Interview: Kendra Kroll, Founder, PortaPocket

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Meet Mom Entrepreneur Kendra Kroll, Founder, PortaPocket by Undercover Solutions, LLC

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“Do NOT (no matter how tempting) do large runs or either product OR packaging at the start.
Even if it will cost you more per unit, you will absolutely have changes that you’ll make, so you don’t want to end up with a whole lot of 1st generation stuff you’ll never use.”

Also..know in advance that you will be ignored more times than you can count. Stay the course and keep to your inner compass. There is a purpose to your passion, and it will be worth all the effort in the end.
That’s (still) my firm belief …

What does your business offer?
PortaPocket is a patented, modular hands-free carrying case system that helps you lose the worry…not your stuff
> interchangeable
> uber comfy
> highly versatile ( works almost ANYwhere on the body )
> massively adjustable (fits everyBODY on earth)
> goes from the gym to a black tie party, and everywhere in between

It works for anyone with a cell phone or ID, but our best fit customer is a savvy mom with a love of travel and fitness.

Seems like we’ve  been in business awhile (since 2007) but it’s still just me and not easy to explain common sense to the general public. ha!We’re  mostly online and w/social media, but also do local trade shows and have tried some retail but not moving that fast there due to lack of consumer awareness.

What was your AHA moment?
Had the idea and just went for it

How has PR and Marketing helped your business?
constant twitter and facebook… some pinterest, instagram and YouTube.
Although have gotten some orders, it’s very time consuming and does not lead to huge sales numbers.
Have not done much paid ads…

Have used HARO and other free PR tools, and written media folks, directly. Hard to break through the clutter, despite the relevance of the message.
Trade shows/ vendor fairs have been decent, though takes a lot of time and stamina…and can be expensive

What’s your greatest success to date?
Getting on TODAY and getting 2 in-person meetings at Under Armour HQ in Baltimore (I’m in Chicago) all by myself, with no help.

What’s been challenging and how did you overcome it?
The lack of consumer awareness. People often think it’s just another armband… they don’t ‘get’ the key (and profound) differences.  Like the O rings on the shuttle…little things mean a LOT

I know I need to do more videos, consistently.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?

  • working hard to find a niche where can get a firm foothold…
  • this has massive multi-functionality so hard to know which way to turn..
  • equally useful for exercise, travel, for dances and parties (women’s lack of functional pockets), for medical devices, under graduation gowns, for dog walking, on roller coasters +++
  • been aiming for that last one in recent times (after tragic accident at Cedar Point last summer… man’s cell & wallet fell off coaster, and he was killed trying to retrieve…)

What are your best tips on managing family and business?
I’m doing the best I can and make a point to de-stress at the gym 4-5x a week to save my sanity!

What are your favorite tools and resources?
Shopify was the best thing I ever did for my website; shipping easy …ditto for my shipping process.

If you could wave a magic wand right now, what would you wish for?
> have some QC folks I trust to check in the next load of inventory on the way here right now from Asia.
> get people to be truthful on why they say no (AND have them actually return my calls. lol!

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your business?
www.portapocket.com

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