Meet a Founder: Jake Mellett, JoeyWears Founder - Central Research Laboratory Skip to main content

Update: The Campaign reached £80,668 of £15,000 target! Congratulations guys! Check out the campaign here!

Introductions

You’re now eight days into the campaign, and already at £33k! Before we get into how you managed that, do you mind giving us a bit of background about yourselves at Joey Wears?

Thanks a lot, we’re really glad it’s going well so far too. So my name’s Jake Mellett and my co-founder is Yang Lui, we started the business around a year ago. My background is in Digital Marketing, but I really wanted to start my own business before I was thirty. Last September I quit my job, actually looking back it was a pretty big risk! Yang Lui is my co-founder, she has a background in manufacturing and previously worked for a Foxconn backed startup, so she knows that world really well.

So where did the idea come from?

The men’s underwear industry hasn’t changed for a long time, and it has quite a few problems. One is the fact they still use cotton, which isn’t the best material for the job, as well as not being great for the environment. The market seemed pretty stagnant and ready for some innovation.

Cofounders Jake & Yang

Expert Interview: Getting Started

How did you get started?

I started working on the idea on weekends and evenings, then decided to jump in and work on the product full time. Once we had a few ideas, we worked with designers from Louis Vuitton and Sarene to get things moving quickly. Yang was able to organise the prototyping over in China, we went through 25 different designs, changing the fit, materials and other factors before we were able to start beta testing. We actually kept costs relatively low during the prototyping process, thanks to our flexible and accommodating suppliers.

How did the beta tests go down?

Overall we had some really great feedback, but we found there was a mix of responses with the design, which led us to design another version of the product, which made the beta users much happier collectively.

How important is building a community before you start?

First off – your community is really important. When we started we used Facebook advertising to build an email list of 2,000. I also emailed my LinkedIn contacts just to let them know what I was up to and asked for their support. We spoke with 200 would-be influencers and was able to bring in help from 20 of those who want to support the project, which we’re super appreciative of. Also don’t underestimate your local network, getting your friends and family to shout about the project and building support can really help boost your community numbers.

Advice

Do you have any advice for first-time product entrepreneurs?

When we set the target of £15,000 for the project, we were really nervous. When we broke it down into more manageable chunks, i.e backers per day or per social channel, it seemed much more manageable.

The other bit of advice is to get everything sorted before you launch, there’s very little time in between updates and responding to current backers to get much else done. Prepare a plan for what messages you want to put out there to drum up more support before you hit go. It’s like if you ran a restaurant, you wouldn’t want to have to lay the tables as people started coming in to eat.

The Joey Wears video is hilarious by the way, what’s your advice for others making theirs?

Oh, thanks very much! I think the video was actually our biggest challenge of preparing the campaign. I would say that you’ve got to be really structured if you want to get it right quickly, if I were to do it again I would follow these steps:

  1. Agree what you want to say and understand the message you’re trying to get across.
  2. Write a script and storyboard and then test it with your customers, do they like it, what would they change etc.
  3. Bring in videographers or any help you need to shoot it, it’s worth spending a bit of money here to make sure it looks great.

I would add that you should take your time, you don’t want to rush it because it’s got to be right. I would leave around two months to plan and film your video.

 

I heard the founder of Magnetips had a similar approach. He filmed a version of the video with his son and when he was happy with the scenes and the script, gave it to a videographer to make it look professional.

That’s a good idea, I’ll remember that for next time. We actually had to change our video, as it started seeming too much of an advert and didn’t tell the story of JoeyWears, which is what we really wanted to do.

Thanks very much Jake, we really appreciate your advice and I’m glad that your big risk worked out…

Thanks, believe me so am I. Cheers!

If you want to support JoeyWears they’re live on Kickstarter now.

Or you can connect on Twitter @joeywears.