Dan Bridgewater left UoB in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in Business Management with Communication. Ever since, he’s been self-employed. His new business ‘Buckt’ was born out of a personal experience and he’s here to tell it, to inspire you to create your own opportunity.
Hi, I’m Dan. Over the past few months I’ve been working on my new business: Buckt. Like all businesses, behind the idea is my story.
Buckt is a subscription box and digital community inspired by the idea of a bucket list. Each month subscribers get 8-10 activities delivered to their door: surprise tickets to top attractions and venues, discounts on higher end bucket list activities, exclusive invitations from our partners and money-can’t-buy bucket list challenges.
With a crowdfunder around the corner (which you can support here - www.crowdfunder.co.uk/buckt
- cheeky plug!), a pitch for £20,000 in the Baldwins Kickstart competition coming up (we’re in the final wahoo), our official launch on the horizon AND an exciting yet slightly daunting level of demand already for the product, there’s a ton I’m learning. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some things with you throughout this blog.
Where did the idea for Buckt come from?
The story behind Buckt is pretty sad, which is surprising considering Buckt is about bringing joy and happiness to subscribers!
So, picture the scene. I’ve just broken up with my girlfriend of five years. The reality of the situation has hit me. I’m at home, down in the dumps, and feeling at an all time low.
I can’t remember why - whether I’d read something online or what - but I decided to write a bucket list: things I wanted to achieve by the end of 2016; everything I wanted to do but hadn’t had the chance.
Honestly, it was pretty therapeutic. For that moment, I had forgotten about the situation I was in and had something to look forward to. On my first Valentine’s Day single, you know what I did? Threw myself off a 160ft crane (I was attached to a bungee cord thankfully…) I wouldn’t have done that or gone to yoga, or adopted a tiger, or rode a horse, or meditated and so many other cool things without writing the bucket list.
A few weeks later I was thinking about an idea I had whilst at university about a ticket subscription box and then it clicked… What about a bucket list subscription box?
A bucket list is a really cool concept. It means so many different things to different people: escape, excitement, a way to forget about getting old, fulfilment of a desire to try new things. For me, it gave me hope. Buckt will mean something different to every person that subscribes to it in the same way that a bucket list means something different to every person that has one. It is for that reason - the way it can make people happy in so many different ways - why I truly believe Buckt be something special.
So what have I learned so far?
1. Talk and listen to people! I got the idea for Buckt whilst on a business incubator called Entrepreneurial Spark with another business, so didn’t really think much more about it. About 9 months later I was chatting to one of my employees and I ended up telling him about Buckt. He loved it. His passion reignited my passion for the idea.
2. It has to be wanted to gain customers. Having a passion wasn’t enough. I needed to show that people actually wanted it. I identified a problem I wanted to solve (that many people were fed up with the mundaneness and repetition of their lives), but needed proof others felt the same. Of 78 people that have completed our validation survey so far, 94% either ‘like’ or ‘really like’ the idea. Around 60% are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to subscribe. If figures like that don’t give you confidence to move forward with an idea, I don’t know what will!
3. Be prepared for challenges. I’ve tried a few ventures. Some have worked successfully, some have failed. This has encouraged me to always talk publicly about my ideas and my progress to potential customers to ensure validation and to move forward with it.
4. Find your area of expertise, and stick with it. If you dabble in lots of areas, like me at first, (covering multiple sectors) it can confuse customers, making your personal brand weaker.
5. Manage customer expectations. Customers needs to make a judgement on facts, not spin. If they don’t, they’ll end up extremely disappointed. For us, we need to be clear about price and what’s in the boxes, making sure our messaging reflects this.
So, what next?
The January launch. But before this, we have our crowdfunder, which you can support here and the Baldwins Kickstart competition. It’s going to be tiring, intense, stressful, but we’ll make it work.
Our aim is to get tons of people signed up, who can enjoy and delight in some of the best and most unique attractions in the region.
Once that’s done, we’ll scale. We’ll go to London, Manchester and from there - well, who knows?!
Somewhere hot and sunny would be nice….
All the best at Birmingham,