Personally, I find all of the Surfpreneurs success stories undeniably inspiring.
Be it the healthy dose of determination to push through adversity, the certain talents that helped give that person an edge, or even unbridled passion mixed with a tad of ignorance (read also; I dont give a f**k what others say).
Everyone has great stories, and consequently, lessons we can all learn.
Here is a quick snippet of a story from a Surfpreneur who went from product idea, to selling out stock in 10 minutes - enjoy.
French native Alexis Noyon joined the October 2016 Camp in Portugal, and at this stage, Daho Surf Co was a project yet to be launched into the open. Since then, Alexis has launched and achieved some great success, all whilst running his Casablanca based advertising agency, also.
How long have you been working on Daho, and when did you launch?
I started working on Daho Surf Company in summer 2015. At this time, I had manufactured a prototype and was still working on brand identity and bag designs.
For about a year, I struggled with finding a supplier that could manufacture small quantities of products. I almost stopped working on Daho at some point.
In November 2016, after the Surfpreneur camp, I found a good supplier by chance and ordered 75 surf bags and 30 organic t-shirts. We spent about 3 months finding the right fabric and design, keeping in mind we wanted Daho as eco-friendly as possible.
When you launched what went well and what went not so well and importantly, what did you learn from that?
What went well: we were convinced our key product to approach retailers was the surf bags and we were right. If you want to sell t-shirts, nobody will order yours since there are literally thousands of brands doing a pretty good job at low costs.
However, the board bag market is almost exactly the same it was 10 years ago and retailers were curious about what we had to offer because we brought something different than what most of our competitors do.
The retailers often bought some of our t-shirts to match the bags and ended up selling more t-shirts than board bags. Though it felt really good to received our first order, we were still a very long way before selling anything to anyone.
We struggled for about 3 months to work on designs and raw materials, then another month on the website and Facebook, then a couple of months to get the retailers’ attention. Obviously, Daho was not our primary job. Consequently, we had a lack of time and energy to get things done quicker.
Tell us a bit about the collaboration - why you decided to do it, how you chose the partner, working together to create and then building excitement to well out 30 shirts in 10mins!
Our Instagram was also a good way to get people’s attention. Last April, we got a call from an online French magazine. We met them and decided to launch a capsule collection of about 30 t-shirts to be sold exclusively online. That worked really well since they have a large audience here in France 🇫🇷
What was the best or main thing you took away from the 2016 Surfpreneur Camp that helped Daho and you?
The Surfpreneur camp brought me 2 very important things:
1️⃣ Confidence; There are plenty of great guys with big or small ideas, related to the surf industry, ready to help each other. It was inspiring and gave me the confidence to pursue my project as well.
2️⃣ Contacts; It was actually Mario who help me find the t-shirt manufacturer (in Ericeira!). James, you helped me to find the right way to approach retailers.
Here are three things I took away from that:
👕 Cross sales can surprise you, in this case, a common product line (t-shirt) working off of a differentiated product (board bag) worked well
📝 Work with magazines/blogs/Instagrammers etc with big audiences - instant eyeballs will drive traffic and conversions to e-commerce
🙇 Make sure you come to the next Surfpreneur Camp (duh!)