We had a very insightful and in-depth interview with Mr. ‘Jeff Clapper‘; Partner at the US (Arkansas)-based start-up “Selling to the Masses”.
“Selling to the Masses” is a Consumer Product Accelerator that Helps You Get your New Product into Mass Market Retail.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Clapper’ regarding his company “Selling to the Masses”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Selling to the Masses” is all about?
Most new products fail. Between the moment when you get a great idea and the moment when you breathe a sigh of relief that your product is successfully launched and selling, there are so many individual points of failure that it’s a wonder any products make it to market.
Selling to the Masses is the brainchild of a group of experts in mass retail. We know how to get consumer goods from concept to successful roll-out because we’ve done it — but more than that, we understand mass retailers. We know all the steps along the way, from design to fulfillment to marketing and promotion. We know where the pitfalls lie and how you can leap across them.
Selling to the Masses consists of three elements: webinars and weekend trainings that help entrepreneurs figure out where they want to go with their new consumer product ideas; mentors from Fortune 500 companies and major universities who work directly with entrepreneurs; and a product incubation lab where we bring our network together to support the most promising products.
2. When has “Selling to the Masses” been founded? And what stage is “Selling to the Masses” currently at?
Founded in 2011, Selling to the Masses is still in its early stages. We have our mentors on board, our research is has been done and our training materials are completed, and we’ve held one weekend workshop as well as several webinars.
We’ve been able to identify the people who can benefit most from our trainings and mentoring, and to fine-tune our message. We’ve identified the strategic partners our clients need in order to get from idea to shelf, and we’re building our list of investors.
Obviously a project of this size takes a lot of work and preparation. Fortunately, we have the background and connections in place.
We’re currently working on getting the word out to the inventors and entrepreneurs we want to serve.
3. What is “Selling to the Masses”‘s business model and how does it work?
We provide low cost and free webinars to identify innovators with ideas that have a good chance of success. We encourage those individuals to proceed to the weekend trainings.
While the weekend trainings are profitable for us, we see them primarily as an opportunity to nurture ideas and entrepreneurs who will benefit from our incubation lab.
We benefit as trainers and as investors when the companies we mentor attain their goals.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Selling to the Masses is a project of 101 Ventures, a team of former Walmart executives and entrepreneurs working in the consumer product space.
We were discussing the work of Harvard’s Dr. Clayton Christenson, who estimates that of the roughly 30,000 new products that launch each year, 95% are doomed to fail.
We could see that some of the failures were the result of poor design, a lack of follow through, or a weak idea. But we could also see that some product failures were the result of a lack of knowledge.
Working with mass retailers like Walmart requires a lot of specialized knowledge — it’s not just common sense. An entrepreneur will have to work with and within a huge system. For many, it’s like having grown up on land and having to learn to work underwater. Without knowing how the system works and how to thrive within in, an entrepreneur can end up failing horribly right at the threshold of success.
An older company of ours, 8th & Walton, is the #1 training company for Walmart suppliers. We realized that the people who weren’t yet ready for mass retail, but needed to get there, needed to be served just as we served those suppliers.
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?
There are other business incubators, but they don’t focus on consumer products to be distributed through mass market retail.
Companies that support inventors and innovators who want to create new consumer goods tend to see them through getting their products to market.
Getting on the shelf at mass retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, or Target is the eventual goal for these companies, but going about that goal wrong can mean failure beyond just failing to meet that goal. The investment required just to get an appointment with a buyer can put a small company out of business if they don’t make it — and an unprepared company that makes it into Walmart can be destroyed by a failure there.
We grew up in the Walmart vendor community, a very specialized neighborhood. We know exactly what it takes to make sure that an entrepreneur is ready for mass market retail. We have the top-notch trainers who can convey that information well and experienced mentors who can support entrepreneurs through the process.