Yuki Kinoshita and Noah Silberman were classmates at the University of British Columbia’s School of Economics in Vancouver, and during their freshman year, they discovered their passion for both entrepreneurship and napping.
“Noah and I are big naps,” says Kinoshita. “In college, somewhere he found a 25-minute nap a day.”
But there was one problem. Finding a cozy place to nap was difficult. Dorm mattresses are notoriously uncomfortable.
Wanting a dog bed after seeing a large dog curled up in a local coffee shop, they decided it didn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel. With the help of a local seamstress using foam from our foam shop, we set about creating a human-sized prototype of The Plufl, which we dubbed “the world’s first dog bed for people.” A product designer who worked at a cat bed company. By working with professionals, we were able to ensure that our products were comfortable for customers of all sizes.
They will complete the prototype in September 2021. Launching a pre-order campaign on crowdfunding site Kickstarter in April 2022, he raised $290,657 from 799 backers. That’s more than ten times his goal of $25,000. “Everyone said they wanted the product,” said Mr. Kinoshita.
To find manufacturers, they researched weighted blanket manufacturers in North America and curated a list of factories capable of producing the highest quality products. Now operating out of the basement of Silberman’s parents’ home in Seattle, his two founders flew to Kentucky to salvage batches of his Plufls from warehouses and travel north to Canada to early supporters personally. I was planning to deliver the order on time. a few weeks ago.
They featured a series of viral TikTok videos (here’s a sample), paid Facebook and Google search ads worth $20,000-$30,000, and shark tank In October 2022, business took off quickly. According to Kinoshita, entrepreneurs blacked out around his Fridays when he made $1 million in revenue.
Pricing new products on the market, such as human-sized dog beds, is more art than science. The co-founder took the price of a large bean bag chair and dog bed as a guide and set it at $499. “We’ve found that a large dog bed costs him $200 to $300. A large bag costs $500 to $1,000,” says Kinoshita.
The bed is 68 inches long and 38 inches wide, but is made of orthopedic foam and weighs less than 20 pounds. Despite their relatively low weight, shipping is a significant cost in today’s business environment.
“The first crowdfunding failed,” says Kinoshita. “Choosing a box that was a few inches too big resulted in an extra $10 per box shipping fee. We subsidized that cost. Lessons learned.”
So far, many of The Plufl’s customers have been millennials and pet owners, Kinoshita said. Some parents are looking for novelty gifts for their children. But a new audience is emerging, including people with sensory impairments who like soft fur.
Some people have pets. When Kinoshita and I spoke, he was staying at a hotel in Beverly Hills. So he was in town to deliver dog beds to social his media influencers in the “dog influencer” community who are interested in dog beds. “People in his community who are dog influencers are very passionate about their pets,” he says.
But it’s still too early to tell who the main customers will be. “We are selling at breakneck speed now,” says Kinoshita. “A lot of people haven’t tried the product yet.”