Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Vicki Mayo and I am a three-peat entrepreneur of three very successful companies. But my pride and joy come from being the founder and owner of TouchPoint Solution.
TouchPoint developed a technology that alleviates stress and anxiety in as few as 30 seconds. TouchPoint is primarily an e-commerce business although we are working with several big-box retailers to retail launch in early 2021.
Everyone struggles with stress at some level so while TouchPoints theoretically can be used by everyone, we focus on our marketing to moms like myself! Since our inception in 2016 TouchPoints have been used by people to de-stress over 3 Million times. Our main product lines include TouchPoints for Sleep and TouchPoints for Calm.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I am an entrepreneur at heart. I started my first business at 14. A precursor to the Expedia one-stop travel concept, I specialized in booking all travel components for the Sedona, Arizona area. I would place ads in the Phoenix newspapers of our services. From there, customers would leave their information on our answering machine. I would call people back after school and book their entire trip (hotel stay, tours, restaurant reservations, hiking recommendations). I sold the business when I was 17 to fund my college career at NAU. Once complete with a dual bachelor’s degree, I continued my entrepreneurial journey first running my own branch of a mortgage company and then starting a hotel management company. Later, my husband and I would start two more companies together.
My early entrepreneurial journey taught many lessons.
From the mortgage business I learned 2 important lessons:
- Hustle as you’ve never hustled before.
- Sow your seeds. While they may not seem like immediate successes, they will come to fruition later.
I am a natural-born hustler. Although my first successful business was recreation in Sedona, I actually started making and selling products when in elementary school. Starting with bracelets and advancing to potholders, I would create products at home to sell for profit to my classmates. When I saw that I could make my own money without having to answer to anyone else, I knew I was hooked on entrepreneurialism.
I am happy to have officially started with the hospitality business for it taught me the importance of marketing. You may have the most incredible hotel in the world but if no one knows it exists, no one will come. Along those same lines, you may have a terrible hotel but if you have good marketing, everyone will come. They may not come a second time, but that’s a whole different lesson in learning and engaging with your customers.
During my journey, I adopted two boys, got married, and had two more children! I took a few years off to help my husband grow and scale our IT company and contact centers (nVision and ValorGlobal). These experiences rounded out my marketing, communications, business growth strategies, and people experience, while also learning IT and scalability.
At this point, I also went to law school. As a business owner, it’s very important to know all of the legalities of your business, the legal needs for the locations of your business (we run our business’ stateside and globally), as well as any labor laws necessary.
Another important piece as an entrepreneur is being a sponge for information! Any chance I have to learn something new from someone or something, I take it! I love learning how others run their business or what their journey looks like, as it may be or become applicable to my own.
If you are an entrepreneur just starting out I encourage you to crystallize a vision of your dream. Put it up somewhere where you will see it every day, ex. in your closet, on your steering wheel.
In 2015, I had a life-changing moment. My then 4-year-old daughter was struggling with night terrors. Her stress was the entire family’s stress. During a call with a mom friend and a neuropsychologist, she suggested we try a technology she had been dabbling with. That night when I placed what would later become the TouchPoints into my daughter’s hands during a particularly heinous night terror, she immediately went back to bed. Not only that, but she also woke up happy and rested!
My entrepreneurial spirit awakened. I began researching the technological components and knew I had to share this technology with the world. What started as a self-financed start-up, turned into a successful Kickstarter campaign and was later picked up by Project Entrepreneur.
After blood, sweat, tears, and an entire family affair, TouchPoints was born. In 2016, TouchPoint Solution released its first product- The TouchPoints Original. This app-controlled version of the TouchPoints had over 150 different variations of the technology and sold out within days.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Through all my companies I’ve learned that your most precious commodity is time. When given the decision to make a decision, the better choice is to make a decision even if it turns out to be the wrong one, it is better than making no decision at all.
When I decided to make a company and launch a product, I just jumped in feet first. I started by looking at my network. I called up everyone I knew that had any experience in manufacturing. I asked them to meet me for lunch or coffee or even a phone chat. From there, I began asking them how to manufacture. Everything from what’s the first step in manufacturing, did they have any resources or contacts that I could utilize for my company. I wrote down every note and every step and would review it daily.
From this initial exercise, I was able to locate and find my first engineer, my injection molding company, and my first manufacturer. It took nine months from the time I began developing to actually launching TouchPoints. Very similar to creating a baby, which TouchPoints very much is. I credit that quick timeline to my ability to make quick decisions and trust my instinct. I also adhere to the “Lean Startup” process memorialized in the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Describe the process of launching the business.
All the work of launching and creating a product can be time-consuming, but at some point, I had to shift my focus solely to launching. After a lot of research, I decided to launch via Crowdfunding on the Kickstarter platform. We raised $76,000 in three weeks, but we raised another 200K off our website at the same time.
To anyone starting a crowdfunding campaign, your campaign will be so much more successful if you are using it as a platform for pre-orders versus a funding tool for development. The statistics are always changing but in general, people lose their money 50% of the time on crowdfunding campaigns. Showing people that you are lower risk because you already developed your product will make your campaign even more successful.
I also recommend that you keep your website open and accept pre-orders. Some consumers will feel more comfortable purchasing off your website versus a third party.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launch, we spent a lot of time analyzing who was buying our product. We used Google analytics, social media followers, and surveys from our customers to refine our marketing pitch.
We were lucky that we gained a lot of traction in a short period of time. I attribute a lot of this to marketing, relentless applications, and postings. The only way your customers are going to know you exist is if you tell them and better yet, show them. We used a variety of tools to capitalize on this including but not limited high-level networking with current business partners and local PR pitches, social ads and postings on all social platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc), email marketing with weekly newsletters and updates, regular/daily blog posts with heavy SEO, and individual touchpoints via calls and messaging (pun intended).
While we see results from every effort, there is definitely an ebb and flow on which platform works the best contingent on seasonality and product. However, this doesn’t mean I stop using the platform unless it stops working entirely. Regular cadence, regular updates, new product launches, PR, and what we’re doing for our community is all imperative to your audience.
In addition, to keep your audience engaged you must post content that is relevant to them. Our product is geared towards relieving stress. Therefore, a lot of our blog and social content is surrounded by reducing stress and stress causers. These posts are relevant to both our current and potential customers, viewing us as an expert in stress reduction.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
TouchPoint continues to grow quickly and we are excited about new app enhancements and product development. We moved from in-home packaging to a small office to a headquartered location in Phoenix. Many of our sales come from our website traffic and PR. We’ve been fortunate to be featured in a variety of publications and media outlets. Each of these publications goes straight to our website, social feeds, and email subscribers. We love to share our wins with our customers, as they are our number one in many of our business decisions.
Most recently, we launched a social media campaign inviting our customers to give honest and clear feedback on our products. The campaign was extremely successful! Not only did we get the opportunity to engage first-hand with our customers, but we were able to be seen as a business that cares and takes action on customer feedback. We were relatively surprised and happy with their feedback and plan to ensure those changes are implemented as necessary.
While we do utilize our website heavily for our business (more detailed below), we do gain a small number of our sales from Amazon. Later this year, we have plans to expand and launch into brick-and-mortar as well as other online retailers. The pandemic has put a bit of pause on our plans, however, like in any piece of my entrepreneurial journey, we will change and adapt as necessary.
In the first two years, we went from a zero revenue base (as we hadn’t launched yet) to over 2 million in sales. Since then, we have continued steady, healthy growth and profit margin. As of April 2020, TouchPoints had been used over 3,000,000 times by people to de-stress. We anticipate that number to increase in the upcoming months and years.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The creation, launch, and business of TouchPoints have proven to be a journey of growth, both for the company and for myself as a businesswoman, CEO, and individual. I have learned to lean in on those in my network, sometimes gaining a new essential team member and sometimes, unfortunately, losing those that played a key part at some point in the journey. And while those losses can feel devastating, I have learned that when I keep my vision and stay true to myself and the brand, I know that was meant to happen has happened and will continue to happen as long as I keep moving forward.
The journey as an entrepreneur and leader can be lonely. Ensure that what you are doing sets your soul on fire. And find someone you can talk to, that you know is on your team and your side. I am fortunate my husband is also a CEO and entrepreneur so that we can sit side-by-side with each other at the end of each evening and just be.
And while some could say I was lucky with timing, I think the true luck lies in the fact that I am a driven and determined individual. Luck may get you somewhere, but for you to stay in that somewhere or even go past, that comes with the drive, passion, and hard work.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
TouchPoint is primarily an e-commerce business. Therefore the platform you use is critical. Your website is the equivalent of your brick and mortar store. After researching multiple platforms we’ve decided to use Shopify Plus. Not only do we have unlimited support and a robust platform but we are able to easily upload new versions of our site and modify quickly- a must in the e-commerce world.
Like a brick-and-mortar store, we have holiday sales and capitalize on Black Friday. We always have an end-of-year planning session that we look at quarterly to ensure our social and sales are well-planned in advance. This includes product photoshoots, videos, and other creative assets, as well as new product launches. These sales are heavily advertised in paid social ads, email campaigns, and light use of social influencers. We’ve had celebrities utilize our product and are sure to share those as spotlight pieces.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I think every human being should read The Alchemist at least once in their life. I personally read it at least once every year. This allegory of life has so many lessons that no matter where you are in your journey in life a different part of the book will resonate.
Best business book I’ve ever read is Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. It can be a lot to tear into but setting your business up with this foundation will ensure that you are set for growth.
As mentioned earlier, I am also a sucker for information. I follow a lot of female business leaders on Instagram and listen in on leadership podcasts on a daily basis. I believe in surrounding myself with like-minded women and leaders so that I am living my life in a similar way.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
If you are an entrepreneur just starting out I encourage you to crystallize a vision of your dream. Put it up somewhere where you will see it every day, ex. in your closet, on your steering wheel. Then look at your black book. Who can you reach out that will help you get that dream off the ground? And then as your dream starts getting momentum don’t get scared by how fast you’re going. Speed is your greatest asset at this point in your journey. And last, Never give up!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always on the lookout for top talent. We are currently looking for a part-time social media content specialist to help us source, create, and post engaging social media content as well as focus on community management.
Where can we go to learn more?
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