How Emily Brooke, Creator of the Laserlight, Rode the Ups and Downs of Building Life-Saving Bike Gear

As Beryl launches its third Kickstarter campaign, the founder reflects on the lessons she’s learned and why her priority is to make the product more widely accessible.

Beryl founder and CEO Emily Brooke

What We Learned on Kickstarter (and Why We’re Going Back)

A guest post by Emily Brooke

The Blaze Bike Light, Brooke’s first Kickstarter project.

The power of our community

First and foremost, we saw the collective power of our community. Our backers were eager to give us feedback as well as praise, and they helped us make some key product decisions — such as delaying our delivery date in order to improve the laser component — in our early days.

The new generation of the Laserlight is accessible to more riders.

The importance of transparency

Launching our first product taught us about the challenges of manufacturing and the importance of a watertight supply chain. Shortly after we launched our campaign for the Blaze Burner rear light in 2015, our UK-based manufacturer went out of business. Legally, we were unable to talk publicly about it. We struggled to communicate the delays to our backers; every day we couldn’t deliver was another day that we let them down, and they (rightly) became frustrated that the promised delivery dates had been pushed back yet again. It was one of the hardest periods in the business.

The truth about making things

Hardware is hard. Not only does a hardware business face the same challenges as any startup, it also has to understand and manage a supply chain, manufacturing, a fluctuating raw materials market, quality control, fulfillment, working capital, inventory storage, and many other considerations. Making things for the first time has a steep learning curve, and we have been very grateful for the patience of our backers and community as we have climbed that hill. We hope they agree that holding the product in your hand (or affixing it to your bike) makes all the tough moments worthwhile.

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