Last season on Elevator Pitch, brothers Jordan and Ian Kay wowed the judges with a high-energy pitch for their product, Rally Flip Cap, a double-billed hat with a flip-up feature that reveals a hidden logo or handwritten message. (Watch their pitch here.) We caught up with the dynamic duo to get their tips for pitching and fundraising, and to find out if America is, you know, flipping out for their hats.
How did the idea for Rally Flip Cap come about?
Jordan: In 2010, I was at a Dodger game when I had my “aha moment.” I noticed people were turning their hats inside out, wearing them to strike up a rally and cheer on their team. I love wearing hats and didn’t want to crease or mess up my hat. I said, “There has to be a better way,” and that’s how the concept came to fruition.
Is this your first product?
Ian: No. Since 2009 we’ve been working with our family business, Cisco Sales Corp., a product development and sourcing company. For over 41 years, our dad made products for other people.
Jordan: We have brought to market other items in-house such as the Digi-Piggy, a digital coin counting bank, and the 123 Miracle Sharpener, a 3-stage manual knife sharpener. Both of these items were design patented. The Rally Flip Cap has a utility patent.
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Tell us your biggest challenge selling this product.
Ian: Educating people about the option to flip up the top bill. Because our hat is the first of its kind, teaching people a new habit of separating the bills proved challenging.
How did you overcome it?
Ian: We had to create the demand and show how useful our product is with the added value it brings. We documented our journey on @rallyflipcap social media accounts.
Jordan: We always told ourselves, “If no one knows about us, no one will care.” We promoted Rally Flip Cap, exhibited at trade shows and wear them pretty much everywhere we go.
Ian: If you don’t market yourself, nobody will.
How did you find funding?
Jordan: Cisco Sales Corp. invested into the research, development, molds, tooling and marketing. We’ve been bootstrapping.
Ian: Both of us invested sweat equity and personal savings into the venture and continue re-invest revenue back into building the brand.
What have you learned about pitching?
Ian: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.It’s important to practice and refine your pitch.
Jordan: Always make sure you have eye contact with whomever you are pitching to, even if it’s into a camera.
Ian: When you truly believe in what you are doing, you will come off as more genuine.
Can you please give us a couple of dos and don’ts for pitching?
Jordan:Don’t wing it.Practice your pitch in public and get outside your comfort zone.
Ian: Get feedback from family members, friends — and strangers. Focus on pitching the value of your product or service. Be authentic and confident in whatever you are promoting.
What keeps you motivated during tough times?
Jordan: We respect and love the game of entrepreneurship.
Ian: We’re grateful to be alive and motivated by taking action.
Jordan: We enjoy speaking our truth while being ourselves. We will continue to inspire and help people to accept adversity by taking the challenges of life head-on.
Ian: We enjoy the process of building and learning, and believe in the power of positive thoughts manifesting. We continue to find creative ways to solve and prevent problems; however, without problems there is no business.
Final piece of advice for anyone out there who has an idea but hasn’t gotten it off the ground yet?
Jordan:If you don’t care about your idea or service, no one will. Share your ideas openly with others and be able to take constructive criticism.
Ian: Be aware of your strengths or skill sets. It’s never too late to start something. Go into the experience knowing that you will have setbacks and failures, which are stepping stones to success. It’s better to try and fail than it is to have never tried at all.