I’m Jerry Davies, I guess I would describe myself as a serial innovator/entrepreneur. My business partner and co-developer is Elizabeth Plasencia a CAD designer from Venezuela.
Our flagship product is the Balldo and we are launching it via the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform very shorty in February 2021.
The Balldo is unique as we have effectively ‘unlocked another level’ to sex. As such it is attracting a large cult following on social media, it is this what will drive the interested parties to subscribe to our crowdfunding platform. At the time of writing, we have over 600,000 page views, 10,000 subscribers to our landing page email newsletter, and 150,000 youtube views.
We are only just beginning our PR journey this week and the level of response from mainstream media journalists this week is very exciting. Ballsex and ballgasms are going to be the talking point for quite some time, if not years. From a distributor perspective, we have been contacted by many and we are very excited to have the product ready to ship in Spring. The general public is similarly excited but mostly bemused, but I have learned from my previous business endeavors that bemused means a likely buyer – just much later. We get mostly ‚wow! I need to try this.
So in terms of growth, we think that once we engage the gear on our PR campaign we should see sales rocket.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I have been ahead of the game three times now resulting in successes and spectacular failures! I built the world’s first Eco Superstore in Australia called ‘Neco’, in 2006 but the Lehmans crunch caused my investors to pull out just before the store opened. So it holds the title of the world’s first and last Eco Superstore. Eco is everywhere now.
Don’t just ask your friends and family if they think it’s good - they will tell you it is to avoid hurting your feelings in many cases. You really must establish if the market needs or wants your product or service.
In 2013 I created a beautiful range of electric family cargo bikes for carrying adults and four kids, these had turn signals, horns, brake lights, and fully electric drive with reverse gear. So the Boxer Rocket was born and again I was 5 years too early with this and unfortunately, my business didn’t make it. Electric bikes are everywhere now.
I have a feeling that I am there again now with the Balldo. We have effectively created a completely new genre of sex, ballsex. I have also opened the door for men to have their first ‘ballgasm’ through using the product.
So for me, it wasn’t about ‘I’m a businessman, I’m going to research and enter the sex toy market’ it was about me having a eureka moment (which could have been about anything as above for example), thinking and thinking it over and realizing I was on to something potentially very big.
So in essence, it just keeps happening, I have an idea, I validate it by doing a lot of research and I then start to immerse myself in whatever sector it is that the product or service falls. I will never stop having ideas - the bizarre thing is that there will probably be another 2-3 ‘big ones’ in my lifetime - I haven't got a clue what they may be! But I am sure that they will again be very different to sexual wellness, bikes, or green products and services!
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
I guess I first showed my entrepreneurial flare when I was about 14. My dad got given a broken petrol lawnmower by a neighbor. He gave it to me and I decided to get it working, so I took it all apart, cleaned it, serviced it and it worked perfectly. It just needed basic cleaning and servicing which was something most lawnmower owners wouldn’t have a clue or the courage to do.
So I advertised it in the local rag and sold it for £50 - easily, the phone rang for days. So I thought this is cool - I’m going to get some more. So I ran an advert in the paper asking ‘wanting old petrol lawnmowers working or not - up to £10 paid’ - again the phone rang off the hook!
So I paid my dad (yes paid my dad) to drive me out around the county to pick up all these lawnmowers, some of which I bought for just £1! I would then take them home and clean them, service them and then advertise them for £50-100 pounds.
So there was a point in the summer of ‘85 where I was earning £400 a week - more than my dad who was treasurer of the local municipality.
But at this stage, I had no idea of what I was on to. Had I turned that into a business and sold it, I would be set for life, instead, I just blew it all on radio control cars and guitars!
So now I have children I am making very clear to them how to turn their ideas into viable products and businesses and I’m setting the scene for how businesses are formed out of ideas. Something I wish I had had the support to recognize when I was making this very early entrepreneurial activity with the lawnmowers.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We aren't in profit yet, we have not yet launched our crowdfunding campaign, but we will be, we know our costs, we have worked out our shipping and duty margins, etc. We still have full-time day jobs because the business is very much doable in the evenings and weekends, it doesn't need warehousing or any travel - everything is done by Zoom these days thanks to Covid)
Our product is heavily protected by patents. Our patents cover pretty much anything connected to the balls and we have already designed the next 2-3 core products (which there will be 10-20 variations of each) - So it’s fair to say we do have the world by the balls! We also own the trademarks for ‘balldo’ which is another solidifying strategy for future business value.
Our main goal is to build the brand Nadgerz Inc as one associated with ‘ballsex’ products and make the term ‘balldo’ mainstream - as recognized as the word “dildo’. Once established we will look to exit - as I said before I will have more ideas that won’t be in this sector and I will most likely need the space to pursue them.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I think that as this is the 3rd or 4th time round for me, we are much savvier to how we spend our precious funds in developing the business, it’s all too easy to get sucked into expensive marketing, accounting, and other services that are ultimately not a good idea at such an early stage in the business. This time around we have been very frugal, we have used services such as Fiverr and Upwork to use cheap freelancers to bridge the skills gap. For example, our cartoon Youtube video was done by a Fiverr freelancer from Greece called Manolis. Initially, we had gone to a local video production agency, thinking they would be cheap, they quoted us £6000 to do the animation - the Fiverr contractor charged us $250.
So these freelancer platforms are massively changing the accessibility of high-quality support services by costing the entrepreneur 1/20th of what a bricks-and-mortar marketing / PR / Graphics agency would charge - I cannot recommend them strongly enough!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
The platform for the crowdfunding is Indiegogo - we felt that ‘Indie’ was more suited to tech and had a higher spending visitor than sites like Kickstarter. We like their model and it works well for us in that the collective charges come to about 7% of the revenue you generate.
We do plan to use Shopify for our direct sales in the future but for now, it is very much bad form to run any other form of selling outlet when running a crowdfunding campaign
Back endwise, we use Apple laptops but store all our working files in Onedrive because we felt Icloud was just too flakey to run a business from and Dropbox was expensive.
We designed all our products on the amazing Fusion 360 3D CAD design studio by Autodesk - it works out at about $400 a year for a license as opposed to paying $6000 for a Solidworks license - which is what we had to do with the bike design company. Your models are stored in the cloud and you can just log in anywhere and use your license - it really is liberating not to be forced to use the high-cost traditional CAD packages.
One thing that has been ESSENTIAL in our product development is our $500 Prusa 3D printer. With this, we have made silicone molds, inner cores, PCB mountings - you name it we have done it in-house with this amazing asset.
I did not know how to use CAD software at all 1 year ago, I taught myself how to use Fusion and the 3D printer during the first lockdown. I am now very very sad because I wish that I could have learned these skills before!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I am a massive geek/nerd, I love design and innovation. I have always been inspired by MAKE magazine and in previous years by Instructables - both of which are idea-sharing platforms. MAKE runs annual events around the world called ‘Maker Faire’ - I find these truly inspirational and also re-assuring.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
My top tips are to qualify your idea, dont just ask your friends and family if they think it’s good - they will tell you it is to avoid hurting your feelings in many cases. You really must establish if the market needs or wants your product or service.
The very first thing I do is jump on Google patents if it’s a product, the chances are your product idea may have existing IP. Check the dark depths of the web to see if someone else is making something similar, analyze how well they are doing? Have they executed the opportunity well? Could you do better?
I would also say that if you feel that something is ready, it probably isn’t, so as much as hyping your product or service is essential to launching, you must be mindful that people will dissect your proposition and you have to be ready to back up your claims. Basically don't shout out too soon before you have all of your answers and systems in place.
Where can we go to learn more?
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