My life as a hardware entrepreneur – Lessons learned

Posted by in What if...?

Dear friends,

Four years ago, we created emiota. Our vision was to turn fashion accessories into smart wearables to improve people wellness. And the connected belt, Belty was born! We managed to convince other entrepreneurs that the world needed Belty. Thanks to seed money we developed a prototype that attracted many journalists and successfully won the Best of CES award! This was a crazy week, we didn’t sleep much.

I often say that the life of entrepreneurs is an emotional roller coaster. And we were at the top!

 

Then, we dived into the “manufacturing”. It took us 2 months to understand that our proto would require 2 extra years of work before the go to market. In addition to embed technology into leather goods, we added a layer of mechanics (so that Belty Adapt could adjust to the waist of its wearer).

So we redesigned the product to create Belty Good Vibes. This time, we came out of the industrialization phase within a reasonable time (reasonable equals less than a year and a half in hardware). I had several use cases in mind – but we needed the hardware to test, learn and improve the product. We also needed feedback from users to refine our positioning. It is not easy to sell a complex product. It sounds like a truism!

We continue making ongoing progress on the software development of Belty Good Vibes. The physical product is available and designed to be “easily” programmable (easily software equals at least 3 to 4 months). We now finance its development by meeting specific needs. We’re signing deals with companies and organizations.

 

One night, I was in a bar waiting for a friend and an important business call. My phone was almost out of battery. Fortunately, my friend arrived and took a power bank out of his bag. Phew! What a relief! I could take my last call of the week.

I also had power banks at home but I systematically forgot to put them in my bag. That’s how Belty Power came to me. A power bank in the belt! No need for an app and faster to develop (fast in hardware equals 6 months) that would allow me to launch a product on the market and even sell it in leather goods shops. L’Aiglon, a French leather good brand signed a co-branding on this product immediately :-)

We’re giving our go on industrialization this week (making molds). We will be in July in Shenzhen to monitor the prod ‘. We will probably still have some disappointments but at least, Belty Power will be on the market for Christmas, that’s for sure! (The first customers will be served in September).

If you want to support us in this adventure and decrease your stress at the end of the day (admit, when the battery goes into the red, you feel less comfortable and the drop of perf ‘points its nose) it’s here: www.belty.paris

And if you already have your Christmas gifts, you can also help us by:

  • Sharing this post and / or the site link
  • Visiting our website and give us your feedbacks

 

To sum up, here are the lessons I learned since the beginning of the adventure:

  1. Manufacturing is a bitch (actually it’s James Park, the CEO of Fitbit who said it first)
  2. Usage, usage, usage
  3. Less is more (the famous MVP)

 

I take this opportunity to slip here my two favorite recurring questions:

  • In your opinion, what is the main quality of an entrepreneur? => The DETERMINATION #forsure
  • What does your husband think about all that? => He is very well thank you, he supports me, he is the handsome guy who poses on the pictures of Belty Power #nocomment #girlpower #loveisall

 

Thank you for your attention,

Carine Coulm

CEO and Founder of emiota