What inspired you to share the Thankyou story in such a raw honest way?
I wanted to show people the real side of chasing your dreams. It’s really hard! It can also be pretty lonely. You’re on this personal rollercoaster of emotions. There are a lot of stories out there, particularly in the startup space, where people have an idea and then bam! In the first couple of years they make a billion dollars – or something epic like that. I’m often left feeling like it’s pretty unachievable for most of us. Thankyou has had an especially slow start, but I’ve learned that not all ideas explode overnight. I wanted people to see the process, and to not be discouraged by it.
Why did you decide to flip the book?
It all started with kind of a pointless question. I asked myself “Why aren’t books written landscape? Why are they always vertical with text left to right?” Then I got to thinking, why don’t we question things more often? Why do we just accept things the way they are? That line of questioning is a big part of what got me on the Thankyou journey in the first place. So when you first start reading Chapter One, you’ll probably find that flipping the page up feels a bit uncomfortable. It’s different and weird, but to change things, you have to lean into that weirdness until you feel comfortable in it.
Why did you choose New Zealand as Thankyou’s first international venture?
Not many people know this, but heaps of the biggest brands in the world trial their ideas in New Zealand before anywhere else, because they say if a concept works in New Zealand, it’s bound to work globally. Australia and New Zealand have a great relationship, as Aussies, we’re empowered by NZ and vice-versa. We’re joining forces to let the people of the world know that they have the power to change stuff!
What made you want to launch a baby care range?
100% of the profits from Thankyou Baby will go towards funding health services for mums and bubs in need. We’re super passionate about fighting global disease caused by poor healthcare and sanitation. It’s the reason we started our body care range, and commit 100% of its profits to the cause. So Thankyou Baby is really an extension of that – except completely focused on baby and maternal services. Every year almost three million babies don’t make it to their first month, largely because of preventable issues. On top of that, every 90 seconds a woman loses her life during childbirth. Thankyou Baby will tackle those stats head on.
Are you nervous about the ‘pay what you want’ price tag?
Well… sort of. The optimistic part of me is excited, but there have been plenty of people who think we are devaluing the book by doing it this way. They say it’s nuts, because they think people will dodge the system and not ‘value’ the book properly. Oh and competitors could buy heaps of books really cheap and try and send us under. But I think pay-what-you-want taps into a deeper part of the human psyche, because it asks us to stop and think for a moment about what value means to us. The plan will work if the majority of people get behind what we’re trying to achieve and tap into their generous side. At Thankyou we’ve always placed our bets on that generous, giving part of human nature. It would be way too depressing to live life any other way!
What happens if you don’t hit your funding targets?
Ahh… Well we basically take on a billion dollar nappy empire without enough money to get the product through its first month of launch. We also take on a huge task of launching this concept successfully into another country without the base funds we know we need. I love dreaming big and being super resourceful, but we also have to be responsible. We’re probably going to need 10 times what we’re asking for, but if we don’t hit the funding targets we’re just going to have to wait until we do. From my perspective, it’s super clear that without the money we won’t make it. So basically failing is just not an option. Hence why I’m packing books eight hours a day, five days a week until we’ve hit the $1.2million target – to try and drive home just how important this funding is for us.
And if you go over?
Yes Yes Yes!! This is the right question! Ok I’ll calm down now. In the ‘Thankyou Chapter One Launch’ video, you would have seen what appeared to be an elephant covered in a black cloth – this represents our third target. To be clear, we’re not launching Thankyou Elephants, but if the book continues to sell, our targets will keep growing. And yes this does break ‘traditional’ crowdfunding conventions. Our Baby and NZ targets will help us gain some momentum, but I truly hope we go well over our goal of $1.2 million dollars in the years that follow. Once we’ve successfully launched Baby and NZ, we’ll announce where the money is going next and what impact it will make. I stay awake dreaming of the ‘when we go over’ scenario.
What’s the thinking behind Thankyou’s disruptive, and some may say risky, marketing campaigns?
Authenticity and boldness. Well that’s what I hope comes across! It’s risky to tell it like it is, particularly when you’re attempting bold stuff. Once we had a problem. We couldn’t get Thankyou Water into any national retailer. So we told people about it, and believed that if we got their support we could show 7-Eleven Australia that this idea had legs. It worked. Then we spent 2 years developing our food and water range and had an even bigger problem: after 5 years we couldn’t get Coles or Woolworths to stock a single bottle of water. So again, we took the facts to the people, and asked if they would support our products being stocked by either company. It was a yes for both in record-breaking time.
Every major campaign we launch has a huge element of risk involved. It could fail, hard. Maybe people like to back boldness?
I know I do. We’ll always put forward a simple call to action for people to play a small, but very significant part in an end goal. In the past that ‘small action’ was a click or uploading a video. Now with Chapter One, we’re crossing over into some scary ground, because we actually need people to part with real money to be part of this campaign. There’s a huge difference between a ‘like’ and a dollar we hear, but we’ll soon know if that’s the case.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Momentum changes everything. Years ago, a mentor shared with me in great detail the importance of momentum. Once you have it, you can do things and you can ask for things that you never could without it. When an idea has momentum, everyone wants to be part of it. When it doesn’t, it’s almost impossible to get anything off the ground. It’s something I’m constantly aware of. I spend most days asking myself, ‘How am I building momentum?’ And when I have it, I ask myself, ‘How I can keep this going?”
Where do you see Thankyou in ten years?
In 10 years time, it will be 4 years off the current global goal of extreme poverty being eradicated by 2030. As a concept, Thankyou works, and I believe it has the potential to be a serious contributor to this epic goal in 2030. Currently, we’re nowhere near where we need to be to do that. You could say we’re just at the start of our second chapter, but I will say this… I think we’re going to need to add a couple of 0’s onto that crowdfunding target in the years to come.
Want to be part of an idea that could change the course of history? Pay what you want for Chapter One & help end global poverty by funding the future of Thankyou: thankyou.co/chapterone.