Sramana Mitra: How are you acquiring customers?
Ammar Amdani: I can tell you about our brand strategy and how we differentiate ourselves from hundreds of competitors. On the outside, it seems like an overcrowded space because a lot of people are targeting the space.
We realized that there are a few things we could do to set us apart from others. One, meeting customer’s expectations in terms of delivery time and product quality. We invested three and a half weeks into just product testing and making sure that any claims they are making are being met.
Our face mask is tested and certified by a product testing company based in London called Inter-Track. It’s also tested by DuPont, which manufactures the solution on our masks. Rather than having a disposable mask or mask made with plain fabric, we offer heavy-duty masks that are certified.
Second, we invested and made sure that our supply chain is able to cope with the demand. We found a manufacturing facility that could produce exactly what we are looking for according to our timeline. That enabled us to ship out customer’s orders within the same business day or the next. Those are two key factors.
Third is our price. While other companies were price gouging and selling for $4 to $5, we wanted to make sure that our products would be affordable for everyone. I think that’s how you build a loyal customer base. We started with a $2 price point and we stuck with that since.
The fourth and last component is our strong social impact aspect. We partnered with many hospitals, clinics, COVID testing facilities, nursing homes, and all types of organizations and we donate 10% of proceeds plus a mask for every order to these organizations.
Sramana Mitra: Going back to my earlier question, how are you acquiring customers?
Ammar Amdani: Initially, we launched standard Facebook and Instagram advertisements. It took off as soon as we launched, but some restrictions were placed on PPE products, so we decided to go with a new angle. We started partnering with a lot of newsletters because those are where people read news about the coronavirus and the ongoing affairs in society. We saw that as a good way to build trust initially. If people are depending on one newsletter for their connection to society, they probably trust them.
That was what we struggled with initially because we were a new company. We launched and partnered with a few different newsletters and those did well. We did a few influencer campaigns. We partnered with micro-influencers just to get in front of people. That is where we are at right now.
Sramana Mitra: Is it a Shopify website?
Ammar Amdani: Yes, it is.
Sramana Mitra: How did you finance the inventory? How did you finance the social media advertising?
Ammar Amdani: In terms of financing the inventory, we are working with credit. We had about 60 days with what we negotiated initially. We are now at 75 days to finance inventory. That was never an issue. We have favorable terms there. In financing the advertisements, we used capital that we saved up from the past. We were keeping it for our next product launch. It was all self-funded.