Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap

IIP046: Creating Your First eCommerce Business And Funding It With Kickstarter

Inspiring Innovation Podcast
Inspiring Innovation Podcast episode 46  Get it on iTunes

“If I’m gonna have a hobby, why not do something that I have potential to do it professionally.”

In today’s show, we have a living . . . breathing image of Inspiring Innovation. He’s a full-time software engineer who followed his instincts and created simple a solution to an everyday problem. Now, backed by Kickstarter, Frank Cho has created his eCommerce business — going within weeks from idea to over $22,000 already pledged to his Kickstarter campaign!

The Inspiration

The idea came to him while listening to a podcast on his way to work. When it was time to get out of the car and pause the episode, he was left with the dilemma of where to put his earbuds.

Refusing to put them in his pocket where they would get all tangled up, unwilling to let it hang and risking it snagging onto something — Frank realized there’s just no good place to put your earbuds on-the-go. Why can’t you just have them hang without disturbing, tangling, or snatching onto things??

That’s when the concept of Zipi came to his mind.

Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap Image 1
Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap (Image 1)

Taking Action

Frank didn’t indulge too much on how great his idea seemed to him. He asked his friends to validate some interest, and then set to create a prototype. He researched online and found the pieces he wanted, then super-glued it himself on the kitchen table.

Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap Image 2
Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap Image 2

He showed it to more people, and the feedback was very positive. Frank knew that starting an eCommerce business takes a big initial investment, so he decided to put his idea on Kickstarter. “If it works, then great,” he thought.

Kickstarting and Taking Off

If there was one true overnight success, it’s Frank’s Kickstarter campaign. The media monster TechCrunch picked up on his campaign and featured it while he was sleeping. By the time he woke up — his phone was going off the hook. He also already surpassed his fundraising goal of $6,000 — the cost of creating the initial injection mold, and has already raised over $22,000 to-date.

Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap Image 3
Zipi Magnetic Earbud Strap Image 3

Tune in to this week’s episode for the full story of Frank, the full-time engineer that created his first eCommerce business with no money down and no manufacturing experience.

Could you be next? 🙂

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[spoiler title=”Episode 046″]Still in progress, please come back later![/spoiler]

4 thoughts on “IIP046: Creating Your First eCommerce Business And Funding It With Kickstarter”

  1. Very good interview with a guy who is inspiring precisely because he is a regular guy who just took that extra step with the help of emerging tech.
    Plus, I discovered your podcast, to which Cho linked from his Kickstarter update (I was an early investor) and I will now listen regularly.

    1. Hi, Scott! 🙂
      Thank you so much for chiming in. I’m so happy you enjoyed the show! I love Frank’s story for the very reasons you mentioned – he is the normal guy, who took the action upon the opportunity he saw – and it worked. And the only difference between him and so many others that wish they could do the same, is that action taking! Such a great story.

      I’d love to hear more about your story, if you feel like sharing… Where are you from? What are you up to? What excites you these days?

      Be amazing,

      1. Meron,
        I’m a small-town newspaper publisher at the site of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, USA. I’m also very involved in the community and in economic development locally (it’s not easy) and am now planning an article that will inform locals on the opportunities that exist with exactly the kind of tech that Frank Cho has taken advantage of, and where that’s headed in the future. I know very smart people who haven’t even heard of 3D printing yet. We need to wake up. When I publish it, the online version will link to your podcast.

  2. Meron, another great show! I love hearing about success stories, or successes in progress, from people who are “average Joes”. Frank’s story was a real-life story, and something that I can easily understand.

    Thanks! You keep on bringing excellence!

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