By Einy Paulsen & Kine Paulsen (Co-Founders, Ingri:Dahl) Looking back over the last year, my sister and I have done a lot of things that people told us would be impossible. We got celebrities to wear our glasses, we got to be a part of LA fashion week, and we got press in major publications – all without spending many marketing dollars. What was our key to achieving our goals? Doing things our way and blocking out the people that told us that we couldn’t!
My name is Kine, and in April last year I launched Ingri:Dahl with my twin sister, Einy. We had lived in the world capital of movies, Los Angeles, for a few years while studying at USC when we decided that we wanted to start this company. It all started with going to see a 3D movie. We always considered the cinema a magical place. You sit in a dark room that takes you away from reality, and you enter a new reality. But this was different.
We were mesmerized by the new phase of 3D technology. The colors and images were clearer than we have ever seen before. It was almost a perfect experience, except for one thing. We really disliked the glasses we were wearing. In that moment we decided we can do better, and Ingri:Dahl was formed.
Two years went by to do research and find the right manufacturer etc. We decided to start with a soft-launch with only one model and used all of our capital to fund the first model, “Popcorn”. However, without using any marketing dollars we quickly got attention from press worldwide. How did we do this? I have tried to sum up our lessons:
Lesson #1: Do it yourself
We still to this day have had a PR agent. From the start, we decided to find press ourselves, and we did. Our glasses have been in several of the largest fashion magazines in Europe, technology blogs online and several bloggers have written about us.
Since we had no clue on how to write press releases or pitch a story to a journalist, we decided to give our best shot and be ourselves. Instead of trying to fake a story, we told the story like it was. We also asked for advice from everyone we contacted. In the end, a lot of the people who we modestly asked for advice have helped us become parts of huge events, such as the Fashion’s Night Out and Comic Con Hollywood Reporter segments.
Lesson #2: Be Nice
I chose to make this its own bullet point and not a side note, because we believe this is the key to our media success. From the very first email, we make sure we know who we approach and address them correctly. People are busy, so we try to make our messages short, but polite.
If you have seen someone’s work and you liked it, let them know. Be sincere - don’t be fake as that will shine through. In a lot of the cases, the people who have written about us have become our friends. And a lot of them have continued to support and help us spread the word on our story.
This also goes for social media. Use Twitter to your advantage, but don’t become a marketing spammer. Even though it can be very time consuming at times, we always make our tweets personal. People are being spammed with marketing messages, so they automatically block out the info. However, we saw that if we created personal connections, people would listen and we would often generate sales and even press.
Lesson #3: Connect with others
Einy and I are constantly attending events or contacting people to connect. We don’t limit our agendas to events that are directly related to fashion and 3D entertainment, we’ll go to everything (real estate meetups to screen writer’s lectures++). And we have met so many amazing people!
Had it not been for the lovely people who believed, we would never have seen Alexis Vega wearing our glasses on a Hollywood Reporter segment or Thomas Jane wearing our glasses We have gotten tons of support, and make sure that whenever we can show people that have helped us our gratitude and if we can help them back!
Those were our lessons of 2011 - now back to 2012. We see a huge growth potential for our product. The technology that we use is becoming more common in 3D TVs, and you can use these same glasses at the movie theater. Sony has announced that they longer will pay for the free glasses at the theater, and most likely the US cinemas will be going over to a system like in Europe and South America, were people have to bring their own glasses.
We have had great feedback from customers all over the world that they love that they can finally wear stylish, comfortable glasses. And our customers who have glasses are praising our 3D clip-ons!
Unfortunately we have run of out money. We have emptied our pockets, and have no way to fund our spring collection. In need of external funding to complete the collection, we took our project to Kickstarter . We are seeking $10,000 dollars to fund the spring collection, as well as a photo shoot. In this writing moment, 119 backers have supported our project and a total amount of $2,800 dollars has been pledged.
Fund our Kickstarter project here. About the guest blogger: Einy Paulsen is Co-Founder of Ingri:Dahl, a company focused around designer 3D eyewear. She was born and raised in Norway before she moved to US for college. Einy graduated from University of Southern California with a business degree and emphasis on Finance in 2010 and with a Masters of Accounting in 2011. She has a diverse experience with a background in sales, marketing and accounting. Einy currently resides in Los Angeles and loves the variety in culture and opportunities that the sunny state has to offer. Follow her on Twitter at @ingridahl. About the guest blogger: Kine Paulsen is Co-Founder of Ingri:Dahl, a company focused around designer 3D eyewear. She was born and raised in Norway before she moved to Spain and later the US. Kine graduated from University of Southern California with a business degree and emphasis on Finance in May 2011. She has a diverse experience with a background in sales, marketing and investment management. Kine currently resides in Los Angeles and wakes up every morning happy knowing she lives in sunny California. Follow her on Twitter at @ingridahl.