Kickfurther Merchant of the Week is The Mulberry Silk Company which is owned and run by Martin Chesno, and Martin is visiting with us this week. Kickfurther, for those of you new to this blog, is an investment platform via which investors fund inventory for businesses. As the inventory sells, the company repays the investors and gives them an agreed-upon return. Mulberry Silk Company is one of the businesses financing inventory on Kickfurther and I am one of the investors who financed their inventory.
Q: Martin, can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I have experience in working with 'big' business in the FMCG space in Southern Africa. This included being a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, SC Johnsons Wax and other smaller brands in Zimbabwe. Later as an entrepreneur in South Africa I have dealt with most major retailers offering different products into the FMCG market.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your company?Where are you located, when did you start?
A: I have manufacturing under control by my long time friend and partner. He is based in China and assisted in establishing the brand from the outset. We have warehousing and offices in Chicago, Illinois but I reside primarily in Cape Town, South Africa - so we work out of both places. We started as traditional importers and distributors in 2005 and then in 2010 we took the business online. We sell on our own website as well as on Amazon. Now some of our products are available in the Kickfurther Store as well.
Q: You sell silk bedding, sheets, pillows and comforters. What parts are made of silk?
A: We specialize in Comforters which are filled with the finest quality Mulberry Silk. Our pillows too are filled with Mulberry Silk (although we do offer an alternative Silk mix to give the pillow some loft). As an add-on service we offer the rest of the linen for your bed, Our sheets, comforter covers, and pillow cases are pure silk and hand made in Vietnam.
Q: How long can I realistically expect a silk comforter to last?
A: Wow, a life time (and no reason why not, if looked after properly - but to be safe we say at least 5 years).
Q: What are the advantages of silk comforters?
A: Silk Comforters are hypo-allergenic and do not trigger feather-related allergic reactions. Mulberry Silk comforters are lightweight, supple and compact. They are easy to store, move, and dry clean. Our silk comforters keep you dry as the hygroscopic silk fiber absorbs one third its own weight in moisture without feeling damp. Silk provides thermal balance for luxurious warmth in the winter, and is super-lightweight and breathable for the summer. The silk fibres inside your Mulberry Silk Comforter act as a repellent to dust mites and bugs since they are deprived of the moist environment they require for their survival.
Q: All the bedding I see on your website is white. Why is that? Do you have any plans to expand into colored bedding?
A: From our side we want to keep things simple. The Comforters come in a 300 Thread Count Cotton outer - these look and feel beautiful - but one still has the option to purchase a cover in the color of their choice. Covering your Comforter will help protect it from unnecessary spills.
Q: How did you first hear about Kickfurther?
A: I was looking at funding through Kickstarter and came across Kickfurther!
Q: You've completed one Kickfurther offer and are in the payback phase of your second offer. From a merchant's point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Kickfurther financing vs conventional financing?
A: I honestly cannot see any disadvantages. You are held accountable to your backers - and this personal relationship with these people supporting you, is an amazing thing.
Q: Would you recommend Kickfurther to other businesses? Why or why not?
A: Absolutely would, without any hesitation.
Q: Have you tried Kickfuther as an investor? Why or why not? Would your recommend that friends invest via Kickfurther?
A: Yes, I would. I have not tried as an investor - would be great if one could pay via Paypal!
I'd like to thank Martin for being with us here today. If you would like to purchase a silk comforter, you can do so at his website, on Amazon, or in the Kickfurther Store. If you would like a 10% discount off thier Full / Queen size Comforter (92 x 96" ), leave a comment with your contact information (if you profile gives contact info, that's enough) and I'll forward you name on to Martin. If you would like to invest by purchasing inventory for businesses like The Mulberry Silk Company, you can use my link and get five dollars toward your first investment. If you are a business owner looking for financing, use this link to learn about Kickfurther.