On May 16, 2016, we on the Wefunder team were proud that Bogobrush was one of the first companies to go live on our platform, on the very first day of Regulation Crowdfunding. Their company and brand, like ours, represented transparency, community and story-telling.
But after successfully raising $57,500 on Wefunder on October 12, 2016, over the last year, they “went dark”, as they navigated a murky and opaque potential acquisition. In her brave blog post below, Bogobrush’s CEO Heather McDougall re-emerges from the shadows to share some valuable lessons that she learned during this time. She imparts them here, for any other entrepreneurs that might be facing a similar situation. Thanks for your vulnerability and wisdom Heather!
– The Wefunder team
DEAR BOGOBRUSHERS, I'M OPENING THE CURTAINS.
While I was brushing my teeth before bed, an inspiration flowed to me and I had to write it down. This is for you, for me, and for the road to come.
It’s as though the real Bogobrush spent the last 15 months hidden behind non-disclosure agreements and exclusivity agreements in the pursuit of funding. We stopped telling real-time vulnerable stories and were left with the shell of goals we were aiming to create.
I think back and piece together the path of how we got to this point.
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THE SHARING MONTHS
Bogobrush came out of the gate in 2012, full speed ahead with a pre-order crowdfunding campaign. Bamboo, modern, and in demand. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, but ended up learning that bamboo doesn’t make a great toothbrush when more than 5,000 (over half) of our first scaled production run failed.
Some of you, our earliest adopters, helped Bogobrush survive. Your outstanding orders needed fulfilling, you believed in this little toothbrush that could, so we kept pushing forward. All the while we shared the stories of our journey; sending explanations, updates, and vision. And we made it!
Fall 2015 came in with a new launch, fully made-in-USA Bogobrush+Stand. Press and sales responded well, and we launched our second crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2016. This time equity crowdfunding on Wefunder. We succeeded in our funding goal, and it led to an offer for acquisition by a large company. This is when we…shall I say…went dark.
THE MONTHS OF SECRETS
We told our dreams to this company — they said we could have them. So we signed a non-disclosure agreement and also an exclusivity agreement for the duration of the negotiation. Basically we signed away our ability to share and explore the journey with anyone else.
… we signed away our ability to share and explore the journey…
In the end, it was too good to be true and early in 2017, we turned down the offer. We felt hurt, led astray by the negotiation, and sad that we put so much hope in this opportunity that we stopped focusing on growing Bogobrush’s community. At the same time, we recognized that we were learning and felt armed with faith in our vision of a more beautiful, balanced world.
Since turning down the acquisition, we’ve worked very hard and are making good progress.
We found a partner who is aligned with our values and has helped us raise an angel round of funds (we had a successful first call this month!), we participated in the nationally-ranked accelerator gBETA, brought on an amazing production partner from one of the hippest brands in the consumer goods market, connected to new distributors, are designing new products, building a digital marketing plan, and are chomping at the bit for 2018.
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OPENING UP AGAIN
Even with the excitement of our plans, today what’s chomping at me most is a need to pull back the curtains.
When we started Bogobrush, we said the story would always lead the way. Over the past 15 months, the story got stuck behind contracts and the quest for funding. I ask myself, “Is that necessary? Does the process need to be so secretive?”… Realistically, sometimes in some ways yes, but not at the price of forsaking the overall story.
So, it’s time for a fresh approach.
I’ll practice letting the story out, and in turn, letting you in again. I’ll embrace a new perspective of vulnerability. Rather than hide the journey for fear of being ripped off or losing deals, I’ll trust my gut more. And today, my gut tells me success in this journey will come by remaining Open. Authentic. Human.
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– This post was originally posted on Medium by Heather McDougall, Co-founder of Bogobrush.
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