on 8/28, I lauched a survey among all of you who purchased hinoki products or got in contact with me in the past 10 years.
I was frantic and wary about how to start and target the Indiegogo campaign starting on 9/3(and the product is still a secret for many…!)
The results of the survey were mind-blowing.Many of you kindly answered, shared your common-sense, wisdom, insight.I received so much encouragement and many gold nuggets which no doubt will decide the destiny of the campaign.
The main doubts on the packaging, number of items and price target produced split results, but it really gave me the guidelines to define the details of the campaign.
But the real mine of gold is in the free comments that you generously and passionately shared with me. The results database will be shared by email to all participants.
For the curious (who did not participate in the survey), here are some comments:
1) Difficult to answer the last question since I haven’t had the chance to try the instant onsen experience!
2) I think it’s great idea. Also beautiful colorful pouches! T.
3) It’s a lovely idea, your problem may be how to differentiate from competitors (it’s an easy concept to copy). As a name, instant Ofuro is obviously more correct but instant Onsen is more appealing. Pricing is difficult and depends on the market. I live in Singapore and mix with other expats. I used to live in Tokyo as an expat and we were always looking for gifts to give people back home, this would have been a nice souvenir too. As a gift especially for someone special, if the fabrics of the bags and workmanship are of high quality I would probably pay more. Also where the bags are made could have an influence on the price. E.g. If they were made by a community that is trying to recover from the tsunami then I would find that ‘added value’ and again pay more. I presume the hinoki balls will be made by yourselves? For me it is important that the workmanship is ‘Made in Japan’ not China etc! Good luck!
4) “I enjoy using our hinoki bucket and ladle set.
Perhaps with the hinoki balls you would need to offer another product, that being a small bottle of hinoki oil to reinfuse balls after a period of use…
This is a novel and pretty gift idea. I could imagine using them in a Japanese theme Pot Pouri (I am from Victoria, Australia)”
See more comments here below:
5) great idea
6) “I think the pricing and naming depends on your target market.
If it is for people outside Japan, then with postage, they are going to be expensive.
7) It seems to be done with good quality products. I don’t know anything about costs of the item, but looks like a nice Christmas japanese flavoured present. Price? 50 – 60 €?
8) “I’m not sure I understand what the kit will be but here are a few thoughts:
If you want people to put 3 balls into a tub, it is too few. 8 is a lucky number in China (and perhaps other cultures). That to me would seem like a minimum.
The only pouch with a contrasting string is the 2nd. I think it makes it stand out from the other 3. Perhaps you should use a contrasting string for all the pouches.
The word “”instant”” is not very elegant or “”luxury””. My impression of instant is “”instant coffee”” which is tastes terrible. I never drink instant coffee.
You need a more luxurious term or one that simply makes people feel good about having the “”onsen”” or “”ofuro”” experience at home. For non-japanese customers you may need to use “”hot spring”” instead because they won’t understand onsen or ofuro.
Finally, you could suggest the balls as a “”massage”” item. That you can roll the base of your feet on the balls while you are in the tub.”
9) Depends on what is included. It is hard to say without seeing the product. Also it is difficult to tell the scale of the balls. I think you should focus on keeping the style as Japanese as possible. Particularly as these would make great gifts in the west. I think you’re pattern is a great traditional pattern that would appeal to a lot of people including both sexes. I’m not crazy about the word “instant” as it feels a little cheap to an experience that is so luxurious. But that is just my opinion. I don’t like 4 balls either (I would call the actual balls Ofuro Orbs) I would try for 5 but depending on their size, 3 may be fine. Maybe different names for different audiences? For Americans maybe “ZEN BATH.. the Ofuro experience”. It’s clearer to a westerner and the word zen conjures up thoughts of tranquility and exotic locales. Also as you grow could develop new experiences “ZEN BATH…. the _______ experience. Your work is beautiful, concentrate on this product living up to that style and quality… Just some quick thoughts…best of luck! T. P.
10) I love hinoki and I look forward to the day when I can afford ofuro in my house. I like this idea of yours. Number of balls is dependant on aroma. If they are strong then three will suffice.
11) It’s not entirely clear what the product is, so it’s not so easy to provide good feedback, and is there one product or several?
12) Great idea!
13) Three is a nice number if that’s enough to create the smell of hinoki in a tub. I’m not sure about the name. It would depend on whether people know what the words mean. Is onsen more commonly known or is ofuro. I would guess onsen, but I don’t really know.
14) Very interesting idea. Good luck with your project.
15) Fun gift idea.
16) “If you’re marketing to american market, most are not familliar with the japanese terms ofuro or onsen. -at least not readily. It’s different if they’re allready searching for it, but it seems you want to attract people who aren’t aware of hinoki and its aroma.
3 balls for pouches, but small hinoki box may be a nice option- I would expect to pay more for that, and I would expect to see 4 balls if its in a box.”
17) “I love this idea & would definitely give these as gifts, as well as get a set for myself.
Bag material idea- I recall seeing textures linen (& maybe silk, too?) face cloths when I was in Japan & then again at the Muji stores in NYC. Maybe something like this, related to bathing, would be appropriate?
Other materials – there are so many Japanese textile traditions. Maybeshibori”
18) “Dear Iacopo Torrini, You produce amazing bathtubs and utensils for bathing relaxation, we’ve been admiring your work. This idea of the Ofuro wood balls is good to promote the ofuro tradition, in a way similar to Proust’s madeleines which evoked the qualities of an intense and beautiful experience. I wish you all the best for this endeavor, Sandra
How big are the spheres? They should have a perfect size like the hikaru dorodango”
19) What is the “special product” in the kit?
and many more!