Categorized | Shoestring Startup

What do you call a pet made out of carpet?!

The “Ah-Ha” Moment

It was December 2008. The stock market was rapidly declining, and our economy was in the thick of this thing called a “credit crisis.” One cold, dreary Charlotte, North Carolina evening, the inventor of the My Car Pet® carpet creature, Shaun Kruse, walked to his car after a long day of work. Shaun simultaneously gazed at the coupon book he held between his hands while he strolled to his car. He saw an ad for a carpet cleaning service, and he was confused as he read their website’s address As he broke the words down in his mind, he read “real” “clean” “car” “pets.” After laughing and realizing that the word “carpet” is spelled “car pet,” it occurred to Shaun that it would be funny to make a pet for your car out of shag carpet! That was the moment the idea behind My Car Pet® was born. These cute, furry pets could keep a driver company by sitting on the dash of the car or hanging out in the console. But Shaun soon realized it was so much more than a chief travel companion, it was a reason to smile and during these difficult times, we all need a reason to smile again.

Logistics and Making Things Happen

Determined to make this crazy idea a success, Shaun darted to a carpet discount outlet and to an arts and crafts store to purchase the most basic materials to manufacture this crazy new pet. Once assembled, the My Car Pet® carpet creature made for a hit product that teenage girls and soccer Mom’s loved alike! From the very beginning, people would come up with creative ways to have fun with this new furry pet other than keeping them in their cars. Tween girls enjoy taking it with them to school and keeping them in their locker. Nothing says welcome to school like a pair of googly eyes staring at you next to you books! Mom’s have purchased them as unusual birthday party favor gifts for their children’s’ guests and set them next to their computer at work. It’s the small things in life that can draw a big smile and My Car Pet® was drawing big smiles!

Shaun began manufacturing the My Car Pet® carpet creature in the office of his two bedroom home. Using effective yet inexpensive tools such as, he bought a web domain and taught himself how to launch and manage his own website. He also created a Facebook Fan Page for My Car Pet®, where over 14,000 of his current fans can indulge in the glee of seeing photographs and videos of the My Car Pet® carpet creatures personified. On Facebook, these cool carpet creatures are depicted building sand castles at the beach, playing poker, shooting pool, and even taking a dip at the swimming pool! In an effort to spread the word, he also contacted “Mommy Blogger” websites who write reviews on new products. Before airing a talk show segment called “Eureka” on National Public Radio (NPR) in Charlotte, Shaun submitted a blog post about his “Ah-Ha Moment” which resulted in a 3 minute discussion about his fun new product. In July 2010, a woman from Family Circle Magazine contacted Shaun through his website, stating that the magazine wanted to feature the My Car Pet® carpet creature in the November 2010 issue of their magazine. This holiday timing couldn’t be more perfect!

“Good ideas are good ideas only in hindsight,” the inventor says. Shaun believes that imperative requirements for any successful entrepreneur include perseverance and remaining enthusiastic about your idea, especially through the rough times when any entrepreneur inevitably doubts his/her idea and the probability of its success. Shaun’s optimistic attitude and vision are paramount explanations of what have made the My Car Pet® carpet creature a success.

The Future

Shaun believes good word of mouth and publicity are the keys to success for My Car Pet®. He intends to achieve nationwide adoption and excitement through a creative and effectively executed marketing strategy. A couple of these strategies that anyone could do on a shoestring budget include submitting to requests through HARO, which stands for “Help a Report Out” and free product giveaways on Facebook.

HARO is a very effective and free online resource for entrepreneurs who are looking to promote a product or service. If a request from a reporter matches your unique product or service, simply submit a short and concise response and hope for the best! Shaun also intends to continue posting funny pictures of the My Car Pet® carpet creature on Facebook and encourages fans to write a creative caption. The best or funniest caption will win a free My Car Pet®. This is a very cost effective way to engage a base of customers who have already indicated that they like your product.

For Shaun, the thrill of being an entrepreneur is the excitement of inventing a new idea and getting it off the ground. He hopes to sell this business within the next few years to investors or companies who would have both the skill set and the desire to successfully operate and grow this fun new idea!

OurDex LLC

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