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Creating a Unique Beer “Koozie” and Growing to $1.1M/month (starterstory.com)
59 points by patwalls 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

I really wonder how "durable" all these consumer product startups are. You're competing in a commodity market against companies like Procter Gamble/Johnson & Johnson whose scale is untouchable, where essentially your only value added is customer service. Once the marketing hype for your product dies off, and it's no longer a meme, how do you compete against the dozens of Chinese clones?

You can build a business on a single product, but you can't sustain one.

Consider Magpul[0]. They built their company selling a what basically amounts to a thick rubber band with an extra loop on one side[1].

Over the course of the following seven years, they landed defense contracts and made enough profit on that little doodad to design and manufacture the PMAG[2], which is their best-known product now - and I strongly suspect, their primary profit driver. They've sold absurd numbers of PMAGs over the years.

After that, they were a well-known name in their target demographic, and were able to parlay that into a line of "furniture" for ARs - stocks, hand guards, grips, etc. These days they sell everything from rifle magazines and accessories to wallets and iPhone cases. They come to mind immediately for me because I saw yesterday that they'd launched a line of safety glasses[3]... that start at ~$150.

Magpul's product line is the very definition of "durable goods", but they've managed to build a thriving business around them. The keys to that as best I can tell are: never stop building your brand, and never stop researching and releasing new products.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magpul_Industries

1: https://gunxtras.com/image/cache/data/MAGPUL-Original-Magpul...

2: https://www.magpul.com/products/pmag-30-ar-m4-gen-m3

It's not a commodity, it's fashion. Branding is important and has value to consumers. It may seem irrational to you, but they will pay a premium. See YETI.

That said, just like clothes, the products will need to evolve or expand if the company is to see long term success.

One experience, I'll still buy klean kanteen aluminum water bottles because they were a local business and the competition are all worse in some distinct way. Leaks, dents, whatever. Hydro Flask is somewhat close. I'm not sure why the cheap nock offs target the trash level of cheap instead of the actually okay level.

If the CEO is pocketing even some of that 1.1M in revenue, he'll be alright. I highly doubt he expects his company to last a lifetime.

Been and Jerry's is an example of a company with organic growth and great success in a crowded industry

Ben and Jerry's is owned by Unilever, one of the largest FMCG companies in the world

Yes. But that's not how they started: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_%26_Jerry%27s#History

They sold to Unilever in 2000, after 20 years in business.

But that’s relatively recent; they were a successful brand before being acquired.

I was wondering the same thing, but if they can get their brand name established ... might help.

Also maybe you can sell out to the big guys.

Not a comment on the article itself but on the website it's hosted on - is starterstory.com just a reskinned indiehackers.com?

Founder of Starter Story here.

Indie Hackers was/is the inspiration for the site, but we focus on interviewing e-commerce/consumer product makers rather software.

I think it's a competitive offering in the tech/startup interview(marketing)industry. Indie hackers was at least to me the first website to offer insight into how much companies were making as well as a nice narrative about how they started. It preys on many of us who would love to crank out a product and make passive income. Iirc indie hackers is owned by stripe now and only interviews people using stripe. The people who run these sites get paid by sponsors to either be interviewed or have ads on their inevitable podcast. It's a simple product if you are good at talking and convincing people to sit down and do some self marketing.

Wasnt mixergy doing this long before Indie Hackers?

Had never heard of mixergy, like I said, first website to me with this kind of content.

It's a separate site with a different owner that's more focused (from what I've seen) on traditional businesses. IndieHackers is more for the tech scene.

I was just thinking that I couldn't decide if it was retro or ... just ugly.

Not that every site has to be super fashionable or anything (I prefer minimal) but that platform bar on the left (scroll down) seems kinda ... icky.

Appreciate the feedback - been trying to make that look better and I agree it's not the prettiest. Any ideas?

Nice site. It has some good content on there. One thing that I disliked from a design standpoint, was the fact I couldn't open stories in a new tab. I suspect I'm not the only person who likes to scroll through and open interesting stories in new tabs to be read at my leisure.

Heh. I used to have the whole tile wrapped in an <a> tag, but google started doing some really weird shit with how they were indexing my titles.

So I switched it up . Now, only the image and title are wrapped in <a> tags, so you should be able to open in a new tab if you click directly on the image.

If anyone knows a good solution around this, let me know.

Since you have them with an onclick, add:

onauxclick="e.preventDefault(); window.location.href = '/stories/brumate';"

I a terrible designer so not much ;)

To me the jumble of icons is visually distracting, but it doesn't break the site or anything close to that.

Yeah, you're right, the icons do get kinda nasty (especially when there are a lot). Been thinking of moving all of this data into a "tab"/section that you can click on at the top.

So you have one section for the interview itself, one for tools, one for something else, etc.

Well I was just in a retail store that had a whole bunch of "koozies" with a big name brand that did exactly the same thing: store a beer can inside to insulate it with a opening for drinking so I'm going to call BS on the "unique" aspect of it unless it's some minor detail difference or they licensed it to the very large company selling them.

Do you have a link to said older product? The article describes a fairly involved process and it doesn't seem to look like anything I've seen in the market before.

It's not the typical plastic bottle holder that barely keeps your beer cooler.

Cabellas outdoor store had two brands of the same idea, Yeti I think was one and the other might have been Stanley branded.

Would be nice to live in a region where this would actually be a useful product :)

It's usually not warm enough here, decent beer is sold in glass bottles, and in general I don't know what a single cold beer would get me over bringing a whole cooler full of beers.

Seriously, I wonder where one uses those. Where do you bring a single beer of your own instead of buying one, and where do you drink it so so slowly that it would warm up fast enough to justify 25$?

Beach in NY.

On a somewhat unrelated note, isn't the general term for these items "cozy" like a tea cozy, rather than Koozie, which was a brand? Is there an alternate history?

Thank you! Looking into.

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