What was the defining moment that led you to create this product? What problem does it solve?
The introduction of the iPhone 4 showed the world that a camera built into a phone could be taken seriously. Today, extremely high quality cameras are available in almost every smart phone. This trend has inspired many products from tripod mounts to lenses, but users of these accessories tend to be more avid photographers. I wanted to enhance the usability of smart phones for everyone, not just those who are serious enough to carry additional accessories, which are bulky relative to the size of the phone itself. At the size of a credit card, the ClearShot offers the most portable solution for positioning your smart phone for hands-free photography, video, time lapse, FaceTime or Skype calling and other uses as well.
After you came up with the idea, how did you size up the market and decide who your customers would be?
From the beginning, my vision was always to appeal to all smart phone users. Given the trend of people switching to smart phones, it was clear that the market pool would increase substantially, and it has. It continues to grow at a staggering pace.
How did you go about naming your product?
Great consideration was given to the name. Before committing to ClearShot, two other names were considered: the MoneyShot Stand, and the Pico Stand. Naming is very difficult, and takes many things into consideration such as trademark availability, mouth feel and sound, length, possible translations in other languages, prior perceptions and interpretations, associations to other products or services, etc.
How long did it take you to create you initial prototype, and what problems did you run into along the way?
The first design and prototype was completed in just a few hours, and was done way before I was serious about the project. There were at least 20 different prototypes and concepts over the first six months that led to the general design concept that exists today, and another six months to firm up the design. It continued to evolve over yet another six months. Now that I am facing production, a new design is in development, more than two years after the first prototype. There are many reasons for the design revision: improved reliability, quality and appearance, as well as less expensive manufacturing due to elimination of a weld process.
Funding a new idea is always tricky. How did you go about lining up the money you needed?
I ran a successful fund raising campaign on Kickstarter.com. Campaign page can be found at www.fundclearshot.com.
Is this a product you’d like to produce and sell yourself, or are you wanting to license it to someone else? And if so, who?
I am currently working with an injection mold facility near my home in Seattle, however I am currently considering a license agreement with a company who makes wireless Bluetooth devices, namely a key-chain button that can be used as a remote camera shutter. This is the perfect match for the ClearShot, which is the tripod, while the remote takes the picture. Some camera apps have a countdown timer, however this would eliminate this requirement.
What all channels are you using to market your product?
I have a ClearShot Facebook page and a twitter account. While I was running the Kickstarter campaign I reached out to any organization that deals with gadgets, technology, iPhone or mobile phone accessories, fan sites, photography, travel, apps, and more. I did try using Google AdWords pay-per-click service but did not get good results.
How many people do you currently have involved in your business?
I am currently the sole member of my business, Crates of Creation, LLC, although my girlfriend Kara has been a large part of the project since the beginning. Kara brings many skills from past experiences, including marketing, graphic and web design, networking abilities, and strategy development to name a few.
How do you define success? What would hitting a “home run” look like in your mind?
A home run would be to be in production by the end of November 2012 so I can leverage holiday sales. I hope to penetrate the retail space. Currently, there are no products available that compete with the size and versatility of the ClearShot. Ultimately, I would like to grow and dominate the mobile phone stand/tripod market. I am open to being acquired in the future, but not until I can prove the value of my innovative one-of-a-kind design.
Where do people go to find out more about your product?