By Rachel Taylor (Founder, Convometrics)
As a social worker, Liz Salcedo was constantly on the go and using her phone for talking, texting and navigation. Phone batteries don’t last forever, and Liz was left in a sticky situation sans cell phone one too many times. Liz took matters into her own hands in August of 2011, and with the help of her tech-savvy husband Dan, produced the first Everpurse prototype. Over the next few months, Liz made numerous modifications to the original prototype based on repeated testing and research.
The first few prototypes provided a solid foundation, but Liz needed to learn more her future clients, so she hosted her first focus group in May of 2012. The group was a huge success, teaching Liz a lot about what women wanted to see in an Everpurse. Based on the research, Liz continued to iterate with magnets and polarity to strengthen the inductive charging and better align the Everpurse with the charging mat.
In June, Liz quit her job to work on Everpurse full-time.
Liz and Dan moved back to Chicago after a year in Silicon Valley and found a home at 1871, a co-working center for digital startups. July was an especially busy (and important) month in which Liz found the first Everpurse partners, Laudi Vidni and 1154 Lill. Both local, women-owned businesses were excited about the possibility of merging fashion and technology.
That same month, New York-based angel investor Joanne Wilson was kind enough to spend time talking with Liz about the idea of Everpurse, providing invaluable advice, insights and encouragement. Joanne was the first of many women to reach out and offer advice and support, and Liz could not be more thankful for the community of women who began to rally around her, especially Rachel Sklar and “the list”.
Armed with an amazing team and an amazing support group, Liz started planning her Kickstarter campaign. She chose Kickstarter because she felt it would be the best way to test the market while raising funds to bring Everpurse to production.
At 9 o’clock at night on September 9, 2012, Everpurse’s Kickstarter campaign went live! The team chose to launch the campaign at night in order to give early supporters first access to the campaign and to early bird prices. It was Everpurse’s way of saying thank you for all of the continued support and encouragement. The Kickstarter campaign ran for 35 days and closed on October 13, 2012 having raised $238,000 ($138,000 over the original goal).
The excitement did not die down as the team moved into November! Everpurse launched its e-commerce site to the public for pre-orders for their Spring 2013 collection. In addition to the launch, the manufacturing process began, Melissa Pierce joined the team full time, and the 1,000th Everpurse was ordered!
In November, Liz also flew to NYC to speak on the Makers Panel at Women 2.0 NYC Conference. Women 2.0 provided Liz with a platform to share her experiences and give back what she has learned along the way. At the conference she met, learned from, and shared the stage with many other inspirational female entrepreneurs.
The future looks extraordinarily bright for this social worker turned fashion and tech entrepreneur, and I look forward to watching both Liz and Everpurse continue to grow.
Photo credits: Everpurse’s Faebook page.
Women 2.0 readers: How did you build your company from idea to prototype? Let us know in the comments.
About the guest blogger: Rachel Taylor is the Founder of Convometrics, a Chicago-based social media marketing agency focused on authentic engagement and actionable analytics. She is a digital native with deep experience building brands and marketing companies via social media. Rachel is a MIZZOU grad who (aside from all things social media) enjoys blogging, wine, photography and tennis. Follow her on Twitter at @RachelTaylorChi.