“I think when you’re a small business your customers are everything to you, you know like your whole life is to like serve them, please them, make them happy and to have that like just in my DNA now, where like I know what this customer needs and how I can serve them. And what the opportunity is to grow that, that’s kind of like the backbone of a business.”
– Maria Boustead
In this episode of Channel Mastery, I sit down with Maria Boustead. Maria started Po Campo, an international distributor of functional, stylish, and practical cycling bags for riders of all ages after realizing there was a major need for a bag that cyclists would find functional and enjoy using throughout their normal workday. Maria and I dive into the foundation of Po Campo, how the pandemic completely shifted their marketing efforts, product focus, equity crowdfunding, and much more.
Over the past 11 or so months throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen huge booms and a wave of newcomers in the cycling industry. Maria admits that their success at Po Campo, may have been a bit of – right product at the right time – but she is incredibly proud of being able to support and serve both the new cyclists of 2020 and the veteran cyclings with good gear from Po Campo. Through the biking boom, she and her team were especially focused on finding the right channel mix to reach their target consumers, who were surprisingly different in 2020 compared to years prior. While their company website may have been the initial workhorse, investing heavily in their digital presence and a new website, proved to be a focal point and necessity for the brand in order to reach and engage with their new consumer.
What I was most excited to talk to Maria about is a channel we haven’t explored much here on Channel Mastery and that’s Equity Crowdfunding. Rather than crowdfunding with a model like Kickstarter, Po Campo opted for a Equity Crowdfunding, which provides donors with a financial stake in the business. After building the brand alongside their customers, Po Campo felt providing this piece of the Po Campo pie and financial stake was the absolute right move for their business.
If you’re interested in scaling a small business, while keeping the end consumer at top of mind and focusing on how to reach and engage them, tune in to this week’s episode of Channel Mastery.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THE EPISODE:
- Maria shares the channel shifts and growth they discovered at Po Campo with the massive influx of newcomers to the cycling industry. Through a new website focused on serving their target consumer and investing in their digital presence, Po Campo grew their online sales by 250% YoY.
- Po Campo brought in a team of industry professionals, including past Giro and Marmot teammates to grow the business in marketing, product development and financial management to help with planning for the future.
- Through equity crowdfunding rather than a more traditional crowdsourcing platform like Kickstarter, Po Campo offers a piece of the company to continue to connect with their consumers and brand followers.
Maria is the founder and CEO of Po Campo, an internationally-distributed line of functional, stylish, and sustainable bags designed specifically to make biking a better and more seamless part of your life. Since May 2013, Po Campo has partnered with World Bicycle Relief, donating a portion of sales to funding the purchase of bicycles for girls in developing countries so that they can get to school. An in-demand speaker, Maria has presented about her entrepreneurial journey in the bike and outdoor world at the League’s National Bike Summit, the Industrial Designer Society of America (IDSA) National Conference, and the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, among others.
Creation of Po Campo, using industrial design efforts to help support the creation process, how Po Campo altered business priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to mask production, market to a new consumer, marketing to existing customers, Po Campo and Maria’s relationships with local and national charities, Po Campo hiring the right people for the job, planning for the future, bring value to all stages of the buyer’s journey, introducing a kids line of bags
“Last year in spring it was a different customer. You know, somebody who hadn’t biked in a long time or just took their bike out of their garage or had only taken totally leisurely bike rides through parks, but it never really bites on city streets before in normal clothes before, you know? And so being able to kind of shift our content to speak to those people a little bit better and really explain the advantage of a bike bag and how it can help you integrate biking more seamlessly into your life.”
“ I think when you’re a small business your customers are everything to you, you know like your whole life is to like serve them, please them, make them happy and to have that like just in my DNA now, where like I know what this customer needs and how I can serve them. And what the opportunity is to grow that, that’s kind of like the backbone of a business.”
“I remember when I started early on in Po Campo, I would tell people like when you think of yoga, you think of Lululemon, well, that’s what I’m going to be for biking.”