These entrepreneurs have built a business on a need that they genuinely wish didn’t exist: personal safety. Yet, they offer an innovative way to help women, kids, older people, essentially anyone who needs personal safety. As survivors of assault themselves, they built the safety product that they needed the most at the time.
Meet Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara de Zarraga, the founders of Flare. Flare is wearable technology: jewelry and an iOS app that could save your life.
Having done the extensive market research to create a product that people need, Quinn and Sara made tech-enabled bracelets with a hidden button for you to call for help when put in uncomfortable situations. The idea is that if you are looking to be removed from a situation but don’t want to escalate or make things more dangerous, you can press and hold the hidden button that sends a text chain of support that has been preprogrammed and includes your GPS location.
Flare works by being paired with an app through Bluetooth and offers two subtle actions you can take.
First, you sync the contacts in your phone with the Flare app to choose who will be notified when you need backup. Then hold down the discreet button for 3 seconds to send pre-selected friends your GPS location and a text when you need help. When these steps are initiated, your team of support will know to help keep you safe. An optional feature shares your GPS location and a distress message with 911 in an emergency.
Second, if you need an excuse to leave any uncomfortable situation before it gets bad, press the button once to receive a real-sounding call to your phone – you can choose from 10 different pre-recorded options that create the perfect excuse to leave.
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This innovative safety product underwent extensive market research from those who use the product. Sara & Quinn went to users and sought extensive feedback to ensure they created a product that meets people’s needs and a product that had not been available before this.
The duo would like you to know that when you are considering building on an idea, you don’t need to be an expert in the field to be a company’s founder. A willingness to learn goes a long way. You can learn the skills as you go and find people that can help you. Every expert has to start from no knowledge, so it might as well be you too.
Flare has experienced 10x growth in the past few months. The entrepreneurs want to share their tips with how they achieved this:
Always assume twice the cost and twice the length
Creating a budget is an essential tool, but they advise you to plan for twice the cost of producing the product and expect time delays along the way. Nothing will go perfectly as planned, so resiliency and adaptability are necessary skills.
Plan for unknown risks
There will always be risks around your business, some you can quickly identify, and others come up unexpectedly. Good business management requires you to be prepared and expect the unexpected.
Keep it simple when managing your costs
When you build a new product, you don’t need the latest and greatest bells and whistles if that’s not what your customer is looking for. Keep the costs minimal and straightforward, and put out a product that meets the need.
Don’t undersell yourself or the product to others
Women are known to be more conservative and have a more challenging time bragging. You need to put forward your product’s strengths and of you as an entrepreneur, especially when you are seeking venture capital funding.
See redirections as opportunities
Redirections or the word “no” is a chance for feedback. Never take a no personally or as a permanent no. No may mean not right now, or that’s not quite what I need. This is your opportunity to build on that feedback and create more opportunities for the product and business.
The bottom line is that building a business requires an idea and action. It’s filled with highs and lows and requires hard work and a stick-to-it attitude. Follow your passion and listen to your gut instinct, and most importantly, do not give up.