This week's Kickfurther Merchant of the Week is GameFaceGear and I'm interviewing their managing partner, Doug Niedrich.
Q: Doug, can you tell me a little about how your company started and how it has grown over the years?
A: A friend of mine who was a life-long hunter came to me with an idea to help bow hunters cover up easily. I saw ways to improve and expand on his idea so we put our heads together.... I mortgaged my house, we filed patents, formed a company, flew to Vietnam to source world-class headwear manufacturing, obtained key Camo licenses and hit the trade show circuit with no idea what to expect. We sold $48,000 worth of units our first year.
Q: Is GameFaceGear the company and QuickCamo the brand?
A: QuikCamo is the main brand and GameFaceGear is the company however we produce a 3-D leafy hat under the “GameFaceGear” brand for Spring Turkey which is sold in 1300 “Turkey” slated Wal-Mart stores. (Spring only)
Q: I'll admit I'm not a hunter, but I've never seen hunting masks before; are they common products or your original idea?
A: There are lots of camo hats/masks out there; however, QuikCamo’s patent-pending designs are unique. There is nothing like the QuikCamo Rear model where you turn the hat around backward to cover up, as it also keeps the bow string from hitting the bill when you are at full draw.
Q: If I want hunting headgear that hides me from my prey, do I have lots of choices or are you the only game in town? If I have lots of choices, why should I buy yours?
A: What separates QuikCamo from the competition is “one hand deployment”, ease of use, convenience and scent control. No more messy face paint or fumbling around with a traditional mask. You never have to put your bow or gun down to get covered up. QuikCamo is ready when you are and there when you need it. For non-hunters QC is great for air soft, bird watching or a unique Halloween mask. Internationally famous birding expert James Currie loves his QuikCamo for getting close to wildlife undetected.
Q: How did you first hear about Kickfurther and why did you decide to use it?
A: An enthusiastic college student named Jake called me and pitched the model and I liked the idea of backers with “skin in the game” helping promote a product they had faith in helping me with branding via their social media channels.
Q: From a merchant's point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Kickfurther financing vs conventional financing?
A: Advantage seems to be the quick turn around of funds while getting some marketing exposure. If a company needs cash I don’t see any disadvantages.
Q: Would you recommend Kickfurther to other businesses? Why or why not?
A: Yes; however learn how to engage your backers as it seems they could really help promote the brand.
Q: Do you think that using Kickfurther has been successful from a marketing perspective? I have your masks in my Kickfurther store; do you know how many other people do?
A: I do not know of any other backers that have my product I their stores.
Q: Have you had any sales?
A: Not yet
Q: Of course, I guess getting your name and product splashed to all the Kickfurther investors when you made your offer, and available to anyone who looks at the Kickfurther site is worth something. Is there anything you were hoping for, or expecting from a marketing perspective that you did not get?
A: I thought I'd have more sale through backers efforts. I'm not sure how to use all the tools available so it's partially my fault
Q: Have you tried Kickfuther as an investor? Why or why not? Would your recommend that friends invest via Kickfurther?
A: I have not but will probably give that a whirl in the future.
Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us?
A: I love innovators and innovation and Kick Further is loaded with both. I have recently applied for some sports licensing approvals so anyone interested may see some up coming opportunity in that space.
I'd like to thank Doug for visiting with us today. You can see his company's products on Amazon (and if you purchase from that link, or by clicking on the photos in this post, I get a commission) and on the company website. They are also in my Kickfurther Store.