As two new entrepreneurs, we get unsolicited advice, opinions, insights, and warnings around each and every corner. While they may or may not add any real weight to our decision-making process, but they still affect us. The only two groups that I can think of that get a heavier dose of advice slash criticism are mimes and new parents.
Today, we wanted to shine a light on a couple of companies who unknowingly convinced us to pursue our dreams. By their sheer example, they help push us over that all-important threshold that transforms an inkling of an idea into a slew of constant of activity that eventually becomes a company.
This admiration goes beyond their product; it extends towards their business values and their obvious desire to do things with their values heavily baked in. Both of these companies create products that complement Apple offerings, the iPad and the iPhone 4, respectively. They both showed that a small company can compete and win fans by focusing their attention on creating a fine product and manufacturing it using on-shore methods. They provided a framework that proved successful in the competitive and ever changing Apple accessory ecosysytem. It's the old school-yard argument for start-ups. If they can do it, we can too!
Being headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, we were introduced to Dodocase through Shopify.com (our e-commerce engine). They were winners of Shopify’s Build a Business Competition. They entered an already highly cramp iPad case market and have since carved a nice slice out of the market share. We are owners of a Dodocase, and as an accessory it has achieved its main goal. We gain more enjoyment out of our iPad by using their product, I can think of no greater compliment.
Studio Neat is the maker of the Glif, an iPhone 4 stand and tripod mount. We found out about them through Kickstarter.com, where their project was successfully funded. The company is composed of two creative people who have no product or manufacturing experience. Seeing them enter the iPhone accessory market helped us be confident in our desire to enter the iPod nano accessory making business. Again, they design and manufacture the Glif in North America. We are not owners of the Glif only for the simple reason that both of us rock a 3G and 3GS, and the Glif only fits with the iPhone 4. But, rest assured that we will be customers as soon as one of us upgrades.
Dan Provost (1/2 of Studio Neat) has an excellent post on his blog about their experience. It's a great read for dreamers who want to be doers.
Both these companies operate in a space that heavily depends on the form factor as decided by Apple. The window of opportunity is quite smal, with a change interval of 1 or 2 years depending on device. And the space is more saturated than a Big One Burger. They have shown that a small company can compete with major manufacturers. If you create from a place of sincerity and thoughtfulness, with hard work success is attainable.