The Funky Iron Company
We are setting out to disrupt the electric steam iron market by creating a brand with style, attitude, and individuality through product design, innovation, functionality, and customer experience.
We intend to sell direct to consumers via our own website, through established retailers, and additionally develop new retail and online routes to market.
Our brand essence is about being different, innovative, and unconventional. We believe the world is a more beautiful place when it's smarter.
The Funky Iron. Designed for performance. Styled for life.
The insight and inspiration for the brand came in one of those eureka moments – we asked ourselves, with so much good design available in the household goods category why all irons look and feel the same – why there isn't something more stylish on the market, when nowadays ‘design’ in all aspects of the home and other consumables plays such a large part.
We researched the market and discovered the category was highly fragmented – there is a good number of known brands (Tefal, Philips, Rowenta, Russell Hobbs, Breville, Braun, Bosch, Morphy Richards), that there was high product penetration and a sensible product replacement cycle (typically every 3 years).
It struck us that with a product with superior or comparative functionality and distinctive design, aligned to a strong brand personality and product offer, we could capture people’s attention and build market share.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Without compromising on quality we have moved at pace. Since the successful conclusion of the Round 1 Funding on Seedrs in January to March 2017, we have achieved the following:
All product design has been finished and a leading factory in China is ready to build the first commercial Funky Iron once they receive the 23 moulds from the Mould Factory (which we expect to be in September 2017). Packaging has been sampled and a User Guide is ready too. A 3D Model of the Funky Iron is also available to present.
Our new website has been built by one of the UK's leading Shopify agencies, Belle Digital. Prospective investors can request access to this site via password from Founder and CEO Joe Sillett: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have spent almost £17,000 on Intellectual Property comprising of International Design Registrations and Trade Marks.
A leading high street television channel approached us about selling our Funky Irons. We plan to meet with them once the final product is ready. We plan to accelerate this process once the final product is ready to present. We are very confident of recruiting leading partners to distribute our product, but recognise that retailers can't (and won't) make a decision on ranging our products until they are able to assess our final commercial product.
We intend to have two distinct revenue streams initially:
1. Direct to consumer via our own website, which is already built.
2. Through retailers, generating ‘wholesale’ margin.
We expect that the likely breakdown of revenue in Year 1 will be 70% B2C and 30% B2B. Whilst we expect that the wholesale relationships on a B2B level will not produce the same level of gross profit as the B2C business, having the new Funky Irons merchandised in store and sold across the United Kingdom will be an important part of the marketing and building of the brand's profile, particularly in the first year of trading. We hope to narrow the % split between B2C and B2B each year and by year 5, we expect it will be 50:50.
There is no provision in the business plan for any international business in the first year, but this changes in Year 2. The company will look to do business with leading electrical retailers in the UK and is confident that interest will quickly arrive from European countries, the USA, the Middle East and other territories.
Use of proceeds
An opening stock order of 3,000 units, 1,000 units in 3 colours.
Capital costs for the business through to June 2018.
Marketing, PR and Advertising budget to launch and promote the business.
We are appealing to a broad spread of consumers in demographic terms – age, gender, UK geographic location, but our core target attitudinally will be people who appreciate and are interested in well-designed products for their home or themselves (i.e. fashion, bags, jewellery etc).
The introduction of well-designed household goods over the past few years and a heightened awareness of home design via TV programming, editorial features etc has created an interest in, and awareness of well-made, well-designed, functional, good looking products. This we know is a volume opportunity, not niche, and one that crosses borders, so we envisage building an international presence as far as our product development (i.e. appropriate voltage) allows. Our product colour palette is also designed to appeal to a sense of individuality.
We could probably describe our intended target as those that say, the car brand Mini appeals to – a sense of adventure, fun, personalisation, cross-age appeal.
Their media consumption will be broad but they will be relatively tech savvy and probably active across one or a number of the main social media channels.
Characteristics of target market
The UK market is worth £200.55 million, where 5.2 million irons are sold to 27.1 million households (source: Euromonitor International 2017).
This gives an average price of just under £40. At this price level, customers can expect a mid-range iron with mid-functionality.
The Funky Iron will initially target a mid to premium positioning in the marketplace, as we plan to include all the functionality of irons retailing for £75 to £80, but will be priced £69.99, subject to final production details.
We believe our core target would naturally seem to be the group spending between £50 and £99, but we believe there will also be ‘trading up’ from the sector below (those spending up to £49), and possibly ‘trading down’ from the sector above (those spending £100 or more), in which we have observed irons are typically with a separate steam station. The UK market itself is highly fragmented – which we see as an ideal ‘predatory’ opportunity – taking a small piece off a number of leading brands by offering a distinctive and different product.
Distribution is spread across traditional bricks and mortar retailers and pure play online retailers.
Our initial launch will focus on the UK market but we will be able to ship abroad from the outset and begin to build a presence in the wider European / Worldwide opportunity where we would emphasise more of the ‘British’ style and design about the brand.
The Europe market is worth £1.347 billion (Euromonitor International 2016).
The Worldwide market is worth £3.125 billion (Euromonitor International 2016).
In total, 132.3 million irons are sold worldwide every year.
In the initial stages – and to keep expenditure low - we plan to rely heavily on SHARED / EARNED ‘free’ media opportunities – principally social media and PR. We are convinced (with the advice / help of professionals in our wider team of advisors and supporters) that we can develop interesting, relevant brand content that would communicate the personality, brand essence, and proposition in a way that will create traction, build awareness and, ultimately, sales. This would cover competitions, user generated videos, potential product placement / gifting to personalities, testimonials, brand partnerships / collaborations, guerrilla marketing, pop-up opportunities etc.
From the outset, the main call to action would be a visit to the Funky Iron brand website, where in time a list of partner retailers would be given. Driving traffic to the brand website would allow us to tell more of our story, present the full range and present any other content available.
A leading online digital agency and a PR company will support our launch and ongoing presence. We see both as having a vital part to play in raising the early profile of the brand.
If we are successful in developing a partnership with a large high street retailer we would create appropriate collateral / POS material – and possibly look to support key stores at launch with effective, close-to-store ‘out of home’ poster sites.
If our relationship was with a pure online retailer we would supply a number of digital assets (banners, images) for use on their site.
The competitive landscape is exactly that, competitive. Being able to stand out from the crowd is vital. In the case of The Funky Iron Company, we believe the product itself is stand out in looks and will score very highly on function. When you think of electric steam iron brands, you don't immediately think of fun and personality.
This is exactly what we want to achieve with The Funky Iron Company.
We want to engage with the potential customer base and once people are converted to customers, we want them to be proud of their association and interaction with the business.
The Funky Iron will meet consumer needs in two ways: firstly, a ‘parity’ product in terms of functionality and features of the leading brands – and in some cases ‘superior’ functionality and features. Secondly – the design, style cues, and colour choices that would appeal to consumers in our broad target market – i.e. those appreciating, looking for beautifully made and designed products for their home. We are not setting out to change consumer behaviour, more to change people’s attitudes about the iron they use. If their iron stays out of the cupboard more as a result, that’s a bonus but that’s not the behaviour we will try to influence at launch. Simply, we are offering choice, difference and value for money. The added value is functionality meeting quality design and style, with a strong visual (and brand personality) point of difference.
We are independent, owner-managed, and passionate about our product and how we deliver customer satisfaction. We know that attitude and approach will resonate with consumers if the product delivers – which we are confident it will. So against a backdrop of established, ‘corporate’ brands – some of which we know have affinity with our target, we aim to steal a little market share off each – and the cumulative effect will be a sustainable business that allows us to establish the brand and potentially grow into other household goods categories over time.
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