The Sitting Disease is a real problem that most of us actually have due to our modern inactive lifestyle, both at home and at the workplace.
The staggering amount of time many of us spend being sedentary—up to 15 hours a day if we work in an office—can lead to problems inside and out of our bodies. Jon Lai, a Malaysian entrepreneur, is someone who has suffered backache for many years due to his nature of work which had him sitting and working on his computer all day.
“Two years ago, I spent about RM7,000 just to buy a duo-padded backrest ergonomic chair, the chair helps when I force myself consciously to sit upright. I tend to just slide a little to the front, forming a really lazy sitting position and back to an unhealthy sitting posture,” Jon explained.
Thanks to that expensive ergonomic chair, it gave him the idea to make a product that can pull him upright while sitting, so that the back will ache less.
“I ended up purchasing from overseas a product that uses your knee to pull your lower back forward and cost only a fraction of the RM 7,000 I’ve spent,” said Jon.
Overall the product was a good idea but it had too many flaws as the backpad was too small, uncomfortable and the knee pad was too rough that it hurt the knees, which pushed him to set out and create his own.
Getting Orders In Before The Product Is Made
Jon is no stranger to entrepreneurship as he has his own business in Jonlivia, which is a weight loss and slimming solution business that also sells sports apparel. With a background in that particular industry, he expanded Kiper out of Jonlivia into a standalone brand that was more focused on providing pain-free solutions and the means to a better body posture.
Kiper was officially opened for pre-orders on 4th October 2018 but the team had already spent months in preparing for it—from production refinement, marketing planning, building their audience, and even working with one of Malaysia’s leading bone setting specialist, Master Chris who has over 1.2 million followers on Facebook.
As Master Chris was a fan of Jonlivia’s products, he didn’t have a problem working with Jon on Kiper. Working with Master Chris helped Jon and his team to move towards the right direction during production refinement.
Taking inspiration from Oxwhite’s successful marketing efforts with the pre-ordering concept, Jon has also implemented it for Kiper products but with a twist: they also have an express order option.
Pre-ordering allows customers to get their products at the lowest pre-order premium in exchange of a longer waiting period of 45 days because they only start making the product when the order is confirmed.
An Express Order means you can get it from their ready stock at retail price. For Malaysians, as soon as you place an order, they will ship it within 5 working days. Hence, the retail price is more expensive a bit compared to the pre-order units.
Just as how Oxwhite was successful with their pre-ordering model, Kiper saw plenty of success too as they managed to bring in RM500,000 of sales through pre-orders and a total of 5,000 units of Kiper products in their first two months of launch.
Kiper’s main products are a Lower Back Brace priced at RM100 for express orders and Shoulder Corrector priced at RM99 for express orders.
For the Lower Back Brace, Jon mentioned that it’s a 15-minute solution to your back pain which is portable letting you carry it everywhere you go.
It works on a simple theory of using high tensile durable strap that connects a built-in memory foam backpad and also a pair of knee caps.
“By doing so you are retraining your sitting posture again, so that your will not exert unnecessary pressure onto the wrong parts of your body which is actually the number 1 reason for backpain,” said Jon.
“Good posture supports good health, alleviating pain, promoting blood circulation and lowering chances of injury, it is also said to boost confidence and good mood,” Jon added.
A Pain Of His Own
Kiper started with Jon at the helm and he put in RM30,000 of his own money into the business as during the beginning it wasn’t operational because they spent quite a large amount of time on product R&D and providing their early staff salary.
“The most challenging part about running Kiper has definitely got to be leading the team to do things in a hyper speed mode,” said Jon.
In the past, some of the staff couldn’t cope with the sudden changes in how the business was run and ended up leaving Kiper. A friend of Jon even told him that Jon runs the business like a jet ski rather than a cruise ship.
Another challenge that he faced was something similar with what Oxwhite faced with the pre-ordering model as Malaysians aren’t familiar with how the pre-order concept works.
“Although we’ve sent out an email to all purchasers stating it is a 45 days standard delivery due to its pre-order nature, about half of the early customers actually still missed that and expected an instant delivery,” added Jon.
In the end, Jon and his team had to call about 400 to 500 customers in two days to clarify and explain to them on the process of it.
Having sold 1000 pre-order units in their first 18 hours of launch, Jon is looking forward to future challenges as he hopes to reach Kiper’s ultimate goal of relieving 100,000 people from back pain and poor posture within their first year.
Feature Image Credit: Kiper