Santa Fe Springs, CA
Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Mobile Device Cleaner
CEO Scott Bushaw found a niche in the mobile accessory market and is successfully using online video to bring it to the masses
Realizing the current method of cleaning mobile devices was messy and wasteful, Scott Bushaw had an inspiration to create a cleaning device that was simple, compact, and easy to use. "My brother Jeff and I used to use single wipes to clean our phones. It just felt really wasteful," says Bushaw. "We wanted a more efficient process, so we conducted market research and came up with the Häns Swipe."
Häns Swipe is a compact two-sided cleaning device with one side featuring an antimicrobial cleaning swipe that’s refillable with the company’s proprietary cleaning solution. The other side has a removable antibacterial polishing cloth that can be washed and reused. "The design came after a soft launch in 2014," says Bushaw. "That version had a lot of inefficiencies and didn’t start-off ergonomically. After some trial and error, our manufacturing process got more efficient, which led to the product we have now."
Their proprietary cleaning solution comes from a local supplier that makes it specifically for use in the Häns Swipe cleaner, while the polishing side is a microfiber cloth that’s made to order. According to Bushaw, some of the other pieces come from the east coast, but everything is designed and assembled in Southern California.
Launching an entirely new concept was difficult, but Bushaw had some manufacturing knowledge from hanging around his grandfather’s manufacturing company at a young age. Combined with business studies at Fullerton College in Southern California, and experience in the film industry, he and his brother were able to make a go of it. "The process of launching Häns Swipe was a bootstrapped process," says Bushaw. "It forced a slow approach. We took out small loans and eventually grew to the point where we could meet the quantities from small mom and pop retailers."
As the company increases its manufacturing efficiencies, they are able to see how quickly they can take on more retailers and distributors. In the meantime, Bushaw is using his experience in filmmaking to create funny and instructive online videos as their marketing platform. "The comedy is definitely geared for the millennial generation," says Bushaw. "Creating videos is something we enjoy doing, and our movie background allowed us to go crazy with it. We also like to do more informational videos, however, that show how the product works. Visually showing what it is you’re talking about has made a big impact on how people understand the product, and it’s been very successful."
Considering that a majority of millennials spend lots of time on mobile devices, the concept of finding them through online videos has been a great way for the Häns Swipe device to become more visible in the market. With informative how-to's and funny videos like "Friends Don't Let Friends Lick Their Phones" Häns Swipe has become more visible in reaching beyond the mobile accessory market. To date, the company has received lots of media attention, including a recent mention on the radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
Needs: The company wants to get to the point where they can handle the volume of retail distributors. While they’re currently selling online and in some smaller retail outlets, Bushaw says they are slowly infiltrating the mobile accessory market with this product so that they simply have enough of it to fill the current orders.
Opportunities: "There’s a lot of opportunity with online sales," says Bushaw. "We’re focusing on that, along with independent retailers. We use their re-order rates to figure out how much more we can grow. We’re working on improving the efficiencies in the manufacturing process so we can get to the point where we can meet the demand of retail distributors."
Challenges: "Our biggest challenge is to get a better handle on our volume and what we can keep up with," says Bushaw. "We had to stop advertising just because of the sell-out. Once we work on improving our fixed efficiencies, we won’t have to stop."