When did you have the first idea for CLIP'N'SHADE?
The idea for CLIP'N'SHADE came to us in the summer of 2019. We both had the same problem with our too-hot flat: we could no longer sleep at night in the temperatures, and of course we didn't have suitable sun protection at home either. When we realised that we weren't the only ones suffering from this condition in summer, we started to think about it more carefully.
What made you decide to go into business for yourself with CLIP'N'SHADE and start your own company?
We first thought about and researched for a long time what we could do against the heat in the flat. We bought fans and even tested air conditioners, but nothing really convinced us. So we just thought we had to solve the problem ourselves.
How does the CLIP'N'SHADE actually work?
The CLIP'N'SHADE works quite simply. The external sun protection reflects the heat directly back to the outside, thus preventing the heat from entering your home through the window in the first place.
What was your goal in the development?
To offer the customer a product that combines the advantages of an interior sunshade (inexpensive and easy to install) with those of an air conditioner (cooling). We wanted to design the sun protection in such a way that it would be affordable and easy to install even for end customers with a small budget.
How did you divide the tasks among yourselves?
That was the easiest thing for us: Due to our professional backgrounds, the roles were clearly distributed from the beginning. Richi took over the area of marketing and sales, Marco takes care of technology and production. But that doesn't mean that everyone just stubbornly does the tasks from their own area. As is usual in a start-up, we are both informed about all topics at all times and also attend all appointments together.
Did you have to do a lot of optimisation loops?
Sure, we can't even count them any more. Especially when it came to the topic of products, we had to go through several loops until we found the right solution. Above all, the many special features of construction, legal aspects and also the wishes of our customers have challenged us again and again. However, we were able to test each of our development steps with simple prototyping directly with end customers. This kept regressions and the effort per development loop within limits. But of course there were also problems that set us back again by a month.
How did you test whether CLIP'N'SHADE works in practice?
On the one hand, we have always approached end customers directly with the product and installed test versions with friends and acquaintances. On the other hand, we tested our sales concept in an extensive test market in the summer of 2020. For this, we created a simple website with a configurator and simulated various marketing measures as if we already had a series product. This allowed us to both test the technology and find out the best marketing strategy for our product.
Who is CLIP'N'SHADE primarily intended for? How do you want to reach your target group?
CLIP'N'SHADE is mainly intended for tenants who don't have sun protection but are looking for a simple solution that can be ordered and installed quickly - and with which they won't get into trouble with the landlord. Since Germany is the No. 1 tenant nation, we have quite a large target group. We think we know our target group quite well, since we both belong to it ourselves. Nevertheless, we have analysed exactly who our potential buyers are in order to be able to address them optimally. We will mainly use online channels for this - from Google to the most important social media to relevant forums. Of course, we also want to continuously improve our customer approach until we have found the most effective way.
Why did you decide to go direct?
We have designed the CLIP'N'SHADE in such a way that it is not necessary to interpose a specialist dealer or craftsman. Distribution via intermediaries would mean that end customers would have to pay about 30 % more for the product. We want to avoid that. We use our own website with a configurator that is as simple as possible to distribute CLIP'N'SHADE. This is also how we manage to ensure that the customer gets his outdoor blind delivered within three days.
What are you particularly proud of in your product?
We have managed to optimally fulfil the demands of our customers. We offer them a product that meets the requirements exactly - no more, but also no less. Our product is very attractively priced, very environmentally friendly, is manufactured entirely in Germany and actually protects the home effectively from heat.
Do you have any plans to develop CLIP'N'SHADE further?
Yes, of course! We are currently offering CLIP'N'SHADE as a basic product in order to provide as many customers as possible with a suitable solution for the hot summer months. We would definitely like to develop a simple and inexpensive solution for roof windows and have already built the first prototypes. It will probably take a few more months until it is ready for the market, but the next summer is sure to come. After that, we also want to make CLIP'N'SHADE available as a premium version - with motor, battery and smartphone control.