In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Bill and Ed Ovenden, brothers who have established the bedroom brand, The Lad Collective. Founded in 2020, Ed and Bill have developed bed sheets that even bloody useless Australian males can use. Corner tags, magnetic clips, zip in pillow slips – it’s totally idiot proof. But jokes aside, there is a serious side – they’ve developed a version of the product which is registered with the NDIS – National Disability insurance scheme which even includes braille sewn in.
In this very entertaining conversation, Ed and Bill share the launch prank they did in the Brisbane river which got the PR machine pumping and their business started. We also discuss cease and desist letters, how they screwed up their first pre-orders and why Ed has his mobile number in the website footer. There are some gems in there too I promise.
“That was an eye opener for us…we thought, geez we gotta lift our game in the bedroom”Ed Ovenden
Questions answered in this episode include…
- What makes The Lad Collective sheets different?
- You’ve had some brilliant PR so far? What’s your secret to getting mainstream attention?
- What’s the best and worst thing about running a business with your brother?
What is it with Ausse blokes and bedsheets?
(Ed)”Three or four years when Billy and I lived in a share house up in Airlie Beach, we just ran amok up there and we just didn’t take care of ourselves in the bedroom and neglected that pocket of our life and just focused on partying, going around the Whitsundays, all that sort of stuff. And that’s when we sort of came to a realisation that when you fly the coop and you leave home, your mum’s not there to look after you anymore! So that sort of was an eye opener for us when we sort of left Airlie Beach, we’re like, “Geez, we got to lift our game in the bedroom department.”
That was the genesis of The Lad Collective story. We are your everyday Aussie bloke who has never bought bedsheets or thought of bedsheets before. And there’s a huge problem out there, Bushy. So one in four Aussie men aged 18 to 35 only wash their bedsheets four times a year. So it’s a clear indication that there is a huge gap in the home bedding space, in the home bedding market, and we need to take care of these lads.”
A rocky launch
(Ed) “We launched a PR activation in August of 2020 where we got a bunch of our mates and we got four three and a half meter tinnies, little boats, and made these huge signs, these and each sign said, “Get your sheet together. The Lad Collective.” One sign said, “You’re a grub in the bedroom.” And we got megaphones. We paraded down the Brisbane River under the Story Bridge, went to Felons, the whole lot.
And we were yelling out at blokes on the bank, telling them to clean their sheets and make their bed in the morning. And everyone was having cocktails at Felons, and we were filming these sort of lunatics on tinnies with megaphones, just yelling out all sorts of things about bedroom hygiene.”
(Bill) “And the tinnies were clearly so overloaded and unstable. The Brisbane River at the best of times is just the biggest wind funnel. And we were just finding out the front of Felons, we were just bordering on capsizing and it was just chaos.
(Ed) “The signs were picking up the wind and we were getting sort of towed along and it was just carnage…but yeah, traffic to the website, brand new website, that was a successful mission in our books.”
Everyone in the pub is a customer
(Bill) “It’s not only the blokes, it’s the parents that buy for themselves, buy for their partners, buy for their kids, buy for their nieces and nephews, all that sort of stuff. So the way in which we position the creative and the way we work out the seasonality of styles around that creative, say Valentine’s day is coming up, if we’re running a campaign, who are we targeting? What’s the offer? And then the same goes throughout the year. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas and so on.So it’s a great gift, we’re finding.
And I think in terms of the total addressable market, we could walk into a pub this afternoon and every single person in that pub is a customer. So how are we going to position the product in front of them to make them more likely to purchase it? And I think it is just tapping into that consumer psychology, your value proposition, all that sort of stuff.
And by extension of that, with the press that we had early in the piece, we actually put ourselves on the map in the broader disability and aged care space as well. So a separate revenue stream for us is servicing the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and aged care and formalising our business in that space by way of becoming a provider, because we’re finding people with disabilities using our product, becoming more independent, taking pride in their bedroom. Their carers didn’t necessarily have to shoulder the load by making the bed each day. I think independence is key and this product enables exactly that. So we’re finding growing traction in the space and we’re just very focused on diversifying sales channels and revenue streams and supporting the growth.”
Links from the episode:
- The Lad Collective
- Hi-Vis on Mental Health: The TradeMutt Story | #035
- Trade Mutt
- Jay Wright
- True Protein
- Gerrard Gosens
- Shopify Plus and Muscle Nation (sponsored)
- Signet and Hoppy Days (sponsored)
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