How This Couple Turned Their Love for Travel into a Travel Bag Business – Kish Vasnani and Vanessa Jeswani of Nomad Lane

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 1:04:14)

INTERVIEW VIDEO (ADBRIDGED VERSION) (Length – 19:16)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

They couldn’t find a travel bag that would best fit their nomad lifestyle, so they decided to build one themselves. In this episode, this husband and wife team (Kish Vasnani and Vanessa Jeswani of Nomad Lane) share the story of starting a travel bag business out of their mutual love for travel. They will also share details on how they ran one of the best Indiegogo camapigns ever.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Kish Vasnani and Vanessa Jeswani of Nomad Lane

  1. Could you please share the startup story of Nomad Lane? How did you come up with the idea? How did you know there would be a market of this product?
  2. What is your value proposition? What is your target market?
  3. What is it like going into business with your spouse?
  4. How did you prototype and build your product early on?
  5. How did you finance your business in the beginning? Did you invest some personal money at the beginning?
  6. Indiegogo Campaign:
    1. What were some of the factors that helped your Indiegogo campaign become so successful?
    1. How did you build your email list?
  7. What were your first marketing/PR/sales efforts and how did you drive sales during the first year of operation?
  8. You have received some great press. Can you share some tips?
  9. How has your manufacturing evolved since the beginning?
  10. What are all the sales channels that you are using?
  11. How do you fulfill your orders?
  12. Can you share a little bit about your product unboxing experience?
  13. What are some of the Ecommerce tools that have worked well for you in terms of growing the business?
  14. What does your team look like right now?
  15. What marketing, Ads, and social media efforts are working really well for you?
  16. Influencer product reviews.
  17. Are you planning on adding more products in the future?
  18. What has been 1 or 2 of the biggest mistakes you have made since starting your business? What lessons can others learn from your mistakes

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Kish Vasnani and Vanessa Jeswani of Nomad Lane

  1. One book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs/business professionals in 2020 and why? (Response: Never Split the Difference, Shoe Dog)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Shopify)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend? (Response: Airtable)
  4. A startup or business (in ecommerce, retail, or tech) that you think is currently doing great things (Response: Showfields)
  5. An entrepreneur or a business person who inspires you. (Response: Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx)
  6. Best business advice you ever received or you would give. (Response: Keep your overhead Low)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra 

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is a show where I interview successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, business executives and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses. And today I’m really excited to welcome quiche was nanny and Vanessa just wanted to the show. Keisha Vanessa are the co founders and the husband and wife team behind no Madeline Nomad lane is a brand of thoughtfully designed travel bags and accessories for the modern traveler. And today I want to ask quiche and Vanessa a few questions about their entrepreneurial story and some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow the Nomad lane. So thank you so much for joining me today. Trep Talks.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Thanks for having us. All right, perfect party today.

Sushant Misra  

So I know that you guys have a very interesting story. So I’m very interested to know if you can share a little bit about how you guys met and what motivated you to start a business. No madelyne together.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, so I’m Keisha nine that I guess it was almost seven years now. Yeah, it’s been a while. And, you know, the thing that really drew us to each other was his passion for travel. And actually, right as we met, she should accepted an assignment in India, whereas I was based in New York and we continue talking to each other and You know, I really really enjoyed the conversations and so we would have dates all over the world essentially that we would meet up in India or he was or in Europe. We went to Turkey we did like hot air balloons and capital. And travel was really at the heart of our relationship. Yeah, our our relationship is long distance from the beginning. So that was kind of like the norm for us to kind of meet up in different places even though we were in two different places. And so I think a lot of the things that are a lot of the situations that we faced, when we were going to meet each other or traveling together, was eventually the inspiration for Nomad lane.

Sushant Misra 

And you started this business after you got married or was it like even before that,

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

it was after we got married actually have an SS started like another e commerce business kind of on the side kind of testing out some things on Etsy. And then I eventually I was actually fired from my job for the second In time over the years and so, once Vanessa had started, you know, she started figuring some things I then jumped in and then we kind of put our heads together and then landed on this other niche of travel and then started doing my thing together.

Sushant Misra 

Okay, and can you share a little bit about you know, your, the product itself what problem it is following for people and who is the target market?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

So, okay, so I mean, so right now, I mean, obviously, if you were to ask this this, eight months ago, the answer be different. But, you know, just keeping in mind with everything going on the world, you know, initially, like both Vanessa and I were both business travelers. You know, we’d like to, you know, kind of keep our belongings organized because we’ve lost so many things while traveling. We also like functional design and aesthetically pleasing things as well. And so that was kind of the thinking behind the bag. You know, I’m just a very clumsy person in general, I lose everything. So just having a spot for everything and, you know, like, when you’re on the road as much as we are, you know, you just don’t want to think about, you know, kind of like, where your belongings are, or, you know, if you forget something, etc, beautiful notes there, it looks nice, and you can get in and off in and out of the airport, as easy as possible and out of your airline seat as easy as possible and just, you know, be on the move, kind of like your typical business traveler.

Sushant Misra 

So, I do know that, you know, as you mentioned, a little bit about the whole COVID situation and its impact on the travel industry and you know, of course, that probably reflects on your business also has has it motivated you to you know, pivot your business in some way. So, instead of going after the travel industry, you know, try to find a different kind of bag or you know, try to figure out a way to to, you know, basically make the best of the situation.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani

Yeah, I mean, I think at the heart of it, what we do is still the same, like, we still make elevated bags for professionals. And, you know, maybe the professionals aren’t traveling for business right now, but they are certainly traveling for pleasure. Like, we know a lot of our customers are still on the road. And maybe they’re not taking those exotic international trips. But you know, they’re either going somewhere local, or doing a staycation or something that’s like one to two hours away for the weekend. You know, short, short trips, basically. Yeah. Yeah, people are still traveling just in different ways. And so it’s just, you know, kind of on us right now to figure out okay, how do we, you know, kind of adapt to fit into this new current, even new but just, you know, a modified version of travel. And so that’s what I think we’re still figuring out and, you know, we’re still having a lot of conversations our customers obviously find a new Looking at different data points, statistics, etc.

Sushant Misra 

So maybe you can take me through the early days of when you started the business when you were coming up with this idea, because bag is such a generic product, I would say, and there’s like all kinds of bags out there. And even in travel category, I would assume there’s so many different kinds of bags. So when you decided to start this business, like was there, did you test out the market to say, okay, you know, I want to create a bag in the travel industry, which, you know, I want to target a certain demographic that they’re, you know, when I started this business, there would actually be a demand for this. Like the

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

thought process you just mentioned is very, like an MBA type approach. And we certainly didn’t have any of that. We were really just designing for ourselves. But anyway, we did test out the market and a little bit by launching Smaller accessories First, we didn’t want to, you know, invest every dollar that we had into some things. We started off with smaller accessories like passport wallets, organizational cases, and that kind of thing. And, you know, we really saw people resonate with that there was a strong interest in travel. And then we really thought about our own experiences as like business travelers, people also traveled for fun. And every time we were on a trip and on a plane, and we’re like, I really wish we had this bag that just fit under the sea, I could put my laptop, it was easy to get in and out or like medicines or toiletries on a flight. So we really designed based off of our own personal need. Okay. And I know, and I’m sorry, and so, and, and then from there, we didn’t tip it into the bag. You know, we are not venture backed or anything. We’re actually bootstrapping this whole business. So the way that we basically went on test the market was we basically, you know, had some images of the bag. we described it in a way that we thought would be useful and we put it on our crowdfunding on Indiegogo. And that was our market testing. It wasn’t a let us try to do wholesale or let us try to good inside some store or your own website, we want to go through a trusted platform, put out our best impression and see what people thought.

Sushant Misra 

And I want to talk to you about the Indiegogo in a little bit more detail. But before I go there, when you were developing this product, did you have to go through like a prototyping process? like did you have to create several versions and test it out? initially a little bit about you know, the the creating of the bag itself? What What did you have to go through in order to build the product itself?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

So I mean, I think kind of with like, bringing anything to life, you know, first as a concept. It’s along the lines of like, you know, maybe like, kind of what we had like before was like a brief. You know, if I could wave a magic wand, here’s what it would do. I think that’s important, right? What would it do? What would it hold? What What would you put in it, etc, without exactly knowing that shape, size, aesthetic or color. And then from there, we just, you know, started thinking about it more and more. And then from there, you know, when you do start to work with factories, and you’re like that you need to translate some of those thoughts into paper into sketches until illustrations. And so from there, we found a designer who could accurately translate what we’re saying into a visual. And then once you had a visual, then you can take that and then he started going around saying, Hey, can you produce as visual, here’s why, etc. And so, you know, just kind of going through step by step that sort of processes what we did for the bag. And, you know, before the bag, we didn’t have any sort of design background, we’d never designed a bag before. But, you know, when you follow this process, it’s, you know, if you believe in something strong enough, it’s almost as if anyone can do it.

Sushant Misra 

And the finding of the product designer, like did you just use a freelancing website? Or did you know people who could help you with that process?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

It was a freelancing website that we use and you know, honestly, we got really lucky. Because I’m trying to replicate this over and over again, it’s quite difficult and now that we think back on our experience and the way everything worked out, we were like, wow, I think we got really lucky to like, have that success the first time around.

Sushant Misra 

And and even before you went to Indiegogo like was there Did you invest some of your personal money into the project? Before going to Indiegogo?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, we invested all of our personal money because we because remember, before we went to Indiegogo, we had our own website, and as Vanessa mentioned, we were selling other items there before and so we had put a lot of money into inventory with the other items and, you know, it was selling okay, but it wasn’t Enough to like sustain us, as like long term entrepreneurs who could truly, you know, quit our jobs and kind of define our own schedule. So yeah, it was basically all in and then you know that with the Indiegogo because we didn’t want to put that sort of large investment into producing a bag, which is a much larger expense versus a small accessory type item. That’s why we want to go the crowdfunding route, because we can at least, you know, if it was successful, you would at least get the money up front, before placing the inventory run. So from a cash flow perspective, it worked for us.

Sushant Misra 

And I know that when I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs locally, you know, a lot of them choose to, you know, when they’re starting their project, they would take out a personal loan that they personally signed for it, versus doing something like Indiegogo, which is kind of like your de risking the process, right? So you’re making sure that it’s not your money was not coming out of your pocket. Do you have any thoughts on this idea about you know, taking a personal loan To start a business?

Uh, yeah, I think,

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

ya know, your packages depends too on like, what you’re trying to launch and the capital, you need to get it out. If it’s the type of thing where you know, you need to get more attraction really fast really quickly before anyone else takes your idea, then, obviously, you want to go all in. Whereas if you’re launching more of like a product that’s completely new, that’s never been done before. And crowdfunding is an excellent way to do that. Because people on the platform love to be the first to try something. They’re definitely like early adopters, if you can go that route. That’s definitely ideal. But obviously, not everyone can do that. Yeah. And then also early on, I think it’s also important to kind of understand also what type of reaction you are getting to your art ideas that we, you know, don’t need to pivot or need to modify or do need to double down. And so, you know, for us, you know, it was our own money. But then also at times, you know, we did use a lot of wrong credit cards as well. And so, you know, we typically do maxed out our credit cards, because we would, you know, perhaps be running some ad spend that was going really well. But then, you know, just like the credit card maximum limit. So then, you know, I used to open up more credit cards and in one month, maybe open five or six credit cards and keep the momentum going and you know, it worked out okay.

Sushant Misra 

And is there a difference between different crowdfunding platforms? Like the Why did you choose Indiegogo or Kickstarter?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I think they were more like retail focused, we actually were going to be on Kickstarter. And, you know, kind of had things built out. But I mean, I don’t know. Like, I think like the aesthetics of Indiegogo. We actually did talk to someone from there. But I don’t know if there’s a clear clear difference. He definitely has a more personalized approach. So if you’re launching a product and this is the first time you’ve done something like that, you know, there’s a team there that helps you out that looks at your page. It can recommend, like what else you can do, versus Kickstarter, it was tougher to like get in contact with someone over there. Yeah. And then in terms of tracking, Indiegogo allows you to place your own pixel. Um, so you get a better understanding of like what’s working. And then also like with Kickstarter, it’s like, you know, there’s like a set defined amount of 30 days, 60 days versus Indiegogo, they have a component also called indemand, which after the 60 days or after your initial campaign, while your production, you can still take orders as well. So that’s kind of what helped sustain us. And so some people, you know, may go on Kickstarter first, because that’s where they perceive to have the largest, you know, perhaps most interested audience and then from there, they then go on to Indiegogo in demand to then keep their campaign going. And so we, you know, I didn’t want to do you know, double work essentially. So we kind of stay on the Indiegogo process for the reasons but as I mentioned, as well as that piece as well.

Sushant Misra 

Okay, and I know that your campaign was probably, I think there’s a stat out there that it was one of the best campaigns that worked on Indiegogo. I’m not sure if that is still the case. But what and I know that there was some marketing effort on your part from from like, preparation preparation effort from your side before you went there. Can you share like what made your campaign so successful?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I mean, I don’t know if it was like one single thing that made a really successful but it was just, you know, kind of firing off on all cylinders and making sure every step of the way was being done or performed or photographed or talked about in the best way possible. It wasn’t something that we just did overnight. We I mean, like, you know, what people don’t understand also that when you do launch a campaign, the hard part of launch a campaign happens like six months before you launch. You know, that’s where all the preparation work comes in. And that was, I think one of the main things that we did was just start thinking about it three months, six months before we actually hit launch. Yeah. And I think, you know, the most important thing when you launch a product, obviously, is like, figuring out your messaging like, you know, for example, our bags, there’s 100 things we could say about this bag, it does like this, this, this, this or it fits in the seat. And what we did was like, we narrowed it down to just a few things. We were like to our customers, who are these people who do these things who are this age, and we’re most likely this gender, these are the three things that are the most important to them. And then there are three things we’re going to talk about the most. And you just drill that in throughout your whole page. And you know, second part of that is obviously visual, like crowdfunding is a very visual platform. Your video is like the most important asset you could have. And so that’s something we spent a lot of time doing and working on a script like really focusing on the messaging was In the video, so those are the couple things that we would really recommend focusing on.

Sushant Misra 

And I think a big part of also was that you build an you build an email list of people who would be interested in your product. Can you share a little bit about? How did you build that email list? And what was the How did you choose the people to include? Like the audience to be in that email list that would eventually be interested in your bag?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yes, I mean, originally what we did, because, you know, even before we launch a campaign, like, you know, if you do a campaign, right, that’s also a lot of investment. So this is kind of pre campaign we just wanted to understand, okay, if we were to launch a campaign, what type of interests would we get? The best way to do that? And what we’d followed was we just did a simple landing page, like one page, a bunch of images, and as Vanessa mentioned, talked about the two or three things that we felt would be most effective. to our customers. And then from there, you know, even with like a little bit of digital marketing savviness you know, you can go on Facebook, you know, and you know, plug an ad budget of I think we did like five bucks a day or something $5 a day. And let’s just target different audiences and and every day, every other day, every week, we would just check and see, okay, what kind of traffic happened, how many people signed up? And so that’s kind of how we started building out our email list. And at least we knew that they were somewhat interested because of the different interests that we were targeting as well as well, the as well as a copywriting on landing page.

Sushant Misra 

So basically, it was a process of Okay, you went on Facebook ads and because Facebook ads gives a lot of data on the audience, you basically segmented into into different maybe based on age and interest and things like that. And then, was there a time or even today Do you have a very good understanding of what kind of audience Like really resonates with your messaging based on that kind of data? Or are there other ways of knowing that?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Honestly, we’re always testing like, you know, even especially with like, as things are changing in the current market, we’re always like seeing Okay, maybe these other people would be interested in as well. So I think, you know, that’s, that’s been something that’s like, it’s been an iterative process that we’ve gone through. Okay.

Sushant Misra 

Initially, when you were doing your Indiegogo and even before Indiegogo, what were some of the marketing PR sales efforts that you were doing that we’re getting good results? Can you share a little bit about that? And then I’m going to ask you about, you know, what kind of things you’re doing now. I think

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

we just talked about this to everyone. We could talk about it too, literally, like we were like the brand ambassadors we spend all our friends over and over. Okay, something great was coming out. We had to harass them to share and repost and therefore Facebook and share their friends. We were in we were in New York City at the time. And so just everywhere we went like I would purposely carry the bag with me even if I didn’t need to carry a bag. And then I’d walk up to you and make Hey, do you want to see what this is? I know you didn’t ask him but I still want to show you. And then from there we went to like all these different new networking and meetup events and just met people. I just kept talking and talking and talking. And then we stopped a lot of like, our border is online to we just through a cold emailed everyone, we could find anyone who we thought could be remotely relevant. Like we just we did everything we could think of. Yeah, I mean, like, just anyone who would talk to us, like we would talk back, right? You know, if as long as they didn’t chase us out of the room or the subway car or something, we just keep talking.

Sushant Misra 

Yeah. Cool. I want to ask you a little bit about your manufacturing and which I do in most of my interviews, just to get An idea of the future, you know, because manufacturing is such a big part of any product. Can you share a little bit about your manufacturing process and how maybe it has evolved from, you know, when you started to, to now?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Sure, sure. I mean, like when we started, if you think back to the conversation where we started talking about having the visual and a designer, you know, we basically took that drawing and that design, you know, and we actually ended up going to a fair in China, and you just kind of because we had kind of heard that, okay, this is a place to go to, you know, where everyone comes to a lot of factories calm and, you know, we were new, didn’t know too much and just started you know, showing our design and had basically found a factory to work with and to fulfill our order. And then things went okay, sort of I think we definitely know a lot more now today than we did you know, four years ago when you first started. And I think it’s safe to say that, you know, yes. And even if you go look on our Indiegogo page, right now, you’ll see that we did make mistakes. There were some product defect issues. And you know, we took it very personally, you know, versus if you go look at our website, and look at the website reviews, you’ll see a night and day difference. I think that’s just a testament to how far we’ve come along in the manufacturing process. But you know, I think early on, it’s just really important, just to be careful, every step of the way. And especially if you don’t have manufacturing background, bring in a little bit of outside help, wherever possible, even if you can’t afford you know, everything soup to nuts, at least where possible, bring it somehow.

Sushant Misra 

And where would one go about finding this kind of hope? Are there consultants out there?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, there’s a ton of like agents consulting Yeah, lots of people online essentially are on LinkedIn. I can help. Yeah, I mean, I think like, the main thing to search for would be like quality control assurance or quality control firm, you know, someone who has your best interests at heart. Because a lot of times when you work with manufacturing companies and factories and stuff, they’ll tell you, Hey, you know, no need to hire someone, we have someone in house and we can check for you before we ship out to you. Just go ahead and send us the full amount, just send us the money now. And so we, you know, that’s gonna happen a lot. I think it’s important and was sounds tempting, especially when you’re first starting out and don’t, you know, have all the money in the world. It’s very important to have someone on your side to pay just a little extra have a third party to actually go into the factory and to inspect things to your specifications or else you know, their factory person, you have to think, whose interests are aligned with who and I think it’s very important to to analyze early on when you do go into any sort of manufacturing process.

Sushant Misra 

So basically you did not go the Alibaba where you decided that you’re going to visit China and you’re going to talk to manufacturers yourself. Do you recommend that to everyone? Or is that just the approach that you took and it worked out for you,

KKish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

ideally, is that you would go and visit the factory because you never know who you’re talking to online. Obviously, things are a little different right now with travel restrictions and stuff. So at least we’ll start the conversation, maybe have some video calls and then as soon as, as soon as you possibly can visit the factory, that would be a deal. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Especially you nowadays, it’s very easy to pretend you’re someone else. Or you know, it’s very easy for a factory to say, Oh, look, you know, we make this high quality bag. You know, why don’t you come make your bag with us as well. So, you know, especially as Vanessa said, like, nowadays a little more difficult. I would even say work with someone who is reputation you can verify independently, it was at a mutual connection, you know, etc. But, you know, especially if you are doing your manufacturing process in Asia and I think also to a certain degree in the US and Europe etc You know, I think it is good to meet you know, someone you know, they’re face to face, you know, who can kind of help you walk you through the process and because you are any large amount of money as well, you know, there’s there’s money being transferred back and forth. So yeah, it is good to have that in place.

Sushant Misra 

Okay. And so what are all the different sales channels that you’re selling through right now? Of course right now, it’s a little bit different, but what what have you been selling through your website? Are you on Amazon? Are you in retail stores?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

We’re just on our website. Right now. We’re all dressed up You know, we really enjoy having a one to one connection with our customer.

Sushant Misra 

Number two design you never thought of going the Amazon route. Why was that?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I mean, we have thought about it. We’re honestly receiving like pretty good success on our own website right now. You know, when you get on any other third party platform, it’s harder to manage. It’s one more thing you have to use to be good at, you have to know how to sell on Amazon. It’s different than knowing how to sell on your own website. So I think if it’s something you do something you go all into, whereas right now, we’re really focused on our own site.

Sushant Misra 

Okay. And so given that you are doing your own website, do you do your own fulfillment? Like do you have a third party logistics? How do you fulfill orders?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, we have a third party logistics team that we work with. And so you know, even with that, you know, just have to be tremendous, you organized, you know, everything the label, barcode numbers, etc. and just have a good system. In good communication level back and forth. And so you know, for example, if you were in the website right now place an order, it would get routed to the proper person, you know, the right order will get picked, the right label will be put on there, and which be be shipped out, you know, get sent to you and arrive to your door in a few days.

Sushant Misra 

And you ship out internationally anywhere all over the world.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Not anywhere we do, too. I mean, obviously, the US, we do a lot of that, and then you have to select countries because you know, some countries also it’s tough to ship to and then if the order doesn’t arrive, then the customer blames you and they want the money back, but it might be lost in transit, etc. So, you know, I think early on, we just did a lot of analysis and said, okay, where do we think our customers are? Where do we see a lot of website traffic coming from? And let’s just pick, you know, the top 10 Top 15 places and just focus on shipping there. Yeah, I think in the future, we’re obviously opening up to more and more places. As we grow, and I think that’s something that you see with crowdfunding, two campaigns have tried to shift every country, they always end up messing it up, there’s no way to do it correctly, you’re better off selecting now, these are the 10 countries where a lot of crowdfunding orders come in, I’m just going to focus on those 30 to get it right. I mean, even if you go look on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, they have that option shipped to all countries, you know, it’s like 190 countries in the world. Okay. And, you know, when you think about it, like it’s in the best interest of Indiegogo Kickstarter for them to say that for you to agree to that, because it gives them more exposure as well. But, you know, on your end, you’re the one who’s responsible for delivering the product. So it’s very good as a part of that pre campaign planning process that we talked about earlier, to also just narrow down or say, okay, where will most likely the sales come from? Let’s just open up to those countries. And if you have a request from a different country, okay, look into it and see if it’s possible.

And then go from there.

Sushant Misra 

And what are your thoughts on shipping costs? Because I understand that your your bag is relatively heavy? I would think so. Do you offer free shipping on all your orders? Or? And if yes, like how do you manage that shipping costs? Do you add it to the cost of the product? Do you? You know, is it coming out of your own pocket? What are your overall thoughts on like the shipping costs?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

So with shipping, it’s definitely hard to get started, and to get good rates when you get started. So when we first started on Indiegogo, we actually did charge shipping to our customers because we were also trying to build a relationship with our carriers and our quarters like FedEx ups, you know, and the post office just to kind of understand what type of vibe would we have, etc. And obviously, in return, things were heavily discounted. Now on our website, you know, It’s different than saying Indiegogo, we have a different set of expenses and costs to go through. But one thing that we did include our model was free shipping to the customer inside the US, you know, we feel that if a customer is deciding on making investment of our bag versus another bag, we don’t want that to be a limiting factor. So it’s up to us to be as competitive as possible. And so yes, we do offer free shipping on all US orders in the lower contiguous 48 states.

Sushant Misra 

Okay, and what does your team look like right now? Is it just the two people or do you have like virtual assistants who work to help you with marketing and things like that?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, so right now I’m in terms of like full time, it’s just the two of us. And then we have a couple people spread all over the country and some, some in Asia as well. Well blessed with a variety of different things from customer service to managing social But primarily the two of us. Yeah. We also have health like quality control factory representatives, you know, photography, art direction, things like that. Yeah.

Sushant Misra 

Okay. I want to talk to you a little bit about your marketing. If you could share a little bit about, you know, what kind of marketing efforts work the best for you. Of course, I would assume that you have probably have a good large email list that you market to do you do a google ads, Facebook ads. And yeah, what kind of marketing efforts work best for this kind of product?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I think anything that’s really visual has worked well for us. Because the bag you know, has loved different pockets. You would love to see how it’s bad. So any visual platform has done really well. So in terms of ads, you know, it’s like Facebook and Instagram, working with some influencers or be ready to talk about You know the bag and detail how they would back it or how they have packed it. Those are the things that worked well for us. And also, you’re part of any good marketing strategy is not to over rely on one channel, or one method, you know, so, you know, yes, you know, there are things that work for us. And we’re also always testing on different things. And you’re trying to, you know, approach our customers in different ways all the time.

Sushant Misra 

And I know, when I search for your business, you have, you have a lot of good press, from like, a lot of good publications. Did that come about organically? Because you know, you had a great Indiegogo campaign and you have a good story, or do you actually have to go out and pitch to these publications? And what can other businesses learn from your experiences?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Um, it’s been a bit of a mix. A lot of people have found us. And then like, at certain times, when we were launching, then you go to campaign, we would, you know, hunt down anyone who would be remotely interested in our product, we’ve done a little bit of both, um, you know, and obviously the recommendation is to keep finding people who are relevant to your audience, you know, figure out the publication that your audience really trusts and, you know, find people within those, those areas. And, you know, especially early on if like, someone is looking for press or you’re looking for a way to reach out to reporters, without having any sort of budget, but you know, you have the best idea. There’s actually a resource that we used early on, and sometimes you use it today as well. It’s called help a reporter or herro hjr. Oh, and you know, they send out daily emails like one to three times a day of reporters, you know, who have a very clear ask of, Hey, you know, I’m ready for this publication. Looking for this type of product or service. If it’s you, please reply back, you know, with the specific guidelines. We did a lot of that, you know, like, for example, we were featured in the Los Angeles Times, you know, and that’s how we got that, you know, was just by I saw that come across, and we just replied and gave our story. So I think that’s something that often gets overlooked. You don’t always need to have the biggest budget, or the most amount of money to get in front of, you know, reporters and publications. If you just roll your sleeves up and start looking and googling, you know, you can find someone who’s willing to, you know, talk about what you have to offer. And I think your story is really important too, because people can tell when you’re just trying to sell a product versus like for us we really focus on why you know why we started Nomad lane, why, why we love travel, how it was the heart of our love story. So I think that’s, you know, it’s really important for an entrepreneur to figure out like, what’s their connection to the product and what’s their story and what makes them different.

Sushant Misra 

And also that What if he was few influencers on YouTube and other places have talked about your your products Do they have like done comparison and things like this? Is this more like that they are doing it on their own? Or is this more of a strategic business decision where you’re reaching out to them and saying, Hey, would you talk about my product? And like, Is there like some budget involved there? Can you share a little bit about, you know, what this process is like, and how is it beneficial for your business?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yeah, yeah, I think it’s been a little bit of both, you know, if you Google is now like, you know, like, one thing people love to do, especially e commerce, right, it’s different because you just click, click, click Buy, and it shows up at your door. So something has really taken off now as unboxing experience. A lot of people love to do this, you know, for their own channel. And, you know, a lot of people love to watch it as well. And so you know, kind of with that we kind of fit in where we feel we can make the most impact. So yes, we do work with some people. And there are others who do Just straight up order it and then all of a sudden you know we get notification Oh, someone mentioned your bag and we start Oh, this is good. I think we’re also just as excited to see these videos as other people are you know as well because it’s not something we like we I mean like, we have never 100% fully scripted a YouTube video you must say this and no, not at all you know, if you got a website you order it gets delivered. You talk about the way you want to talk about and that’s 100% accurate on how all the YouTube videos are our product as we like to look for when when someone reaches out to us to say someone’s like oh, I’m a YouTube influencer or Instagram influencer and could you send me a product? We go through like, you know, their entire feed every video they’ve done really trying to understand like, is this person authentic? Are they authentic to the travel industry? Do they know what they’re talking about? And do we make sure that you know the person really resonates as well?

Sushant Misra 

Okay, but there is no like legal process involved where, you know, you have to find a contract or anything that, you know, they don’t put a negative light on your brand or anything like that.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Um, yeah, we don’t control what they say. Yeah. So it’s an honest review. Like there’s no like, Oh, you should say there’s no talking points or anything like that. Yeah. In terms of like, if you paid for something like obviously, there was like written communication and like, Oh, you know, maybe we if we send a content creator bag, we’re like, oh, we would love you send us back some photos. That’s basically it. Yeah. Where to take you won’t see that. Absolutely. You cannot say this. And you cannot say that. It’s just good to, you know, kind of do your work up front. Understand, okay, what type of person is this? What type of audience they have, you know, what are their gut reactions, because, you know, it’s also on them to produce good content for their audience so people can come back to them and watch the videos and watch them content, you know, so, you know, just kind of pick and choose accordingly, you know, communicate as much as possible. And, you know, click play and watch their video.

Sushant Misra 

Can you share a little bit about? Do you have like any e commerce tool recommendations, or apps that worked really well for you in terms of like running or growing your business?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

So, you know, we are on Shopify, so that’s, you know, the most important one to us that we constantly work on and tweak etc. Yeah, I think also reviews are really important. We use the judge me app. And that’s worked pretty well for us too. So I think just having a good review flow and sequence is good.

Sushant Misra 

Social media when I looked at your Instagram profile, and, you know, of course, you know, you have a large audience there and you have beautiful photos. Can you share a little bit about your Content Strategy there I, what I saw? Is that a few photos there were like repost of other people. But other photos were product photos. Can you share a little bit about how you take those photos? Like do you? Do you hire a photographer to take those photos in like a in a studio setting? Or do you take them yourself? How do you take those photos? And is there a large budget involved in that?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Um, I think it’s a little bit of both. We have definitely scheduled some lifestyle shots, especially when we were in New York. And now we’re working with a couple of other people who are, you know, all over the US trying to pull in that content. And then we also love really sharing inspirational photos for us. It’s not really like, you know, we’re not like product profiles like buy, buy, buy, that’s not you know, that’s not how we operate on social. It’s very inspirational. We talk a lot about travel ideas, especially now that travel is changing so much. What else could you be doing? Like how do you spend time out Door safely. So it’s very, you know, informational and motivational.

Sushant Misra 

So right now you have, I think, one main product, which is called the bento bag. Um, and are you planning on adding additional products in the future? Is that something that you’re working on?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yes, in the future? Yes, we certainly will be adding on additional items and, you know, kind of, you know, right now, it’s a very rapidly changing time to sort of make sure we get a good grip on Okay, you know, once we can foresee, okay, here’s what the next six months, nine months 12 months will look like, you know, here’s, here’s what we’ll launch. We obviously have some ideas. And, you know, I think it’s just a matter of us to figure out kind of which one we think, you know, will be something that our audience will resonate with, and we will do that in 2021.

Sushant Misra 

Okay, now, I think in everyone’s entrepreneurial story, entrepreneurial journey, there’s Either mistakes made or their failures. Could you share one or two of your either biggest mistakes or biggest failures? And what have you learned from them? And what can other entrepreneurs Learn from your mistakes?

Yeah, I think

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

that is my perspective early on, like when you’re new to an industry or new to something that you don’t have background in. I think there’s a lot of people there who are waiting for people like us because they want to take advantage of you. You know, they want to manipulate you or they want to convince you that oh, this is fine. Trust me. You’re just starting. I’ve been doing this for so many years. No, you say be careful at every step of the way. Question, ask more questions. You know, think about it don’t make any quick rash decisions. You know, we, you know, just you and this is no secret but like I said, if you go look on our Indiegogo page, you’ll see if you scroll down, now we did have some problems with zippers. We didn’t have a really good understanding of how important this is. uppers are two bags, right? If your zipper breaks, even though it’s like the cheapest component or not, very expensive component of your bag, zipper breaks, the whole bag is useless. Yeah. So I think that was one of the biggest things that we had to dig ourselves out of, especially early on. So you don’t have understand what you’re doing. Ask a bunch of questions. Think about it. Yeah, talk to someone else, and then make a decision.

Sushant Misra 

So I guess, I guess, you know, in the, in the, in the zipper world, there’s probably like a premium zipper that that like that’s like the king of the purse.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Like a stack of zipper books like this big I don’t know if your screen is big enough to show how big our pilot zipper books are, but we will never make that mistake.

Sushant Misra 

For now I’m going to move on to the rapid fire round and basically in the throat. I’m going to ask you a few few quick questions and you can answer them in one or two words or one or two sentences. So the first one Do you have any book recommendation for entrepreneur or a business executive in 2020? And way?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

My favorite book that I recommend to everyone who I talked to, and it’s a book called never split the difference, and it’s written by a former FBI hostage negotiator. I think his name is Chris Voss. And, you know, especially paedo in times like this, where the whole world changing the pandemic going on, it just talks about how everything is negotiable. And in the end, in that respect, how to negotiate and the negotiation is not you know, you win, you know, you win, you lose, but it’s a very collaborative effort. So highly recommend the book never split the difference. And I would recommend the book shoot Yon. It’s a story of a Nike founder and having traveled to Japan and found these shoes and start his own zine. And it’s very inspirational for anyone starting a business.

Sushant Misra 

Perfect An innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you’re excited about.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

This is a tough one. I mean, we think there’s a lot going on, especially with us, because we are, you know, built on Shopify. And so like, it’s always interesting to see at the new apps and new integrations that come out. I mean, I think I mean, like, you know, even until today, I think Shopify is a very dynamic company, because it’s never been easier to start your own e commerce website. But also in the same token, it’s also never been harder to stay relevant over a long period of time.

Sushant Misra 

Any anything from you? Or does it okay? A productivity tool or software that you recommend? Anything that makes you productive?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I recommend air table. I use it for everything. It’s kind of like a mix of Pinterest and an Excel spreadsheet. So anytime the like trying to plan out a content calendar or even like our product messaging is a great way to bring in images as well

Sushant Misra 

a startup or business in ecommerce retail or tech that you think is doing great things.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

So something I think is interesting right now and we you know kind of have seen this and are interested in doing this is there is a company called show fields. And basically what they do is they’re like a pop up retail type experience. And they help a lot of digital brands like ourselves have our first physical footprint. And so I think it’s very interesting because you know, otherwise you only see like a brand like ours online only and, you know, something that we get a lot is hey, you know, I’d love to buy this but I just want to touch it, feel it, hold it before I buy it, and I think show fuels a company like shale fields.com is really helping to break down that barrier.

Sushant Misra 

appear entrepreneur or business person who inspires you.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani

I personally like Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. You know, she also, you know, in a similar situation to us, you know, bootstrapped her business not in a similar situation to us yet we’re not billionaires, but you know. Yeah, I think those types of stories we really like to you know, glean insights and learn more about because we try to take little tidbits and apply it to our situation.

Sushant Misra 

And the best, best business advice that you have ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs.

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

This this is like even more from like us growing up, you know, with our background, but you know, just the biggest thing I learned, you know, was just make money faster than you spend. That’s all you know, keep your overhead Low, you know, like, like I was never told not to spend money, or you know, I was just told if you’re going to spend it, make sure you make it faster than you spend it. So just keep that in mind.

Sushant Misra 

I think Warren Buffett says, you know, there are two two rules, the first rule is don’t lose money and second rule is don’t forget rule number one. And final question for you what what is it like to be in business with your spouse? Do you Is it is it easy to work? As you know, husband, wife, team, does it have any effect on your like personal relationship? How do you find working with your spouse?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

I think the most important advice we would give is to have like a clear division of responsibilities. You know, I handle all the marketing everything digital website, and quiche handles everything else that I don’t want to do. And so that once you have those lines, then at least there In a sense of separation, like who makes the final decision when it comes to certain things? Yeah, it’s also like very important to communicate as well as just day in and day out like even more so than you would if like, you know, for example if you know a husband, wife team if they wake up every day and go out to work in different jobs, and they come back and meet, you know, for us. Most days we sit this close to each other, you know, now we’re, you know, you know, we’re starting to get our own defined spaces, but it’s just a matter of like being flexible early on, figuring out your working style, and obviously you’re trusting the person you work with. So I think here we check those boxes each other I think

Sushant Misra 

okay, those were all the questions that I had now is your opportunity to share your business website any other products or services? How can people get in touch with you?

Kish Vasvani and Vanessa Jaswani of Nomad Lane

Yes, you can find us on our own website. It’s www dot nombre MADD lane.com. You can find us on Instagram with the same handle Nomad, Nomad lane, and on Facebook or at Nomad lane travel.

Sushant Misra 

Perfect. Thank you both to quiche and Vanessa, for joining me today for sharing your story, your personal story, your story, also a lot of the strategies and tactics that have helped you to start and grow your business. So thank you again for your time and for joining me today Trep Talks.

Thanks for having us. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with Aaron Spivak of Hush Blankets



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