This is a follow up story for Scruffie. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi! My name is Reid Simkovitz and I’m Founder and CEO of Scruffie! We sell the Scruffie, which is a leg shaver and it can be used to shave the back of your neck, too! The Scruffie retails for $24.99, and we ship globally.
In our 14 months in business, we’ve attracted over 220,000 visitors to our website, gained over 176,000 social media followers, and racked up more than 100,000,000 total views on our social media channels.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
At the time I published our previous Starter Story, we had launched 4 months prior and strictly sold the Scruffie as a neck shaver. At the time, friends and family were using the Scruffie to give themselves a quicker leg shave but I didn’t put much thought into it until fate intervened. When sales were slowing down in August of 2020, a new marketing strategy was desperately needed. I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and self-promote the product on TikTok. I put together a skit and titled it, “Day One of trying to get my product, The Scruffie, to go viral” and 24 hours later, the video took off and eventually amassed over 600,000 views! When my TikTok followers suggested that I put together a leg shave demo, I listened. My stepmom offered to demo it on her own legs and I knew instantly that it was gold! 1.9 million views later, and the leg shaver was a huge hit! I started posting more and more leg shave demos and haven’t looked back since. On November 11, 2020, we officially sold out of the 1,000 units that we initially manufactured.
We opened up pre-orders on April 26, 2021, and we expect to ship them out at the end of June. As we wait for inventory (manufacturing 5,000 units this time) to arrive, I’m doing what I can to get out in front of the customer to market and update them on the product as frequently as possible. We continue to post demos, tell stories, and answer questions from our followers. This helps us continue gaining traction without losing interest from our customers and social media following.
At the time of writing this, we have gained over 164,000 followers on TikTok which has been our go-to social media platform. Making product demonstrations and telling stories is the type of content we hone in on. We can expect to get between 500,000 to 22,000,000 views on leg shave demos, which directly correlates to revenue generated. Once we post on TikTok, we’ll then recycle the content on Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlight, and Youtube Shorts. We’ve only had viral content hit on Instagram Reels once, and it was a leg shave demo that reached 13,200,000 views, which gained us over 9,000 followers on Instagram.
At the start of this journey, I told myself that I didn’t want to rely on influencers to promote my product. If I could somehow become the influencer then it would make things easier and growth would be more sustainable long term. That’s exactly what I did. I forced myself to get in front of the camera to promote my product. This has been the go-to marketing strategy. Since the transition to TikTok, we’ve been experimenting with what content works and what doesn’t. We see how to keep the audience engaged, how long to make each video, what information to include in each bit, the tonality of my voice, and what messages to emphasize.
Since pivoting from neck shaving to leg shaving, we’ve sold far more Scruffies in the process and we’re on pace to do $125,000 in year two. Considering that I invented the product to clean up my neckline in-between haircuts, it was an odd but amazing scene to witness how the invention turned into a leg shaver.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Just when we were going to re-manufacture another 1,000 units, I halted production at the last minute. The feedback we got from the product wasn’t as good as it should have been, and if we continued to produce more of the same model, Scruffie would have suffered long-term. There were two issues with the design; one being that the inserts that held the razor heads together were popping out of place. The second issue was how the razors were difficult to detach from the inserts. In the span of a 3 month period, we molded the inserts into the handle to prevent them from coming loose and we also added buttons to easily eject each razor head. It was incredibly stressful to make this a reality and we had to change manufacturers in the process. As a courtesy for our customer base, I felt like it was the right thing to do to send those who purchased the 1.0 a 70% discount towards the 2.0. It’s not like the razor didn’t function, however, it could have been much better. People told me how crazy I was not to re-manufacture the old model. Citing that I would lose a ton of money, customers, and momentum. Even if all of this was true in the short term, it would have been catastrophic in the long term. All in all, it would have been the wrong thing to do by the customer
The biggest lesson I learned from this past year was to do the right thing over anything else. That always wins in the long run.
Another thing I learned is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to produce your core content. The more innovative you can be, the less money you have to spend. It’s harder and scarier to go this route but you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t dilute your brand! A company called, The Coldest Water sponsored some of our videos on TikTok and paid us around $300 for 10 videos. At the time, I really needed the money but I ended up diluting the brand in the process. A partnership between a water bottle company and a shaving company makes no sense. If you can manage to smoothly integrate your brand with another brand, then teaming up can be worth it. If not, don’t bother!
I’ve also learned that the more we grow, the more haters we attract. It never feels good when people comment hateful things about your product but it’s part of the game. The more views the videos get, the more comments they get, and the higher likelihood that there will be negative comments. It’s the price you pay for virality. At this point, I’m pretty used to what feedback will follow from each product demo, however, some comments still do get to me. I realize this is what I signed up for so I have to accept it and at times, embrace it.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
As we wait for the new launch of Scruffie 2.0, we are focusing on changing up other pieces of the business as well. We are focusing on redesigning our website, setting up logistics, filing new patents, planning new content, and potentially entering the retail space (update: We got into Urban Outfitters!).
Put in the work and you’ll get rewarded for it when the time comes.
For the next little while, the primary focus will be set on leg shaving and continuing to improve the product as best as we can. Before expanding out to other shaving products, we need to ensure that the product is close to perfect. It really doesn’t make sense to move onto other products without perfecting the one you’re currently selling. In my opinion, it’s better to have a few great products than to have a dozen average products.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we need to raise our standards when it comes to making content. Our videos have accumulated more than 100,000,000 views (with $0 in advertising), however, we need to continue to improve the quality of each video. We need better cameras, a better setup, and more videos. We’re constantly asking ourselves questions on how to improve processes. How can we incentivize people to make their own leg shave demos? How else can we pump out more content to drive more sales? How can we build a bigger loyal following? We need to grow exponentially these next 5 years.
I have a goal of hitting millions of followers one day and I know it will happen within the next 5 years.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I had a goal of reading 16 books in 2020 (check out my personal Instagram for a full list of the books) and out of the 16, I’d say Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey was my favorite one. It was interesting to see how operated before and during his success as an Actor. All of the journaling he did inspire me to write more journals (something I started doing in 2017), the trips he took inspired me to take more vacations with myself to think alone more, and it was really inspiring to see how hard he worked to get to know himself.
I think one of the most important things in life is to be yourself and you can’t get to that point without knowing who you are. The amount of people that live their lives without getting to the core of who they really are is sad. How many people live their lives through the opinions of their friends and family? You have to separate yourself from all of that (from time to time) to truly be successful and McConaughey’s book really helped me understand that.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Pivot. If something isn’t working then you have to try something else. I know that sounds simplistic but if you’re doing the same thing 11 times and 11 times it doesn’t work, don’t expect that it will work on the 12th. You have to change it up and that may be difficult at first but it’s necessary for growth. As soon as more people were buying the Scruffie as a leg shaver, I knew I had to pivot and change up the marketing strategy.
Discipline. You have to work your ass off or nothing will work. Put in the work and you’ll get rewarded for it when the time comes. I believe the harder you work, the luckier you get because it helps motivate me to work harder. I truly believe that luck and reward will come if I work hard enough (especially, when no one is watching).
Differentiate. If you copy what everyone else in your field is doing, you will only be as good as everyone else. You have to differentiate yourself from your competitors to be the best. The best way to differentiate yourself is to just be yourself. Talk to your customers the way you talk to your friends and family. The more personal you get, the more you are yourself, and the more you can differentiate yourself from your competition. I wanted to create a product that had never been created before that was marketed in a way that had never done before. If you don’t have a ton of startup capital, this strategy will help you.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
At the moment, we’re just looking for people interested in doing leg shave demos. Once we grow more, we’ll start hiring!
Where can we go to learn more?
- TikTok: @thescruffie
- Reid’s Instagram: @reid.simkovitz
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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