5000 Smart Jewelry Units Sold, $5.1M Raised with WiseWear CEO Jerry Wilmink

jerry-wilmink

In Episode #451, Nathan talks to Jerry Wilmink, a recovering bio-engineer turned entrepreneur and CEO. Listen to hear how Jerry decided to start www.Wisewear.com, a fusion of fashion and technology that keeps people safe.

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Startup CEO
  • What CEO do you follow? – N/A
  • Favorite online tool? — Strategyzer
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20-year-old self know one thing, what would it be? – “Go for it. Don’t be scared”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:13 – Nathan introduces Jerry to the show
  • 01:33 – Jerry was connected with Nathan through Twitter
  • 01:51 – Jerry is a startup junkie
  • 02:16 – What is Wisewear and how it generates revenue
    • 02:29 – Wisewear is a propriety smart jewelry product that allows women to stay safe
      • 03:00 – Develop a jewelry product that transmits Bluetooth through metal
      • 03:15 – Iris Apfel is the designer of Wisewear
      • 03:35 – Each piece is priced at $ 295 – $ 345 depending on the collection
      • 03:59 – Currently sold online but will be available at Saks
  • 04:05 – Wisewear was founded in 2013
  • 04:15 – They just started selling this year
  • 04:20 – Current sales close to $ 4 million this year
    • 05:04 – Started shipping late March
  • 05:55 – There’s more risk in international market with P.O.s
  • 06:00 – Wisewear demands 30% upfront payment for bulk P.O.s
  • 06:22 – Average number of devices sold
  • 07:40 – They are initially bootstrapped but raised a little over $ 5 million from friends and family
    • 08:03 – Note from friends and families and they’re doing equity now
    • 08:15 – Raising $ 10 million from equity
  • 08:40 – Fashion brand is not a traditional tech-play
    • 09:05 – Retailers that can potentially pull down the brand
  • 09:49 – Expenses per piece of jewelry is quite high
  • 10:55 – Retailers are selling the jewelry at the same price
    • 11:05 – Distributor price
  • 11:25 – 8 people in the team from San Antonio and New York City
  • 11:45 – They can track online orders easily
  • 12:08 – Goal for 2016 revenue
  • 12:34 – They have multiple products
  • 12:48 – The initial product was a medical device
    • 12:56 – Jerry’s grandfather was suffering from a type of dementia
    • 13:13 – When Jerry’s grandfather passed away, that’s when he started Wisewear
      • 13:15 – Developed a hearing aid device
  • 13:50 – 65% of their sales is from college women
    • 14:35 – Biggest market is 20 – 35-year old women
    • 14:49 – There’s a lot of burglary and sexual violence on college campuses
    • 14:58 – There’s a panic button on the jewelry
  • 15:14 – There’s a big market on realtors too
    • 15:25 – Most realtors show homes and there’s a safety concern
  • 15:51 – Connect with Wisewear through Instagram and Facebook. Jerry is more active on Twitter
  • 17:15 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. You can take inspiration from the people around you.
  2. Fashion retail is not a traditional tech-play.
  3. Choose your business partners wisely.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • @Wisewear – Jerry’s business Instagram account
  • Facebook – Jerry’s business Facebook account
  • @GeraldJWilmink – Jerry’s twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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