We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Joseph gannascoli”, Creator of the New York – USA based start-up “BottleSkinz”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
I created a licensed bottle skin that fits over 5 gal. water jugs and propane tanks , NFL NHL NCAA Realtree and Military plus floral designs for woman who
dont want sports in their kitchen.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
It started 2 years ago currently in home depot and big bottle water carriers . Lowe’s loves them and wants them as well as other sporting good store hardware stores houseware trade shows and convenience stores.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Not sure of business model, but because I was on the the Sopranos it opens a lot of doors, plus the product is priced right, 4.95 sells for 9.95 so
people buy 2 3 4 at a time it goes over back of chair and a cover for a coin bank when they flip over the jug.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I am a huge Giants fan, showed them my idea, They sent me to NFL icensing who sent me to Fabrique Innovations a licensing company that makes plush for kids, ie; pillow pets, snuggies.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
We have a functional ( helps prevent algae ) and decorative product that no one else can do because we have the team licenses . their are many sports licesed products out there but no one thought of this… till me.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
It is catching on nation wide , it was test in 200 home depots now we are getting close to a 1000 starting in Aug.plus Dss is expanding their inventory and offering more in each state.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
We have no competitors and the advantage is me . I am reconizable due ot the fact I had a big role in the sopranos ( Vito ) so people want autographs and take pictures and I do it as long as they get my skinz which they do normally anyway.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Not many obstacles really, just a matter of showing it and proving that it would sell . their were skeptical people but now we can go back and show them how well they did and they get on board.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
How many steps it takes to get it in a huge chain and how long i work at it everyday and trade shows . over night successes take years and I am totally committed but that’s my personality .
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Because I am driven to the point of obsession . its My idea and I want to see it thru, cause people doubted me in the beginning. and I love proving them wrong especially me enemies , I dont have many but some times people dont want to see other people do well.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
I have started and crated a design for woamns yoga pants called POA, peace over america, which is also doing quite well their available on line and I have other ideas, one for restaurants .
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Because I am a huge sports fan and it gives me great pride to see my product with fellow fans of my teams. and in their team stores one day, I have
given them to owners and players already.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Again their is no over night successes . you also have to be connected that are a like you who get up early and want to do business ,Which I am fortunate to have.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Making sure the product is made on time we dont make it in china so as we get busier we have to got to different sources whereas I like to keep it all
under 1 roof.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
These are Made in USA so its helping jobs and they show their team pride and with so may different uses they have options and at 9.95 their affordable.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
I use social media and do appearances in stores take pictures do interviews on sports radio in different states, I have did them before this so I have relationships with them already.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Home depot , Culligan water, DSS water 2 nd biggest in country as well as any one who has a cooler in their home or office that tailgate before games or bbqs.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
I get them from social media, and customers who shop in home depot or get water delivered to their house they wind up telling people they met me or they are fans of the sopranos and support me in anything I do.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They love it and buy 2 – 3 at a time great gifts for Christmas and stocking stuffers and when we ship its done the same day so it gets to them really
quick, then they send me pictures of them using it.
20. How are you going to scale?
Not sure what scale means ok now I do, the company up with does 38 million a year in business they are in all the big name stores so they can handle this no problem.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
This is impossible to answer because their isnt anything but I guess you can dsay is peoiple might ask for a team or sport we are not doing because its to small.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Maybe in Europe with soccer is about the only thing I could see happening eventually . we do hockey in canada but we would like to be in canadien home depots, their customers are all hockey fans im sure.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
I think we can sell millions of bottle skinz a year and change designs to offer new one of the same team, or even retro plus seasonal ones and floral / pets skinz for woman and even kids characters or disney.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Maybe not sure yet but we currently employ about 40 people working on bottle skinz but I know we will need more one day which means we are really busy .
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
No I am not but if someone wanted to get the license in Europe we would certainly make the skinz for them we have the knowledge on how to do it so we
would be perfect partners.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
If you believe in it don’t stop, be aggressive not annoying which I sometimes can be, I want things done yesterday and not everyone is on my schedule and it drives me nuts, like not returning emails or phone calls.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I am thrilled to have an idea and actually see it in a huge store and proving that I had a good idea that worked.