Company: Wi-Gear, Inc.
Contact: Mark Pundsack, President and CEO
Location: San Francisco, CA
Industry: Retail, Consumer Electronics (B2C)
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: Confidential
Wi-Gear, an independent manufacturer formed in 2004, was focused on one product—a wireless Bluetooth headset—geared toward the Apple iPod. Wi-Gear had a very small sales and marketing budget and no outside capital. It needed to grow its distribution from just online sales to other retail outlets, preferably Apple Stores themselves.
Plenty of competitors also made wireless headphones for iPods, and they too wanted to get into Apple's stores. What if Wi-Gear couldn't get a meeting, or couldn't convince Apple to carry its product? The company wanted to be sure early on that it had a market for its product. So it set up a Web site even before its product was in final production, and set out to spread the word virally.
Wi-Gear founder and CEO Mark Pundsack sent information about his product to friends, business associates and blogs specializing in communication products. Soon a key mention on engadget.com got picked up on 100 other blogs—including those in other languages—and eventually netted him dozens of pre-orders.
That gave him the confidence to continue production, and to show Apple—when he eventually got his coveted meeting—that real customers were ready to buy his product.
Independent manufacturer Wi-Gear produces one product—a wireless headset for iPods and Bluetooth cell phones—called iMuffs, as in earmuffs for iPods. To gain crucial credibility—and sales—Wi-Gear needed its iMuffs to be sold in Apple Stores. But it had almost no marketing budget, and it was competing against numerous manufacturers that also wanted their wireless headphones to be sold in Apple Stores.