How Nicolas Aagaard raised over $700k on Kickstarter

"I was blown away that we had raised over half a million dollars on Kickstarter so far."

Nicolas Aagaard


New Leads

The number of subscribers that came directly from the campaign



Amount Raised on Kickstarter


Marketing Budget

Amount spent in marketing the campaign

Key Takeaways

A simple message can be boosted on Facebook and through word of mouth!

It has to be simple

Their product had a dead simple, easy to understand message.

Pre-launching (collecting emails before) Kickstarter is required

You build an audience that boosts your Kickstarter ranking, get feedback on the right message, and identify influencers.

Boosted Posts on Facebook Work

Influencer marketing paled in comparison to advertising for them. Be prepared to spend money to make money

Bribe people for sharing

People can be bribed into word of mouth marketing for you. They just gave away some product as a marketing cost.

"I think preparation (for Kickstarter) is the most important thing, and the best type of preparation you can do is email collection. "

"What KickoffLabs really gave us was not only a really great platform to be able to set up the whole campaign, but also to do this incentive system where if they shared it with their friends, and then they got this automatic link, and then their friends went in gave us their email and verified their email, then they would get free swabs."


Campaign Goal:

Launch successful prelaunch campaign to surpass Kickstarter goal.

Key Features Used:

"Here's what's actually really great (about A/B testing). Not only do you convert better, but you also get an idea of what your Kickstarter is supposed to look like."

Contest Type(s): ecommerce - kickstarter - reward levels - waitlist

Interview Bio

Nicolas picture

Nicolas Aagaard - LastSwab

Nicolas Aagaard and his co-founders learned from their previous mistakes to design a simple solution that's good for the earth and good for consumers.

Then they went ahead with a referral campaign to generate emails ahead of their Kickstarter Launch using KickoffLabs. Using the emails they generated from KickoffLabs they've gone on to raise a ton on money on Kickstarter for LastSwab. An easy to clean, sanitary, and reusable alternative to the cotton swab.

Full Transcript

Josh Ledgard: Hi, my name is Josh Ledgard. I'm one of the co-founders at KickoffLabs, and this is our podcast. The On Growth podcast is a place where we're going to share advice on growing sustainable businesses through the stories of our customers, our team, anyone we can find with something to teach us.

I was blown away that they had raised over half a million dollars on Kickstarter so far.

Josh Ledgard: We've got a bunch of plans for this podcast, but with each episode, we'd love to hear from you. Who you are, what you thought, and what topics would interest you the most. In this episode, the very first one, I'm going to share my interview with Nicolas Aagaard. I love this story because it came out of nowhere for me. I was just browsing some of the top customers at KickoffLabs last month and saw this fascinating campaign about a product that made me do a double take. I looked them up after their KickoffLabs campaign had ended, and was blown away that they had raised over half a million dollars on Kickstarter so far.

Josh Ledgard: You'll hear what they learned through several failures leading up to this, and how they applied those lessons to their current product, LastSwab.

Josh Ledgard: All right, hello. We are live, talking with Nicolas Aagaard. Where are you located?

Nicolas Aagaard: We're located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Josh Ledgard: Amazing. First of all, I'd like to say congratulations. I mean, I took a look at what you guys have been up to, and you've raised over a half million US dollars on Kickstarter after having collected over 40,000 email addresses during a pre-launch campaign for your newest product, which is LastSwab, which I love because of the green message and the concept of the product, and the cool look of the design.

Josh Ledgard: We're going to get into that, but before we do, I'd love for people to get some context on you. If you could tell people, give people a bit of information on: What is your background?

Nicolas Aagaard: Sure. Thank you, by the way. We're actually really excited about the success. We're three founders; it's me, my sister, and my business partner, Kare. Me and Kare have been working together for seven years. We met at the Danish School of Design, and before that, I went to business school. I think a lot of what we try to do and have tried to do for the last seven years is actually a mix of those two worlds, the business world and the design world. It's actually ... You know, they're not two worlds that generally agree on a lot of things, and for that reason there are a lot of innovations to be made in that area if you're really focused on both parts at the same time.

Nicolas Aagaard: I think that really sort of culminates in LastSwab. We've done a bunch of projects before. We've done product design before and some real estate re-development, things like that. LastSwab for me is really where we hit the nail on the head, where we got the design part right, and we got the business part right. We really took a step back. A year and a half ago, we wanted to create a product that was in and of itself a positive thing for the environment. What we saw a lot of people doing, where all you could see is how it became this really big thing and, "Oh, we're a green company, and we're buying solar sails to power our computers," and all of that. All of these companies are really jumping on this bandwagon. "We're giving 10% of our revenue to a good cause." I thought, "Well, that's kind of ..." We really need to create companies that are in and of themselves producing things that have a positive impact, and actually make ... You know, not paying 10% to alleviate your conscience, but actually doing something that's good.

It's so much more convenient for people, and there was a great economical incentive to think of a product that replaces a single-use item.

Nicolas Aagaard: We looked at a bunch of different short versions of this, and we zeroed on the single-use items area because we felt it could really make a big difference. There was a really big design challenge in it because there's a reason why things are single-use. It's so much more convenient for people, and there was a great economical incentive to think of a product that replaces a single-use item. If you use a thousand of something, and you create something that costs less than a thousand of something, then you've actually created an economical case for the user as well. When we look at plastic bags and coffee cups, and floss, a bunch of other items ... We ended up with LastSwab because design-wise, I mean, we solved it design-wise, I think. It reminds people of a ... It basically looks like a cotton swab, and for that reason, people kind of relate to it and understand what it is. You don't have to explain it.

Nicolas Aagaard: The second thing is I think people are ready for this. The amount of excitement that we've gotten from the launch has just been overwhelming, and I think that's in large part because of where people are right now. They're focused on this sort of thing.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah, just to reiterate, what I'm looking at with LastSwab is you have ... Basically, you're reinventing the traditional cotton swab. Instead of this single-use thing that I use and then I throw away, you're attempting to make one and sell it as re-usable. Well, you are selling it and it is reusable on Kickstarter. I have to say, I mean, this is an audio recording. But these are definitely the most beautiful looking cotton swab replacements that I've really seen, but they really look attractive. You've thought about the case and the colors, and the design that really makes it ... I think it probably helps you in terms of marketing, right? To market this thing, that it doesn't just look like a white cotton swab. You've got this thing that looks subtly different, but familiar. Is that true?

Nicolas Aagaard: Rushed. Yeah, definitely. It's actually really interesting because I think part of it is that we didn't try to make an ear cleaning device. That wasn't what we were interested in because there are hundreds of designs for new cleaning devices that are alternatives to the cotton swab. Still, the sale of cotton swabs hasn't gone down for the last 50 years. It's just gone up. We're producing 1.5 billion cotton swabs every day. That's 550 billion cotton swabs a year. It's an insane number, and it hasn't gone down.

Nicolas Aagaard: Obviously, all these ... You know, all these products on the market are not helping this problem. It has a huge environmental impact, so I think one of the things that we really wanted to do was not to create something that solves part of the problem, but was actually a replacement for what it was. The second part was obviously to get the design right. That's the colors and the small knots on the head, and the nice shape of it, and the case, all of that. It really had to be this ... What I actually wanted from this because it's a cotton swab, most people clean their ears with it. It's a disgusting thing, but we wanted it to be ... We wanted people to be proud of having it. It should be something that you ... You know, you take your mobile phone out while you're having dinner, and you put it on the table, and you don't mind putting your cotton swab next to the mobile phone.

Nicolas Aagaard: I think that's where we have to bring people. We have to bring them to an area where they kind of love their thing. That happened a lot with iPhones. People love their iPhone. We measure it. It's been measured. People love their iPhone, and that happened when the iPhone came out. This wasn't the case with a lot of the phones that came out in the beginning, like the design part, the love wasn't there. I think when you do these products where people have ... It is a little bit more inconvenient. You use a single-use item, and you throw it out. You don't have to clean it. There's the cleaning part. If you have to get people to do that, not only do we have to make it so easy for them to complete that task, but they have to love their product more than they love the alternative.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you're trying to make it to make up for it, and get them to do that little bit of extra effort to make it worthwhile because they feel like it. Just like how I would clean my iPhone screen or clean the case, or get a new case for my iPhone. You're trying to make it say, "Hey, just clean this and reuse it." I'm curious. Maybe it gets a little disgusting, but what is the ... You guys have obviously done a bunch of research in this space. Is the number one use of the cotton swabs ear cleaning? I noticed you have two versions, you have a standard and you have a makeup version. When you did your research, what were the two biggest use cases that you had for the people with the single-use cotton swabs?

We're doing a lot of boosted posts, and when we did the email collections, we did boosted posts as well.

Nicolas Aagaard: There's not a lot of numbers on this, and one of the reasons why there's not a lot of numbers on it is because doctors don't ... They say you shouldn't use a cotton swab in your ears. For the same reason, we have to tell that same story. You're not supposed to use this in your ear. You use it for a lot of other things, but the fact of the matter is that almost everyone ... I don't have a number on this, but I can kind of confirm it after the fact. Everyone who writes ... We're doing a lot of boosted posts, and when we did the email collections, we did boosted posts as well. We've had thousands of comments. The vast majority of these people, they talk about ear cleaning. That is what people use it for. I think that's one main usage. You mentioned the beauty. We have the basic and the beauty version.

Nicolas Aagaard: The beauty version actually came a bit later. To begin with, it was only me and Kare. My sister sort of came in a little bit later, and actually brought the beauty version into our whole setup because it turned out that makeup artists and people who do makeup on themselves in general use a lot of these, and we just weren't aware of it. You know, we were two guys, so we needed a woman to tell us that. That came later, but in our research, we really focused more on the replacement. Not so much what people used it for, but just the fact that they use it. It just turns out that this is what they use it for a lot, and then the makeup.

Nicolas Aagaard: I think the ear cleaning is a really large part of it. Cleaning the water out of your ears after a shower, a lot of people do this. Apparently, I don't. A lot of people do this, and then there's the makeup correction. Now, there are some limitations when it comes to the makeup part. It doesn't absorb, so it's moving and correcting, but I see my fiancee using these, and then she just removes a little bit of makeup from a place under her eyes, and then she throws out the cotton swab. That's what it's used for, and it's an alternative for that.

Josh Ledgard: It looks like you've got it, like it's a bit more specialized, and to kind of describe to people: The makeup one looks like it has one end, which is more of a finer point, and the other end, which is more of a blunt point. You are specializing the makeup one. The use case seems specifically for those fine alterations and touch-ups.

Nicolas Aagaard: Yes. Yes, it's actually based on a current cotton swab design that works kind of like that. It has the pointy tip, which is cotton, and then the other one, which is more flat. Ours is based on that as well.

Josh Ledgard: What's the feedback been on the product? I assume you've had some in use, and you're not just pre-selling it, but you've actually got prototypes and uses. What have you heard from people?

Nicolas Aagaard: I mean, we've been through a lot of different versions to get the different materials right. We've had to 3D print it, so that does give us some limitations based on ... Some parts of the end product will be a fair bit better than the prototypes we made, but the feedback has been really good. It's because of the small knots ... Actually, a lot of ... I don't want to try to oversell our swab because I think we're still at a stage where, when we fulfill the Kickstarter, that's when we're going to get a lot of really valuable customer feedback. Based on that, we might need to make some changes.

Nicolas Aagaard: A lot of the feedback has been about the experience for ear cleaning in particular. It's been a lot more pleasant because it's actually more gentle. The way that it's made, because it's softer. Obviously, cotton has a softness to it, but it's packed hard and ... Apparently, this is also an issue. The cotton gets stuck in people's ears. It's not something that I ever considered, but that was also an issue people had using cotton swabs, and that doesn't happen with ours. That's pretty positive, and the makeup has been very positive as well. People have very different feedback. People have such different views of what they use it for, and what's good for them and everything.

Nicolas Aagaard: What we've tried to ask people is to really try to compare it to the alternative. That's really what we're trying to do. We're trying to alleviate that. We just need them to be, "Okay, it's better than that, or it's good enough, or in that range." On that scale, it's been very positive.

Josh Ledgard: Let's go back a little bit. Before you went live on Kickstarter, can you tell me what you guys focused on in terms of marketing?

Nicolas Aagaard: Yes. First, we had to choose Kickstarter, right? We've always been really fascinated by Kickstarter. We've done a couple of Kickstarters, not particularly successful, but I've always liked the idea of doing a Kickstarter, a successful one. A Kickstarter is its own animal in a lot of ways, it's not-

Josh Ledgard: I'm going to stop you there. Tell me about one of the failures on Kickstarter.

Nicolas Aagaard: Okay. Yeah, no worries. The first one we did was a hanging fruit basket. We did this in 2014. It wasn't a failure, this was just a mediocre campaign. I think we sold probably around $25,000. We reached a decent amount, and this was okay. The product ... It's not something that we went very far with afterwards. Since then, we did a jewelry concept, which was called Noise Jewelry. The idea was that people would be able to go on a website, make a speech, record sounds, something they had said, music or anything. That would be translated into a sound wave on a pendant, and they would be able to replay that sound with an app that would scan the pendant and then replay the sound.

The concept (first Kickstarter for Noise Jewelry) was too complicated. Even just having to spend that much time explaining what it was is a problem. You know, LastSwab, reusable cotton swab. That's kind of how easy it has to be.

Nicolas Aagaard: For a bunch of different reasons, that was not a success. I think jewelry is really bad online, and even worse in crowdfunding if you look at statistics. The concept was too complicated. Even just having to spend that much time explaining what it was is a problem. You know, LastSwab, reusable cotton swab. That's kind of how easy it has to be.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah.

I think preparation (for Kickstarter) is the most important thing, and the best type of preparation you can do is email collection. You get so many different things out of it. Not only do you get these pre-customers, but you start getting feedback. You validate your product while you're building your pre-launch. It's a total win-win.

Nicolas Aagaard: It wasn't properly worked through or even prepared before the launch. That's the biggest thing that I think I've learned from this. There are a lot of small treats you can do on the Kickstarter but I think preparation is the most important thing, and the best type of preparation you can do is email collection. You get so many different things out of it. Not only do you get these pre-customers, but you start getting feedback. You validate your product while you're building your pre-launch. It's a total win-win. It's like a mix of paying a marketing company up front, and then doing the Survey Monkey. It's all-in-one. It didn't go very well for the Noise campaign. For that and a bunch of other reasons, it wasn't very successful.

Josh Ledgard: That's a great lead-in. When you say the "pre-launch", you're even talking ... To be specific for people, you're talking about the way that you collected the 40,000 email leads before you did the Kickstarter. We met because you used KickoffLabs for that, and so how did KickoffLabs help you guys?

What KickoffLabs really gave us was not only a really great platform to be able to set up the whole campaign, but also to do this incentive system where if they shared it with their friends, and then they got this automatic link, and then their friends went in gave us their email and verified their email, then they would get free swabs.

Nicolas Aagaard: Well, we knew we wanted to collect these emails, and it costs a lot to get a person in and leave their email. It's basically just conversion costs on whatever ad you're doing, and then them leaving their email. I guess what KickoffLabs really gave us was not only a really great platform to be able to set up the whole campaign, but also to do this incentive system where if they shared it with their friends, and then they got this automatic link, and then their friends went in gave us their email and verified their email, then they would get free swabs. This is really good for us, especially with our product. The issue with Kickstarter is we can't really give rebates. We can't give 10% off if you ... We have to give out products when we do something like this. It worked really well for us, because we could basically say, "If you have three friends signing up, we can give you a free swab." The cost of the swab is fairly low compared to a lot of other products.

Pre-launch email capture page on KickoffLabs

Nicolas Aagaard: Those emails really were worth the cost of the swab for us. That was a really good thing, and I think the one thing that excited me the most that I really got into, especially the last two weeks of our pre-launch was the A/B testing because were doing ... I think we ended up doing probably 20,000. We started with a much more conservative budget. I think we started and we wanted to use $4,000 to collect emails. It turned out that we were getting a pretty good conversion rate. We were paying about half a dollar per email, which is really low. We really wanted to bank on this, and then we opted to $20,000. Obviously, we would just pay a company to do this. We had given them ads and things like that, but then you just basically sit there and watch, like, "This is good. Isn't this good?"

Nicolas Aagaard: What we could actually do is A/B test our landing page, and I think we went ... In those two weeks, we went from a conversion rate from 18% all the way up to 23. Just from us sitting there and changing the graphics and testing models versus product versus environment; changing different texts ... I mean, we basically iterated every 12 or 24 hours in two weeks, and did a new one, and then tested against the best one. We got five percent extra out of our marketing budget, which is thousands of dollars. That was amazing. Yeah?

Josh Ledgard: I can see that going through your campaign. You kind of had ... You start out with a good campaign with an okay conversion rate, and you can just see there's a two week period where your conversion rate really jumps. That must have been when you were doing the A/B testing.

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah.

Josh Ledgard: When you're doing the A/B testing, one of the things I tell people as advice is that these campaigns are a chance to test your message. What did you learn about your message for LastSwab through the A/B testing?

Here's what's actually really great (about A/B testing). Not only do you convert better, but you also get an idea of what your Kickstarter is supposed to look like.

Nicolas Aagaard: Here's what's actually really great. Not only do you convert better, but you also get an idea of what your Kickstarter is supposed to look like. It's kind of the same format. You come in, and what's the first thing you want to see? What's the second thing you wanted to see? It's really this ... You know, you just scroll down. That's the page where you want to collect emails, and your Kickstarter is doing the same thing. What we learned was we started with a lot of model photos. We were afraid that people weren't going to get what this was, and for that reason, I think we always wanted to put into the hand of a model. You know, you want to create context. At least, you hear that in a lot of cases.

Pre-launch email referral page on KickoffLabs

Nicolas Aagaard: What actually converted really well was the environmental message. We sort of saw that when we went more into showing the sea animals and showing the product, a really good render of the product; that was the best message. We ended up having a really good render that showed a closed box and a half-open box with the swab, and then the swab out of the box. You kind of got the idea that it was in a case, and then we had a squid clamoring ... We did a lot of different environmental ... We had a surfer, and we had a beach and everything. The one that converted the best was the squid holding onto the single-use cotton swab in the ocean. That kind of explains everything. You get what the product is, you get what the problem is and why this product has to exist. I think we used that so much in our Kickstarter and all the advertising that we've done since. Yeah, that's what we learned.

Josh Ledgard: I'm looking at the page, and I'll post pictures with this as well so people can see it. The page does seem to have one of the best conversion rates as exactly as you described it. It's got a great product shot, and then the environmental message. You've got it really clear. What I love about the copy on this page is it says, "Problem, and then solution," like pointing at the other thing. Next, it says ... I think you tackle people's objections right away. You can see what the product is, but then the text, you think, "Oh, why would I reuse it?" The first thing you say is, "It's an easy to clean, sanitary ..." You're starting with easy to clean, sanitary, reusable alternative to the cotton swab. Then you're giving people a reason to sign up, saying they'll get early access to the Kickstarter, and you'll get 45% off.

Josh Ledgard: Then the page goes into a very clear ... More descriptions mixed with the environment message, which I like.

Nicolas Aagaard: Right.

Josh Ledgard: But it is fascinating because you're a perfect case study; what you tell people is the best practices that you hear about don't always work for every particular market and product. You started with what a lot of people would say is the best practice, which is: We're going to start with a model and put the product into context focus, and then you learn through your experimentation that maybe that wasn't the best thing for your market and your target customers right now.

The way we collected the emails was basically through boosted Facebook posts.

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah. We really got this feedback doubled because we were doing it on the pre-launch page, and we could do the A/B testing, and then we did a lot of different boosted ... The way we collected the emails was basically through boosted Facebook posts, where there were tons of discussion, and based on a lot of the things that people were saying, we would also use that to tweak the KickoffLabs page.

Nicolas Aagaard: What's actually really ... I had to qualify it, because I could see us going from 18% conversion rate to 19 and so on, to 23. When we were at 23, I was like, "I need to double check this." I took the first page we did, and I ran them against each other. The first one we did, and the last one we ended up with. That basically confirmed it. It was a little bit higher. I think we had gotten better leads and better at the ads, but we still had a very big difference between the first one we did and the last one.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah. No, that's a great sanity check that I haven't heard many people do, but it's a great way to get a check and say, "This is actually working. This focus we did, did make a difference." It's a great [crosstalk 00:23:57].

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah.

Josh Ledgard: That was one of the main last questions I had. So, to drive traffic to your pre-launch campaign and then the Kickstarter, was it primarily through the edge of boosted posts in Facebook?

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah. I mean, we did. We actually had the KickoffLabs relaunch page for a while, and we had done ... You know, we tried to do some outreach and talk to some influencers, and have them share it and things like that. A little bit did happen, but it was incomparable to just going out and doing the advertisements. This would probably not be the case for a lot of products, but we have a product that needs to be a really good converter. That has to be the thing for this product. We got that tested during this. I think when we do this on the next product, when LastSwab is all set up and done, we're going to want to do LastBag or whatever. We're going to go directly to doing this. We're not going to use an agency for it because we need to become good friends with Facebook Manager, and we have good pixels and audience groups. We can use all of that, because the audience will be the same.

Nicolas Aagaard: Someone starting off will probably need some sort of support because you won't have enough data to start doing the audience reach. It'd be too expensive to keep the ads, but at some point, you'll have to do it yourself. I will go directly to this. I wouldn't go the media way, because the media doesn't really want to talk about young entrepreneur success. I wouldn't do influencers or things like that because it's just ... It's so much work, and it's like a game in and of itself that you really need to understand. I think a really good way to get validation is to get good system traffic. The way you get that is by paying for it.

Nicolas Aagaard: We used Funded Today. Now, I have some issues with Funded Today, and I'm not going to get into that. But they did a really good job-

Josh Ledgard: For people that don't know, what is Funded Today?

Nicolas Aagaard: Funded Today is a crowdfunding marketing company. It's actually the biggest crowdfunding marketing company. They do Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, and they're basically a one-stop shop for that. They're very closed in the way they do business. You pay them money, and you almost don't know what they're doing. The only thing you get is, "Is this good or is this bad?" It's very binary, working with them. That would be based on the numbers that come out, and you really have to trust them, which I don't, which is one of the issues.

Nicolas Aagaard: The email collection they did really well, and Funded Today, they had the data. They were able to do that, to read the posts and to use some more graphics. But even just doing it yourself, just for a couple of hundred dollars? I think that would be worth it. Just do your best graphic, put it up on a post, and boost that post. Do it intelligently. Figure out what your audience is, see if you can get access to pick the audience, or something that matches you, and then just see what happens. See if you can get a hundred leads doing that, and if you can, I feel like that conversion rate is worth it.

Nicolas Aagaard: We did half-a-dollar per lead, which is incredible. Even if you have to pay a couple of dollars in the beginning for a bit, I think it's worth it to get to know your audience. People will start to comment. I mean, you can base the next ad on which people bought it and work your way slowly through that. That's definitely what we're going to do next time.

Josh Ledgard: That's some more great advice. I love hearing that from people. I'm going to say we're going to move into the last part. I don't want to take up too much of your time, and I'm going to go through five questions, the last five questions.

Josh Ledgard: How do you personally get in the work zone where you're just feeling like you're doing amazing work?

Nicolas Aagaard: The zone! The zone for me, it's really when the work just materializes. I work a lot when there's a lot of work to be done. It's actually hard for me to get into the zone if there's not people tugging at me, which only happens when you launch something and you do it at a fairly ... I want to say massive scale. But when you have a fair amount of traffic, that usually gets me in the zone because then I have to solve everything. I think the reason why we succeeded design-wise on this, the reason we got into that element was just because we kept limiting what we wanted to do and what we were prepared to do from a design perspective.

Nicolas Aagaard: We wanted to do something that's good for the environment. We only want to do something that's single-use. We only wanted ... Well, to limit single-use. We only wanted to do it in this area. It had to be small, it can't be consumable. We kept on limiting ourselves, and that barrier, you can't go a thousand different ways with what you're doing. That brings me into the zone.

Josh Ledgard: Perfect. Favorite vacation destination.

Nicolas Aagaard: Maldives.

Josh Ledgard: What do you love about it?

Nicolas Aagaard: It's just an island and it's isolated, and you're ... The weather is always good. That place was just heaven for me.

Josh Ledgard: Perfect. Someone you look up to, personal or business-wise.

Nicolas Aagaard: Dieter Rams, a Braun designer. Jonathan Ive, the chief designer at Apple; I was actually very inspired by. Dieter Rams is a German designer. His approach to design is something we're lacking a lot of in our society. People go in all these odd directions, where he is so user-focused, minimalistic, not in a: "This has to be in a square-like box minimalistic," but in a: "How does this tell the usability to the user in the best possible way?"

Josh Ledgard: He was one of the ... If I'm not mistaken, he was one of the first designers that is really ... As part of his message of communicating good design was that it also had to be something that had some good or was good for the environment in some way, right? Or am I missing-

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah. It's actually ... No, I think you're completely right. It's actually interesting because I think he was an environmentalist before that was really a thing. I think that was just implicit for him. It wasn't really a choice or something that he really talked about. I don't think you'll find a lot of quotes where he talks about that specifically, but I think for him, that was just a no-brainer.

Josh Ledgard: Favorite podcast or TV show?

Nicolas Aagaard: Probably Freakonomics. I'm torn between Tim Ferriss and Freakonomics. I love Tim Ferriss. Freakonomics is a little bit more focused on ... I like the eccentricities of different economical aspects. You know, the things that you don't think about and how that impacts us or things actually work.

Josh Ledgard: Perfect, and the most challenging part of your journey so far?

Nicolas Aagaard: I think the thing that keeps me up at night is when I lose control over a certain aspect of what we're doing. The partnerships that we have where I have to ... I feel like the communication isn't aligned, or I have to wait, I have to trust someone. I don't see myself as a control freak in that sense. It's more of I like being able to ... Well, I need to be able to trust the process. When I don't, I get frustrated. I think it's a challenge for us with this. The sales part of it has actually gone surprisingly well, the emails ... I actually want to mention one last thing about the emails. The conversion rate on those are crazy. I had no idea we were going to hit a conversion rate that was that high.

Nicolas Aagaard: When you collect emails, you get a conversion rate probably from of 10% all the way up to 500%. I think we almost hit the 500% mark, which is just incredible. That's the best conversion we've seen of all the advertising we've done. Yeah, that was the challenging part. Production is going to be the thing we're going to have to spend the most time on because we really have to get it right, the quality of the product.

Josh Ledgard: Absolutely. I look forward to seeing how that goes for you guys. For anybody that's interested, you can check them out. They own LastSwab.com. L-A-S-T-S-W-A-B.com. They're available at the time of this recording on Kickstarter, and you can pre-order yours there. Anything I missed or closing advice you might have for people listening?

Nicolas Aagaard: Wow, I don't know. Prepare a lot, validate your products, and be prepared to fail a couple of times. I did.

Josh Ledgard: Great. Great advice. Thanks for coming on. I loved seeing ... Following your journey. I hadn't paid as much attention until I saw your KickoffLabs campaign, and I said, "What are they up to now?" I saw the Kickstarter campaign, and I just thought, "Wow. That's a great success story. I want to talk to this guy." Selfishly, part of the reason I do this is just because I believe everybody can learn from someone else. I really enjoyed learning from you for the last half hour or so. Thanks for coming on, and I look forward to chatting with you again in the future.

Nicolas Aagaard: Yeah! Likewise, thank you so much.

Josh Ledgard: If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by hitting the review button in your favorite podcast app. Frankly, my goal is just one person that's not my parents got this far and let me know by emailing josh@kickofflabs.com. Thanks, and have a great day.

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