First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sarah Gibbins: Great! Here in Melbourne, Australia, we’ve been homeschooling and working from home since March. Aron has four kids, and I’m a single parent of two kids, so it has been challenging, to say the least. It’s been a messy and wild ride, but we’re somehow making it through, and we have a great product we’re launching!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lyf Board
Sarah Gibbins: Aron has been building businesses and IoT products throughout his career. Aron came up with the idea for Lyf Board after deciding there wasn’t a product out there designed specifically for family communication. With six kids and two parents working, family communication and management was a constant struggle and the cause of a stress-related illness. Lyf Board was born out of a real need to support the enormity that can be the family juggle. I’ve been working in consumer marketing throughout my career. When I met Aron, it was all about an alignment of values as much as finding a complementary skill set to launch Lyf Board.
How does Lyf Board innovate?
Sarah Gibbins: Our complementary skill sets mean we are constantly thinking of new ideas based on what we’re learning from consumers while launching Lyf Board. We now have a robust blueprint for getting a product to market on a set budget and timeframe; it will be easy to replicate with the next idea.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Sarah Gibbins: Overall, we’re coping really well. We’re patient with each other’s additional family/homeschooling commitments and the occasional screaming kid in the background of the phone calls! There are a few different ways COVID has disrupted the business. Shipping times are almost impossible to predict for us as we will be delivering the product next year. Working from home has been fine, but I definitely prefer face-to-face working for part of the week to make decisions quickly and keep the business moving at a higher pace. Our customers are also at home and juggling even more with work and kids, so from a demand point of view, I think COVID has highlighted the need for technology that really supports family life in a tangible way.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Sarah Gibbins: Luckily, we were in start-up mode with low overheads and no staff. We outsource all our work to specialists globally, which has worked exceptionally well during the last six months. It’s also been nice to talk to people from Israel to the USA and get an insight into their lives working from home. We really are all in this together.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Lyf Board in the future?
Sarah Gibbins: Exercise and taking it one day at a time. We’re at the very beginning of our business journey, so who knows what lies ahead! If you think about it, without the stress and anxiety we’ve experienced as parents and particularly this year, we may never have designed Lyf Board!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sarah Gibbins: While there are no other family technology products exactly like ours, we are up against the big incumbents with voice tech/home screen devices. We are mission-driven and only care about making a product that helps families. This gives us a lot of freedom when we are designing the product. We also have the freedom to ensure that we create a device that prioritizes data privacy, which is essential for most families. We won’t store any data on the cloud; it will be stored on the device only and controlled by the customer.
Your final thoughts?
Sarah Gibbins: We can’t wait to launch pre-orders for Lyf Board on Kickstarter on September 22nd, 5:25 am PST. We have a limited number of Lyf Boards available for 40% to our early bird customers.
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