companies. She has been writing, publishing, and marketing for over a decade, and has helped over 1k books journey from manuscript to bookshelf, working with #1 bestselling authors and debut writers alike. When she's not writing (or reading) she's enjoying kayak and rock climbing season, or else at the ballet barre.

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