#NewToNext: Stephanie Ferro, Vodo Sound
December 17, 2019 | Inspiration
It makes sense that someone who has spent a huge amount of time thinking about sound is so astute at listening.
Stephanie Ferro has a natural curiosity about people, which allows her to seek out solutions to problems other people overlook. She founded Vodo Sound, beautifully designed wireless earbuds.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Vodo
I decided to start Vodo because I saw that there was an opportunity in this sector for products created with women in mind. Most of the existing audio products out there are made for men — you have bulky, heavy earbuds in your ears, or large over-ear headphones. Women are using earbuds all day that haven’t been designed for us. We need something comfortable, and that also looks attractive.
What made you fall in love with the technology sector?
I used to work at Dell Computers. I’d love to find gaps and, opportunities for improvements in even the most popular and well-loved products. I took that experience with me when I went into the audio sector and learned more about hardware and building products.
How important is it to have a community of women in the tech sector? What does that mean to you?
Having a community of women in the tech sector is incredibly important. Women can accomplish great things in any sector, but we need to have representation. The tech space is still so male-dominated. We don’t see many women go into tech because there is still an invisible barrier. When you go to a technology conference, I’d say it’s around 90% – 95% men. And you do get talked down to and treated differently. We need to break that barrier and the only way to do that is by having more women represented.
Can you share how you use your curiosity about people to create a product they love?
I’m a very curious person, and that’s how I ended up developing products. I read a lot. I read every portal, every review. I spend hundreds of dollars buying products to understand them and get an idea of how to make them better than what’s already on the market.
In audio, I saw that a lot of people were complaining about products’ comfortability and design. That’s how I created Vodo Vibe. When you cut the cords, the products just sit in your ears, and having a heavy product, bulky design, or hard plastic hurts. People are using earbuds for hours and hours, they’re blended into people’s lives. People use them to talk on the phone, they listen to music and at work to drown out excess noise.
I also noticed that people were complaining about the connectivity and sound quality. How can you reach the sound quality of the large, over-ear headphones that is a bigger product with a bigger driver? That’s why we have an ergonomic design so that it will seal your ear canal and give you a better listening experience.
I’m always learning and understanding what problems I need to solve. I pay attention to what people want and their complaints.
What’s the secret to a great Kickstarter project page?
Before you start a project, there’s a lot of work to do. People put up a project with a $30,000 goal, add a nice video and a description and send it out. That’s the wrong approach. You need to start way before that; two or three months before that. Your pre-campaign should focus on building a strong email list and following so that when your product launches, there’s already a lot of people engaged with your page. If your page launches with a lot of attention, the algorithm of Kickstarter will start pushing you up the ranks and show your page to more people. That attention is key to getting pledges.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned bringing a product to market?
The biggest lesson I learned about bringing a product to market is to learn not to wait so long. You will never be able to please everyone, and you will never be able to launch a perfect product. Maybe what’s perfect for me is not perfect for you and vice versa. I really like the Reid Hoffman quote:
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
I’m always looking to solve a problem and deliver something that’s different. We want everyone to try out our woman-owned brand in this space and to hear your feedback. We love feedback, positive or negative. I want to hear it all.
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