It's been a good year for TROBO.
We've been lucky enough to get covered by 50 media outlets, including some major ones like:
And we even made Popular Science's Best of Toy Fair 2015! We've won awards, traveled to a variety of cities, attended conventions, and done a ton of presentations on TROBO, being a startup, being a successful KICKSTARTER, and we've been blessed with our first customers loving our dolls so much they've sent us photos and videos.
We also used our National Science Foundation grant to employ 5 FIEA graduates, build a very high quality app and interview 100+ educators TROBO's potential in schools. That research significantly improved our product.
We expanded our product line to have a coloring book, and we added a birth certificate much in the style of Cabbage Patch Kids, which is already getting requests and photos from parents. We've had our early adopters asking us to put time into our backstory for TROBOs and share that in our app, because it builds bonds between their children and TROBO, and we've received a ton of requests for more stories.
It's been a tough and rewarding journey getting our TROBOs to market and our app built; both of which provided surprises, challenges, and celebrations. We've learned so much about a variety of aspects in being a small company that connects plush toys, retail, and app development together. Being in the emerging "connected toy" space as a part of the growing "Internet of Things" movement has also been powerful, as we are seeing retailers deal with emerging product categories and customers coming to recognize there is value in giving their devices connection to the internet. We could go on and on, but let's just say 2015 has been jammed packed with learning.
So what's next for TROBO?
Once we delivered our KICKSTARTER units early (from mid October to November), we began focusing our attention on our direct sales and retail sales. In mid-November we setup our Amazon shop. (Give us a review to help other customers make a good buy decision.) We setup tons of ad campaigns for Black Friday. That was brand new for us. We strengthened our presence on Pinterest, and furthered our learning how to place ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and via the normal banner mechanisms. We also focused on SEO placement, and Google Adwords. It’s interesting to learn how these different systems work, and it’s quite a monolithic effort to create all the artwork at different sizes for each platform. There are also tons of marketing metrics you can get, but it presents a learning curve in itself. Needless to say, we're still learning and that will be a big part of our 2016 efforts.
We’ll be reaching back out to our media contacts to share our story with them, like Chris’s hometown paper The Anniston Star and The Orlando Sentinel. We’ll be pushing hard for holiday sales; as many know, the holidays are when toys sell the most. We’ll be determining which stories are next for the library, and we’ll be exploring other potential product ideas for TROBO. That’s something we do year around, but it is important to keep pushing ahead.
Most importantly, we’ll be talking with our customers, getting your feedback, and improving our product. We want to hear from you after the holidays too, as we know many of you have TROBOs under your Christmas trees. If you have been considering telling a friend about TROBO, there is no time better than now to do it. If you have been considering getting a second one, go for it. If we have our way about it, we’ll sell out before the end of the year.
Thanks again for an amazing 2015 so far!
Jeremy & Chris