Chris Badynee says he doesn’t know much about being a small business owner, but I beg to differ. Badynee is a mailman by day and bass music lover the rest of the time. And he’s an accidental entrepreneur who did things the right way.
Badynee says a cheap upright bass is $800 for a beat up used one. Every time he got close to acquiring $800 something bad would happen – his car would break down, or the refrigerator needed to be replaced, or the kids needed braces or college tuition. In Feb 2006 his bathroom space heater caught fire and damaged everything. Luckily, insurance paid for the repairs except for a few upgrades he wanted to make. One of the upgrades was a large bathroom cabinet. The box it came in was as big as an upright bass body so he decided to make his own cardboard box upright bass using scrap wood flooring and weed whacker twine for strings. Then he posted a video online — which resulted in a 10 second spot on Good Morning America followed by 1000 requests.
He realized he was on to something and needed some help. So he tapped into his uncle (a small business owner), who brought in an acoustic engineer and an electronic engineer to make the instrument sound the way it should. To date, Badynee has grossed $100,000 in sales on this product and his “Bogdon Box Bass” is in 12 retail stores, including one store in Mexico City. The Summer 2008 NAMM Show awarded it Best In Show. Bass Player Magazine wrote a rave review in their Jan 2008 issue. Plus it’s been featured in several magazines and the local newspapers. MSNBC Elevator Pitch flew him to New York City to show the bass on TV.
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Given today’s economy, who wouldn’t want a $99 Upright Bass? And for DIYers who are music lovers, it’s a dream come true. The Bogdon Box Bass is a kit that you assemble without power tools. All you need is a hot glue gun, packing tape, a razor blade (for cutting along the dotted lines), and a hand screw driver. The Bogdon Box Bass has a tone that is very close to any Upright Bass made at any cost. Elderly Instrument in Lansing MI has it standing right next to a German $5000 upright bass. He says,”The Bogdon Box Bass isn’t a replacement for expensive materials and fine luthier craftsmanship, but rather it’s a crazy fun bass to see, hear, and play. So most of my customers are seasoned bassists.”
The key strategy for entrepreneurial success is to find a need and fill it. I’m convinced that’s why this product is successful.
Badynee does a good bit of marketing by attending musician open mic nights to put the box bass into musicians hands. The reaction is usually positive, but he gets a lot of negative responses too. There are bassists that get upset when they see a cardboard box upright bass. He says, “I get my share of hate mail too. But controversy is a blessing. I need a certain amount of people that just hate the box bass because it seems that people who love the bass aren’t as passionate as those who hate it. Those people that dislike my bass go out of their way to shout out to everyone they know how horrible the box bass is. Then those people come to my web page and many of them purchase it. I’ve come to “embrace the absurdity” because it leads to more sales.”
Now that’s a smart approach. And one every small business owner should take. Find out what will drive the popularity of your product and embrace it.
Badynee says he has never had any experience in business, didn’t do well in school, and day dreams a lot. A key to his success is he’s learned to ask for help. He thinks other small business owners should find people that are smarter than them to help in situations that smarter people know about.
“Small business owners need to use negative people to attract attention (the old train wreck effect). And most important of all, love what you do and allow your excitement to flourish,” he says.” I love waking up each morning and am beginning to believe that sleep is over rated because I can’t get anything done if I’m unconscious. It took a house fire to stimulate my creativity and then it took the internet to show the world my crazy idea. I had no idea that my idea had value. Never overlook a crazy idea!”
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