Kristy Houck was no stranger to building and selling a brand when joining the Capitalism Incubator in Fall 2020. She already grew her initial business, K9 Nature Supplements, to well over 6-figures. But time had passed since her exit, and Kristy was once again feeling the itch to launch another brand. She enjoys everything about building a brand from scratch—the startup, the market research, and the vision stage. And she couldn't wait to feel that excitement once again.
This time around, however, she entered the field without a concrete idea in mind. "Who's my person? What's my niche?" She narrowed her options to about 3-4 viable businesses and let Cap Inc members help her decide. They heard the passion in her voice whenever she spoke about the often forgotten niche and urged her to launch.
"Part of my passion is to empower women to live life to the fullest, to be all they can be, and to inspire them to do that."Kristy Houck
Kristy's brand, Meraki Hunt, is a retailer for women hunters. She offers a scent-free product line perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Even though the brand is still in the early stages, Kristy plans to expand to become THE place for women hunters with women's hunting clothes and accessories.
Meraki Hunt serves the very underserved community of women hunters. Kristy loves to help women enjoy nature, whether they're experienced or completely new to the scene. Her products are beneficial to women hunters of all abilities. It's her goal to help them enjoy the sport.
Kristy officially launched Meraki Hunt on Amazon a few weeks ago. Her goal the first week was to hit 100 sales, and she did! What was her secret? She attributes her initial success to following what she’s learned in the Capitalism Incubator.
By day two of the launch, Meraki Hunt landed on the bestsellers list for its category. It felt great to climb the ranks quickly, but the launch was about to hit a snag. Just a couple of days after launching, Kristy received her first review, and the "customer" only left 1-star. As it turns out, the person never even purchased a product—they just wanted to complain about the price. The low rating brought sales to a screeching halt.
Instead of throwing in the towel, Kristy turned to fellow Cap Inc members for advice. After all, the group was always great about helping out and being encouraging. But how could she remedy this situation? Someone suggested she candidly tell her email list about the review. So, she did.
Kristy openly explained the situation in an email that went out to Meraki Hunt’s email list. She received a handful of replies. Three people even said they'd write a positive review. About five days later, Kristy checked her reviews, and the brand now had 20—the amount of support was overwhelming. Filled with gratitude, she emailed the list again to thank them.
"If you really focus on the person and connect with your people, they rally around you. That's the power of creating a brand."Kristy Houck
Overcoming a 1-star review proved Kristy found her target audience. Even as a small startup, they believed in the brand and wanted to see Meraki Hunt succeed. Kristy built her modest email list through a combination of Google and Facebook ads. She posted an honest video of herself sharing her vision and encouraged people to opt-in if it interested them.
In addition to advertisements, Kristy went the extra mile and created a Facebook community where women hunters could connect with others. Watching the group grow has been a fantastic experience for her.
"They're engaged, asking questions, and meeting up with other women."Kristy Houck
Women hunters get a lot of pushback and hate from society in general. But these women love animals, enjoy the outdoors, and want to provide organic meat for their families. Many even share their harvest with neighbors or local food banks. Kristy monitors the group to ensure it remains a safe space for those who share her vision.
Kristy loves her current audience and hopes to continue building it. A post-launch marketing strategy is in the works, and she plans to lean on the Cap Inc group for help. Expanding her reach through Amazon PPC and Facebook ads to the Amazon listing will help introduce even more women hunters to the brand. Eventually, her ads will direct leads directly to the Meraki Hunt website.
Product expansion is also in the cards. There is a lot of product demand in the niche, and Kristy could ramp up several new products quickly with the right investor. She hopes to launch a women's hunting clothing line. There's a huge gap in the market, which means a lot of growth potential.
"Definitely do it!" proclaims Kristy. "Don't question the idea any longer—it's a tremendous value. The resources, connections, accountability group, and mindset change will put you further ahead than trying to do everything on your own."
That glowing seal of approval doesn't mean Kristy didn't have hesitations about joining. She found herself wondering, "Is it going to be worth the value to go through a program like this?"
Besides, she already built and sold a brand. Would the content be too similar to what she had already heard? But she went ahead and took the plunge and hasn't looked back.
What really set Cap Inc apart from the crowd was learning about mindset. Ryan taught Kristy to stop acting like an entrepreneur but instead to think like an owner. That lightbulb moment really tipped the scales for her. In a world of partnership opportunities, she also learned the value of finding the right people. "Anyone who comes onto your team should be an asset and be all about the vision."
“If you want to get the most value from the Capitalism Incubator, do your homework, stay on track, ask questions, and engage with the group. You can learn, but if you don't actually apply anything, it doesn't do much.”Kristy Houck
Kristy noticed those who are the most involved in asking questions and connecting are the ones who get the most out of it. Learn about others, even those in a different niche. And most importantly, apply what you learn.
The Capitalism Incubator will provide you with the tools, education, and connections to scale your brand further than you ever dreamt possible.