As the cryptocurrency marketplace continues to become more mainstream, various industries continue to adapt and begin accepting various forms of payment.
One such industry that has just started to adapt is the bedding one, where CEOs such as Colin McIntosh of Sheets & Giggles has started to allow customers to pay with Litecoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and ETH.
We sat down with Colin for an exclusive Q&A to learn more about his views on cryptocurrency, why crowd-funding websites should start adapting more, and why he chose to take charge in the bedding world on accepting such forms of crypto.
What was your original motivation for getting into the e-commerce and bed sheet world?
At my last company where I was on the founding team, I developed an expertise in sales & marketing of physical goods (which is kind of the opposite of a lot of other startup folks in their 20s—everyone focuses on software).
At that startup, we took two wearable tech products from crowdfunding concept to nationwide retail, and I ran our business development. So, when I started my own company, I really wanted a physical product that was my own brand, and I knew I could succeed on the marketing side if the product was strong.
I really wanted to enter a commodities category that was highly fragmented and largely traditionally physical retail so I could shake up the industry. Everyone wants better products at lower prices, but that’s not really possible when you’re giving a brick-and-mortar retailer like Bed Bath 50% margins on your product (which they demand in this category).
Based on my prior experience, I knew that we could undercut retail pricing in this category by 25-40%, and by doing so we could deliver a luxury product at an affordable (~$100) price. I also wanted something that had a good mission to get me out of bed in the morning (pun intended), as my last company had a really strong mission (it was basically a modern Life Alert, and we definitely saved a few lives).
The sustainability aspect of our eucalyptus sheets fit that bill, so I made the decision to move forward with sheets. Plus, Sheets & Giggles is about the funniest name possible for a bedding business, so I had to do something with the domain—ha ha 🙂
When did you first become aware of cryptocurrency?
Probably around 2013 thanks to Reddit. I reallllllly missed that boat!
What are your views on cryptocurrency, whether it be positive or negative?
I’m very optimistic about cryptocurrency in general. I think the mission behind decentralized services and currencies, in general, is worth backing, and worth getting excited about. I think that the effect it’s had on startup funding (ICOs) is a double-edged sword. Ignoring the obvious problem of scams, it’s amazing that unaccredited investors can ‘invest’ in some ICOs that they think are worthwhile, but some companies have raised amounts of money equivalent to their Series A through D in a single day. As a result, they start spending it like it’s a seed round, and it’s gone in 18 months without having shipped a product. Startups are supposed to be scrappy and smart with every cent, but large ICOs take away some of that urgency.
You are currently planning on offering Litecoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and ETH to your customers… what do you hope this expansion of currency will bring forth?
On SheetsGiggles.com, we just recently added the ability to pay in Litecoin, Bitcoin, BCH, and ETH. I decided that we’d take crypto payments after I emailed Bed Bath & Beyond one day in February and asked if they accepted Bitcoin. I got a pretty clear “no,” but they said they’d look into it (spoiler: they haven’t changed anything). I figured someone in the space should accept it, so I went ahead and added it to our site’s payment portal in order to expand the amount of essential everyday items that someone can buy with crypto.
Do you feel that sometimes cryptocurrency scares people off? Or with sites like Shopify making it easier, more people are able to adapt?
I think it absolutely does. I both like and dislike having each coin’s logo next to major credit cards and PayPal’s logo: on one hand, it’s nice to legitimize them as valid ways to pay for everyday items. On the other hand, I think it can be confusing for people that don’t know that it’s just another payment choice, and I have noticed a drop in cart completion with the addition of the coin logos.
We’ll monitor it for a while and make a final decision about if we’ll keep the crypto options long-term. People also have a misconception that cryptocurrency is only used for illicit goods and illegal actions, which is a frustrating stigma that I’d like to challenge.
Your products are not thousands of dollars cost wise to buy… so how do you figure you are going to incorporate cryptocurrency once you do start offering it?
Coinbase has a really simple plugin that allows people to buy products on Shopify-hosted sites with crypto, and then it pays the company in USD. It’s really straightforward, and I’m excited to get our first crypto purchase.
You ran a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign for your company… do you think cryptocurrencies should be offered as a way to contribute to the crowdfunding process in the future on various platforms?
I think that just like Shopify and Coinbase have worked together on an integration, Kickstarter and Indiegogo should add cryptocurrency as a payment option as well.
I do think that crowdfunding campaigns already suffer from a lack of legitimacy (some scams, a lot of inexperienced founders that don’t know how to deliver a product, and a decent amount of campaigns never ship anything), so the answer of ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ isn’t as straightforward as it was for Shopify.
Crowdfunding campaigns have worked hard to build and protect their legitimacy, so I think the biggest challenge with any integration would be the PR side of things.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
1) Go out of your way to make people happy. It’ll come back to you in spades over the long term.
2) Before building a product, come up with a sustainable, profitable, long-term business model that leverages your personal strengths and skills. Then, build or adapt a product that fits within that business model. You’ll be much more successful than if you just build a product, and then try desperately to get people to pay for that product (most founders build the ‘thing’ and then try to build a business after).
Do you feel in the future other bed sheet product brands in your industry or stores that sell items like yours (such as Bed Bath & Beyond) will start accepting Bitcoin and other forms?
Maybe some of the startups, but definitely not BB&B! I literally have an email from them from six months ago that said they would look into it (spoiler: they haven’t).
Other startups in this space tend to have a more ‘serious’ brand than we do (I don’t know why; we’re selling bed sheets, not curing diseases or going into space). I think that as uptight as some of my competitors are, they might not work with cryptocurrencies until they’re faced with the prospect of losing money if they don’t.
Outside of work, do you trade cryptocurrency personally and follow it?
I’ve traded some coins… I don’t talk about it that much. Not that I’ve lost an embarrassing amount of money betting on the wrong coins, or anything. I follow it as closely as I can (mostly by subscribing to different subreddits). There’s just too much info out there to stay as informed as I’d like, so I stopped trading and just enjoy following the news now.
Where do you see Sheets & Giggles in five years from now?
I’ve said from day one that we’re building a pun-based bedding empire. I want people to eventually think about their bedding choice from a material and brand perspective, vs ‘which 300-thread-count cotton sheets are the cheapest?’ It would be amazing if in five years, people are Googling ‘eucalyptus sheets vs cotton’ before they decide to buy the same old thing that hurts the environment.
Anything else you wish to add on the subject of crypto?
I think it’s amazing how much crypto has changed the lives of some friends of mine. I have friends who have been able to pay off student loans, put down payments on homes, and have flexibility to start a business because they bought the right coin at the right time.
WEBSITE URL: https://sheetsgiggles.
TWITTER URL: https://twitter.com/
Written / Interview By Steven Goodman exclusively for cryptocurrencynews.com