We often ask ourselves where great ideas come from. The answers are many and varied but for Dan Russell of Butt Be Dry the answer was simple.
Russell and his Dad were attending an LPGA Championship event in Rochester a couple of years ago. It had rained heavily the night before and although it had dried out and the ground appeared dry, when Dan sat down to watch the match he found the seat of his pants soaked and covered with mud. He and his Dad had a good laugh, but right then a great idea was formed that just needed some nurturing.
Butt Be Dry was the resulting concept, a portable accessory for sports enthusiasts who often sit in wet and/or dirty places and want to protect their bottoms. Worn around the waist in a rolled-up configuration the insulated, waterproof device unrolls to provide a dry comfortable surface to sit on.
Dan Russell is originally from the Rochester area graduating from Webster Thomas High School then graduating from LeMoyne College where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in accounting followed by an MBA. After graduation he was fortunate to participate in The Tech Garden’s Summer Sandbox program and the entrepreneurial bug bit him. He began a business called WriteFlick, an ingenious annotation application software that could be utilized on any web page and then sent to a colleague. Unfortunately, it was ahead of its time in market demand.
So, on to the next thing! With Butt Be Dry, Dan began his journey by developing a prototype of the Butt Be Dry product and identifying suppliers who could produce the product in quantity to meet anticipated demand, once marketing plans were developed and financing secured.
He soon made a visit to Onondaga SBDC where new business owners are encouraged to develop a business plan and sales projections to have a track to run on going forward as well as a basis of a presentation to funding sources to obtain working capital. The Advisor recommended that Russell move ahead in that manner and advised that he would work with him to develop a bankable plan.
Russell said: “I needed help to develop my plan and a go-to-market strategy as well as my financial projections for the product’s future development and marketing approach. SBDC was the perfect place to find that assistance and support. It has continued since, in fact, I now have regular update meetings with SBDC Advisor Paul Brooks, continuing to strategize and develop plans for Butt Be Dry and follow-on products. My MBA prepared me for success in business, but this practical advice and these discussions have been invaluable.”
Dan discovered that people were soon buying Butt Be Dry for all kinds of uses. Those uses, which are now the basis of the sales approach, are those that most users have identified including: sporting events, outdoor concert venues, hunting/hiking/camping, skiing/snowboarding, beach-day/boating and even changing babies on-the-go.
Initial sales to on-line customers and some that were customized for schools gave Dan a head start. After securing a substantial working capital financing last summer he took his enlarged inventory of products, now in various colors, to the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open Golf Tournament at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, followed shortly thereafter with a booth at the New York State Fair Center of Progress Building.
Market acceptance became readily apparent at these events resulting in a sale of more than 1,000 'Butt Be Dry' bottom protectors.
The Butt Be Dry product is available directly on the website (ButtBeDry.com). Additionally, the marketing strategy is focused on wholesale sales to major outlets including major ecommerce sites such as Amazon and Walmart where initial agreements have already been concluded. Additionally, Russell is actively pursuing licensing agreements for college and professional sports team logo versions for sale at bookstores, stadiums and other sporting venues.
Butt Be Dry is planned as the initial product offering of Russell’s business and if these initial successes are any indication he is well on his way to a very prosperous business venture.
Small Business Spotlight by Paul Brooks, a business advisor at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org