There are few experiences in the professional world more intimidating than starting a company. The statistics in entrepreneurship are enough alone to worry innovators. As the numbers go, more than 50% of new companies will fold within their first four years of existence. This statistic however, shouldn’t be taken at face value. Starting a company doesn’t automatically put an entrepreneur at the mercy of a coin flip, it puts them at the mercy of their own thoughtfulness and hard work. We work hard at b8ta to be a helpful step in bringing young companies to the retail market, an absolutely imperative move for many new products. To learn a bit more about how the b8ta experience can assist a young company, we recently chatted with Vladimir Vukicevic, CEO and Co-Founder of Meural.
Meural, a b8ta partner since July 2016, sells an incredible product of the same name; a digital picture frame meant to look and feel like a painting or high resolution photograph. Users can program all manners of images to be displayed on the Meural Canvas, and cycle through them with a wave of the hand. The concept of the Meural Canvas is wonderful, and in the years since the company’s start in 2014, the original innovative canvas has evolved into a stunning product that can boast presence in over 100 retail locations across the globe. Meural’s first retail venture was alongside b8ta, and Vladimir was quick to point out the importance of the partnership.
“We knew that retail was a necessary step.” he told us, shortly after demonstrating the gesture control function on the Meural Canvas hanging in b8ta’s San Francisco store. “The Meural Canvas is a very visual product that people need to see in person to truly experience. In many ways, you really need to see the technology to believe it.”
When Meural’s partnership with b8ta began, the concept of a retail launch was intimidating, as it is for many young companies. Fortunately, the b8ta model is designed to give young brands easy access to retail without significant risk. As b8ta was Meural’s first brush with retail, Vladimir was quick to point out the importance of the step. He also noted the difference between b8ta stores and most other retail; the ability to play with the products. This key element was important in Meural’s early retail days.
“Letting people play with the product is both scary, wonderful, and completely necessary. Ultimately it’s an educational experience for a young company. The things we’ve learned from the customers using the product have led to extreme levels of product development. The sooner we got Meural in front of people to gain feedback, the sooner we had a more complete product.”
Importantly, b8ta’s hands-on environment isn’t the only thing working for our young partners. The Sell Dashboard creates an open line of communication between b8ta and a partner, as well as giving the partner multitudes of ways to control their product(s) within the b8ta experience. As Vladimir pointed out, this level of control is a huge help to a company who is just entering retail.
“b8ta has a nimble and fast moving team, we’ve had experiences when we suggest a feature or idea in the morning and it’s implemented by the afternoon, and that’s just incredible. [The b8ta dashboard] is a live heartbeat of our sales, we can see how much and where Meural is selling and the different types of interactions [with customers] that we’re getting. Using this, we’re able to learn and adapt very quickly.”
And adapt quickly they have. We’ve loved growing alongside Meural, and continuing to introduce more people to the magical frame every day. When entering retail with a new product, the ability to tinker and experiment with presentation and price is priceless. And at b8ta, we work to offer companies like Meural that experience.
b8ta is Retail as a Service: you provide the vision, we provide the retail experience that meets your needs. With our retail subscription models you can scale up or down as your business grows or pivots. Set up shop for the consumers you want, we do the rest.