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Launching a startup during a pandemic

by | April 12, 2020 | 0 comments

Here we find ourselves, in the middle of the worst health crisis that we have ever known in modern times, and I am launching a new company and product that we need access to our customers home to build – why!

All we need is a little Snugg’spiration

One year on from the concept of Snuggeries, and here we are. I had been looking to purchase a garden room for my own use and grew frustrated at the mix of compromised quality and poor customer experience. There were products with a myriad of extras that the price exploded after the ‘from price hook’ and another market calling themselves ‘premium’ to justify huge margins.

Having gone away frustrated I began to cost up the build, initially comparing my build to the middle of the market competitors and quickly realising there was a business opportunity. This is where the discussions with Alex Hughes started, and which market to target. We looked at the “from” price crowd, now these are still not cheap and often costing well over £20,000. However, we wanted to build something that our customers would be proud of and more than anything wanted complete transparency that would deliver a great customer journey our customers would shout about.

Just as we are to launch our #SnuggsOnTour road trip we are put on lockdown!

6 months after our initial discussions, we formed Snuggeries, have spent many hours, road trips, and late nights researching the market. We’ve created a specification list that as yet, we are still to see a competitor with a more premium or comprehensive offering within our price bracket. Every component has been chosen to either provide a technically superior garden room, from the foundations, the structure, the insulation and the heating or a visually stunning space from the huge range of flooring, decking, cladding and premium paint to truly personalise your Snugg.

We dismissed modular or “in 1m increments” and “3 choices of finish” offerings, which are easier to build but are done for the benefit of the supplier not the customer. We took the bespoke option, we don’t like compromise and we would not ask our customers too either. You want small, big, triangular, round, or even a basement we can build it for you, have your heart set on a particular exterior finish then bring us the challenge. We want your Snugg to exceed your expectations.

Having made all these decisions, we have since worked with an amazing community of local freelancers, nearly all from the Shifties networking community based in St Neots. From this community we have gained access to a wealth of talent including: Brand Designer, Videographer, Photographer, Makeup Artist, Family of Actors, Interior Designer, Marketing Strategist, Business Development Manager, Digital Ads Specialist, Web Designer, Personal Clothing Manufacturer, Printer, Copywriter, PR Consultant, Yoga Instructor, Kids Development Toys, Premium Furniture maker, Accountant and a host of honest constructive voices to provide useful feedback. The power of the freelance network is strong!

We won’t ask our customers to compromise their dreams. We want to deliver a Snugg they are proud of

As we’ve got closer to launch, from the storyboarding of the video, brochure, brand image, designing a transportable Snugg for #SnuggsOnTour, we went into lockdown. Our strategy was full on face-to-face, visit companies, events and shows, and show our wonderful product. We had two choices, put everything on hold, complain about bad luck, or get creative and take it all online.

In the last few weeks we have been working all hours to get ready to launch, to be able to carry out virtual consultations. We’ve built our brand on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram & Pinterest and our website. We have built a process that will enable us to interact with customers remotely, offer them some Snugg’spiration, quote and even accept orders. Already during lockdown we’ve signed off on a £38,500 bespoke Snugg and have a healthy list of others in the consultation stage.

We’ve switched tactics, been able to pivot our strategy, and we believe we will come out of this pandemic stronger. We will have a better understanding of how our team works, and how our customers want to work with us. This experience will also help us take Snuggeries nationally, and internationally too, we have already had genuine inquiries from Basel and are ready to meet the challenge. If we can engage and win a customer 15 miles away without ever meeting them, then why not 500 miles, and beyond that 1000 miles away. This has been the perfect time to be challenged, fail fast, learn and improve in incredibly quick iterations, without repercussions within the team.

With today’s technology there has never been a better opportunity to get ahead of your competition, get creative, get active, get online and grow your brand.

If you are reading this – firstly thank you – and secondly you are probably working from home right now, quite possibly on a kitchen table or makeshift office. Come and speak with us at Snuggeries, and let us inspire you to ask, “What would your Snugg look like?”

Enjoy the video below, sit back and appreciate the relaxing voice of MariaElena, owner of Wilderness Yoga By The Lakes, and the yoga instructor in the video, and take away a little Snugg’spiration

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