“The winner of the “Next Big Thing” competition on NBC’s Today Show went from selling about 2,000 units in eight months’ time to selling 5,000 in eight minutes on national TV”
Statements like these defined the American Dream for a lot of mom-and-pop businesses around the country. For a long time in the last century, America tuned into only a handful of networks. Shopping networks like QVC and HSN reached millions of households. It was a dream for a home product company to be covered by such networks. It is not surprising, given the fact that Lori Greiner sold 2 million units of Scrub Daddy in a single day, on July 30, 2014.
Now, you can consider TV pretty unique, in its “inertia to succumb to disruption from the Internet,” but the television is already changing. It is true that a TV advertisement builds fame for the brand and keeps it alive in the viewer’s mind much longer than let’s say, a sponsored post on Facebook or a search result on Google. But with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu around, people are skipping advertisements in a heartbeat. People are going online to find content, abandoning the linear broadcast structure of the television.
The new century has brought with it a new infrastructure – Facebook, Amazon, Google – for small businesses to connect with their customers and grow fast. Unlike traditional retail, a Direct-to-consumer business model allows you to experiment with a variety of distribution models – direct shipments to consumers, or partnerships with large physical retailers or opening your own pop-up shop. The traditional retail store is not the only avenue for exposure, anymore.
Ruggable’s founder, Jeneva seems to understand this and is honing on this strategy.
In a recent podcast with SchoolforStartups Radio, Jeneva talked about the marketing approach that Ruggable has adopted over the years.
In 2016 after product launch, the startup was regularly featured by multiple publications – Marie Claire TV, Newsweek, FABLife and HGTV among others. This helped bring in the initial sales. In 2017, Jeneva mentions pivoting to Facebook ads. She considers Facebook as a game changer, helping her to target specific customers segments and discover new buyer personas.
Jeneva started Ruggable in 2010 to make a washable and more livable carpet rug. After a couple of years of experimentation, the startup patented a 2 Piece Rug System based on cling effect technology.
The bottom layer of the rug is a pad that grips on the floor and acts as an anchor for the cover. The cover is replaceable and available in assorted colors and patterns. The patented technology keeps it securely attached to the non-slip pad until you’re ready to remove it, wash it or change it out for a different style.
It works so well you can even vacuum the rugs when the cover is attached. Ruggable’s top layer is made of polyester and doesn’t absorb liquids. This is why stains and odors wash out so easily. You can wash the top cover in the washing machine that you use at home.
Ruggable uses sustainable materials to make all of its rugs in the United States. Traditionally, manufacturers have combined a wide array of chemicals to produce a carpet. It’s not easy to separate the various chemicals for recycling. Ruggable’s covers, on the other hand, are made up of 95% recycled polyester. Since they use only one synthetic material, it is easier to recycle. It allows you to change the rug as often as you like, without any guilt of contributing to the landfill.
Jeneva and her passion towards Ruggable are contagious. She has built an innovative brand with a versatile, omnichannel and digital approach to the traditional rugs business. Can her passion and the multi-channel marketing strategy she is deploying make Ruggable a Household name?