Interview With Lisa Lane
Describe your product or service:
“We manufacture and market Rinseroo products. At Rinseroo, we are reinventing the way we rinse, clean, and bathe with our patented slip-on shower attachment hoses.
We create problem-solving tools for your home, and our products are designed to make your life just a bit easier. Our patented slip-on connectors stretch up to 10 times their original size and instantly convert showerheads and faucets into rinsing, cleaning, and bathing machines! Our customers love the no-install design and use them all around the house. There are so many things that you can do with a Rinseroo! Use them to bathe a dog, clean a shower, fill a bucket from a sink, and more!”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is to create problem-solving tools for the home in the cleaning and bath space. We are dedicated to creating innovative products that save time and money, and our goal is 100% customer satisfaction. We believe that happy customers help to grow our brand.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“We currently have two employees: [I am] the president, and Jake Lane, [my] son, is our ecommerce manager. We also have a few part-time employees who help with social media, advertising, and bookkeeping.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I was a pharmaceutical sales rep out of college, and I always loved sales and marketing. Back then, there was no internet and no such thing as ecommerce, so the thought of running my own business was always in my head, but it wasn't as easy back then in the ‘80s. I really started to think about having my own business when Amazon first launched. I had young kids back then, and I started to dream about what it would be like to have an online business and be able to be home with them. I started by writing a couple of books about how to break into pharma sales and sold them online. The income from my books allowed me to earn enough money to be a stay-at-home mom. From there, I have always had the motivation to continue with entrepreneurial pursuits.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“The Rinseroo happened as an ‘ah-ha’ moment in my shower. I was at my beach house with my extended family. There were 15 of us in all and four dogs. I was constantly cleaning my showers and bathing my dogs and thought, ‘there has got to be a better way!’ It was right there in the shower when I realized that [I] could have a product with mass-market appeal.
I did a lot of research, [and] read a great book: ‘Mom's Inventors' Handbook: How to turn your great idea into the next big thing’ by Tamara Monosoff. After doing a lot of digging, I figured out how to make my idea into a product and realized that I really did have great sales potential. After creating a working prototype and getting feedback from friends and family, I decided to go for it. They gave me the confidence that I needed to forge ahead.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I wanted something catchy and unique but also wanted a name that I could trademark. It had to sound a bit like what its function was. We also wanted to create a website with the name, so the domain also had to be available. We played around for months with names and finally came up with Rinseroo. The key, too, was that [the name should be] broad enough so that it would still make sense if we decided to scale with line extensions, etc.”
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What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“When I first launched, I found that our entire first order of Rinseroos was assembled improperly. The only solution was to open every box, remove the contents, reassemble and retape every box. It was extremely stressful because I had no staff to help and had to recruit my husband and family to help. That mistake was time-consuming and definitely NOT FUN! Thankfully we persevered and learned a lot.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“The Rinseroo really is a mass-market product. Virtually anyone who sees it can find a use for one. It's great for bathing dogs, cleaning showers, bathing the elderly who need to [be] shower seated. It's also great for filling a bucket from a sink, rinsing hair or a baby in a sink, filling a fish tank. The uses are endless, and our customer demographic is just that, everyone!”
What's your marketing strategy?
“At the moment, most of our business is online. If anyone is online and searching with any of our top keywords, our goal is to get the Rinseroo in front of them on search results. We do this with online advertising. We have also connected with some large TikTok influencers who have shown the Rinseroo in action and that also helps to drive sales.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We initially applied to the Grommet and were approved to sell on their platform. They have a huge following and help small businesses with good products launch. They placed a PO, showed it to their customers, and the Rinseroo really took off. From there, it was picked up by Buzzfeed, and then we got a great ranking on Amazon. Ever since then, we have been on an upward trajectory.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“We really don't have a repeat customer, so we are focused on growing with new customers. Much of this we do by customer referral and word of mouth. As such, we are very focused on customer satisfaction and customer service. If anyone has a problem, they know that they can reach out to us, and we will make it right. If they are happy, they tell two friends and so on. It's an old strategy that really pays off.”
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“Book: ‘The Mom's Inventors' Handbook: How to turn your great idea into the next big thing’ by Tamara Mosonoff.
Podcast: ‘Contender Cast’ with Justin Honoman (great because it features other entrepreneurs and their journeys. I find a lot of useful info when I tune in.).”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“I have learned several important things during this journey:
1. Bringing a product from concept to store shelves can take a couple of years.
In our case, it took approximately three years. I don’t think it is a good idea to rush the process. Taking the time to tweak, learn, and plan is a great strategy.
2. Bringing a product to market will cost more than you might expect. Our product was not high tech, didn’t have any intricate parts, and we didn’t have huge mold costs, but everything added up. Try to estimate your costs before starting out and add at least 25%. Prototypes, samples, drawings, patent and copyright, etc., are just a few of the startup costs.
3. Regardless of how successful your product is, you should be prepared to not make a cent during the startup phase.
This is just the honest truth. If you can’t afford to not make money, know that you are trekking out on a difficult path.
4. Half of bringing a product to market is development. The other equally important part is marketing.
My life prior to starting this endeavor was in sales, and that experience has helped tremendously on this journey. If you are only a maker and not a marketer, you may need a partner who is, or you may need to hire one.
5. The most successful products check all of these boxes:
It is demonstrable, it solves a problem, it is an improvement over what is currently available and appeals to the masses. When I started, I knew that the Rinseroo left no box unchecked, and that gave me the confidence to start.”
Who is your support system?
“Thankfully, I have a great support system. It's great to know that I am not always alone on this journey.
It was one of my lifelong college best friends, Carolyn Favorito Esq., that really motivated me to pursue this. We met our freshman year while attending the University of Delaware. Lucky for me, she also happens to be my patent attorney.
When others told me that they didn’t think that I could get a patent, she told me that I could and encouraged me to pursue it. I hired her, and she fought for my patent as if it were her own. If it wasn’t for her, I may have given up. She is my biggest cheerleader and motivator.
I also rely on my family when things get tough or overwhelming. My son works for me full time, and he really knows how to step up to the plate when I need him to. He is great at all the things that I am not fond of, such as logistics and shipping. We make a great team!
My husband also helps out a ton in a pinch. He also has a full-time job, so I try to rely on him the least, but he really has been a trooper through it all!”
How do you stay motivated?
There is nothing quite like being an entrepreneur. Running your own business can be stressful and unpredictable. The day-to-day outcome depends on my performance, and when I get up in the morning, I am always fully aware of that fact. That alone is motivating.
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“I only have two full-time employees, and I have really learned to wear many hats. One day I might be doing marketing, and the next, I am stickering boxes to ship. I have learned that when you are part of a two-man band … you need to be able to play a lot of instruments!”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“I am most proud of the fact that I was able to hire my son to work for me full-time when he graduated from college. He graduated in the height of the COVID pandemic when jobs were hard to come by. The timing was perfect. I needed help, and he needed a job. He is learning a lot, and my goal is to grow this for him. He brightens all of my days and is the reason that I get out of bed in the morning.”
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More on Rinseroo
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