Wild & Stone are on a mission to make sustainability stylish. They take commonly used plastic household items and turn them into natural alternatives. Customers are loving them.
So much so that they’ve generated over 100,000 orders. By the time of their crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, Wild & Stone had achieved over £850,000 in revenue.
Did we mention they launched in 2018?
Following a very successful campaign where the Wild & Stone team raised 200% (£270,458) of their initial £125,000 target, we sat down with the founders to learn more about their journey and experience crowdfunding.
Tell us about how Wild & Stone started?
One day my wife was at home with our kids. She was walking around the house and picked up a toothbrush and said, “This is an example of a product that is so bad as it takes over 400 years to break down and we keep chucking them out.” So we thought, why don’t we change this?
She decided to create a range of eco-lux bamboo toothbrushes and that’s how the story of Wild & Stone started. It was initially a side venture, but once we had the products in, it kind of exploded. Sales were coming in online in a very short period of time. We realised we didn’t just create an amazing product, but also created a great business.
Where has your vision for Wild & Stone taken you so far?
The vision of our company is really important to us and it’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on. Our aim is to create products that make the world a healthier planet for future generations. We are on a mission to eliminate single use items from the household through producing sustainable and stylish alternatives to commonly used items.
Tell us about your fundraising journey before Seedrs?
We had some initial director funding by the four founders and an Angel investor. One of our original Angels, Stephen Rotherwell, was really excited about the business. He helped support the business idea from the very start, giving us additional cash support to get the business launched.
Once the business was operational, we also received a government loan. This was another avenue of financial support.
When you came to Seedrs, why did you decide it was the right time to raise capital?
We could have gone back to our own network (Angels) but we felt a raise would expand our network and raise the profile of our brand. The market for Eco based business is new and we also felt a great opportunity to showcase our brand within the wider Crowd, who are excited about supporting new businesses looking to make an impact on the climate crisis.
The Seedrs brand is powerful globally and can help you get exposure to so many people, and that was really the core of what we wanted to do with this raise. If at some point we decide to do another raise, there’s already the platform and the investors so we can use the platform to re-raise as we grow and scale.
At the time of your Seedrs round, what other fundraising options did you consider, and why did you choose crowdfunding?
Wild & Stone was becoming a scale-up. We needed additional capital to help us scale. There were several options (loans, profit/cash share models), but we felt crowdfunding was the best for us. It removes pressure on repayments and allows us to put a market value on the business.
Crowdfunding really allows you to raise capital. We’ve been able to generate and create momentum that hopefully will allow us to raise again in the future. Sustainability is a very critical point in the world. We felt that consumers would be eager to be part of our mission.
What were your goals from crowdfunding?
Actually this was the hardest part to think about. How much are we worth? How much should we raise? How much should we sell? As we went through the process, these all became clearer. The target was to go for a small initial raise. Raise enough runway capital for one year, build on our investor network, and then come back for more.
How did you eventually value Wild & Stone?
It was a combination of ISQ Crowdfunding, Seedrs and our own perspective after reviewing other brands that had raised funds. The way we calculated it was; we took our average rolling sales for the 3 months leading up to the raise, and then multiplied it to calculate an annualised figure which was then multiplied by a market multiplier.
Why did you choose Seedrs? Why did you feel we were the right partner for your business?
I’ve worked in the startup world before and knew of a few Crowdfunding platforms. We had a great initial chat with Katherine Gilroy around the process with Seedrs and ISQ Crowdfunding who help businesses get ready for the raise – after reviewing all the options we felt Seedrs were the best partner for the raise
Why did you feel crowdfunding/Seedrs was suitable for your business?
As a scaleup, we are still rapidly growing and investing in what we want to be in the future. At this stage we are thus way more suitable to be raising funds through a crowd model then targeting a large investor/business or partnering with a VC/PE firm. The landscape for future investment has already changed post the raise as the PR provided awareness around our brand & vision.
How did you pitch crowdfunding to your lead investors?
We focused on an Investor Deck to express the vision, mission and showcase our three year plan. Investors were extremely supportive in what we have built and where we are taking the business. Several initial Angels reinvested again, which is always a positive sign. Our goal is to continue to grow rapidly through launching into new markets and continuing to add new exciting items to our range of products.
Talk us through what running a campaign was like?
Raising money for the first time can be challenging. You don’t really have a good idea of what you need to do. We worked with ISQ Crowdfunding and they have a framework in place that guides you through the different steps of crowdfunding which was very useful.
The ISQ framework is built to raise large amounts of money. It helped us not get ahead of ourselves and go through the steps in order raise the required funds. The process takes longer than you expect as there is a lot of prepwork to do before launching the Seedrs Raise. .
At the end we were 200% overfunded so it was worth it, but took a lot of focus from the team for a 3-4 month period.
Once you’re in the Seedrs machine, the campaign was running really fast. You getting daily investment and can easily interact with investors/potential investors. The Seedrs team were great with solid communication between the teams through weekly meetings and action plans.
What were some of the aspects of crowdfunding you weren’t aware of that turned out to be essential for a successful round?
The pitch video is such a critical part of the campaign. I think we knew it was needed, but didn’t have a full picture of all the elements required to make a slick video. There was a lot of prep work required on a very short timeline. We all felt like actors for a few days, learning lines, finding locations to shoot – so much fun but a hectic few days.
Creating an investor deck is also another time consuming process and you’ve got to do it properly if you want people to receive it well. There is a lot of data and strategy details you need to prepare to give external investors a view of your business
Once you’re in the Seedrs process, it’s very clear what you have to do in order to go live. The ISQ process is very detailed, but looking back, these steps helped us have a successful raise.
What were some of the highlights of your campaign?
Hitting our initial target on day one! That was an awesome feeling as we could feel the support from our investors and the market behind our campaign. Then hitting the 200% mark, which was our cap, was awesome. We couldn’t have asked for a better raise.
What investor feedback did you receive, and how has it helped you navigate your crowdfunding campaign and growth?
We had some investors challenging us on our strategy for the US market and how we thought we could expand into the US as it is so big and mature. In Q4 we are now generating a third of our overall Amazon revenue in North America so we were took on the point of view but pushed on with our plans, slightly adjusting our approach on market entry. We could have wasted a lot of marketing money if we didn’t rethink our strategy. .
What have the proceeds from your crowdfunding round helped you achieve so far, and what plans do you have in the pipeline for the upcoming months?
We have been able to expand our stock levels from our original 60 days of stock to over 180 days on all our lines. As an expanding business, this is huge and has helped us continue to increase our sales numbers. Today, we have already doubled our monthly sales between the raise in Q2 and Q4. We’ve also launched in the North America & Australian markets.
Aside from the funds, what have been the long term benefits of your crowdfunding campaign?
There was an influx of direct communication with the team during and post the raise – investors looking to purchase the business & services business looking to offer us additional elements. Several of these contacts have mentioned that they noticed our raise and how well we did.
We have got several large investors who have taken to being advisors in specialist areas like Sales, Finance & Logistics. This has helped us confirm/evolve our strategy with market specialists who have different views on where and how to evolve.
We also ended up winning the Sustainability Category for the GBE Awards which I think was definitely influenced by our Seedrs raise!
How do you keep your community updated/engaged?
Initial communication has taken place post the raise. Several investors benefited from perks as part of the raise and we now plan to send our quarterly investor emails to give investors a view on performance and future plans.
What’s the long term vision for your community?
The world needs us to all make those small changes to stop climate change. We plan to keep expanding our range of items and sales points to help everyone make those easy changes. We want to be seen as the global leader in Eco-Lux products for the home and we are now looking at Eco-Innovation to drive new and innovative products into the market in 2022.
Looking to raise funds through your community?
Apply to raise on Seedrs here and our team of fundraising experts will be in touch.