For the past few years I’ve had to juggle two startup companies, MiKandi.com and my OEM/ODM sex toy business. They are completely separate products, but as I mentioned in a previous post about designing sex products, both share similarities with product development. With sex toys, we focused on “affordable luxury” brands and with MiKandi, we curate the highest quality adult apps. Both are consumer brands catering to adults only and as an entrepreneur it’s been exciting to develop these two unique brands of products that are on the edge of mainstream and get people’s attention.
It’s also been extremely challenging and a valuable learning experience to manage and lead different teams in different parts of the world. Three years ago we decided to spend a few months in China to get a major sex toy contract off the ground, but ended up living in China for most of the next two years. We traveled back and forth from China, Hong Kong and Seattle, attended as many trade shows as possible and spent endless overnighters to keep up with it all.
But just as the sex toy industry was taking off and becoming more mainstream, MiKandi (and especially Android) was growing even faster. And when a market grows that fast, you have to move fast with it and seize the moment. As an adult company, we don’t have access to the same funding and venture money as our mainstream counterparts, so bootstrapping is our only option. We have to generate revenue and pay our own bills. It was a struggle to maintain the resources and get the proper support to build two companies at the same time. So in the end, I knew I had to make a decision. As all entrepreneur knows, letting go of your company is extremely difficult. You put your heart and soul into it and it literally becomes part of your identity. But as I begin to think about where I want to be in ten years, my decision became more clear. I had spent 8 years in the manufacturing industry and was ready to try something new. Manufacturing is a long term business and it can take years before a product hits the market. In contrast, we’re able to build prototypes and launch new products in a weekend coding challenge. I was addicted to this faster pace of development. I was falling in love with code and loved the blend of science and art to create beautiful and useful applications. I was hooked. MiKandi won.
It was a rough transition, but we moved on fast and hit the ground running once we returned to the states. That laser focus on building one company is paying off now as it first did when I started my sex toy company. I have a lot more experience behind me, but mobile moves so fast that every day is exciting and fresh. One day I may combine my talents in hardware and software, but until then MiKandi is my baby and it’s going to kick ass!