The Warmilu Story
I will start off by taking us back a couple months, and will make an honest effort to detail the happenings of Warmilu since we first started off as M-Wrap. In September, the five cofounders, Alex Chen, Grace Hsia, Rachel Rademacher, Heather Wilsher, and myself, took a senior design course where our professor Max Shtein turn our worlds up side down. Literally. Before we knew it we had all caught the “entrepreneurship fever” and were well on our way to creating a business out of our class project where we created a warming blanket for infants. As materials science engineers, we created a revolutionary heat source with the help of many mentors including Professor John Kieffer and Professor John Halloran. After being admitted into the Michigan Clean Energy competition and the university’s accelerator program called TechArb, our small company was well on its way to bigger and better things! From these great exposures, we got more media coverage and were awarded several grants. With each step of the way, we had mentors and peers guide us and provide invaluable advice and support, we couldn’t have done it without them! We started to refine our customer development and then began recruiting more team members to expand our area of expertise with Vivek Pejaver our Biomedical Engineering Intern and Austin Ruby, our Business Intern. With their help, our company was able to participate in the Spark Bootcamp as well as attend the Michigan Lean Startup Conference.
I think what sets Warmilu apart from other charitable organizations is our GOGO business model – give one get one! From the extensive amount of customer development our team has done, it seems to really resonate with the customers and has helped our team in more than one way. What I found from talking to others and a situation I find myself in a lot of the time when it comes to non-profit organizations who are doing great things is I don’t know where my donation is going! So while I feel like helping out for the cause, I don’t know what role I’d play. In Warmilu, we make it very clear that when you purchase a swaddilu (infant swaddling blanket) here in the United States at a local retail store or online, your money will be used to donate our infant warming blanket to a child in need. Customers directly see where their money is going and they get an infant blanket to keep as a memento. This up and coming business model was made popular by TOMS shoes. I was fortunate enough to go to a lecture given by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of the company. His message to the audience was to integrate philanthropy with business, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the success of it. Another fantastic “side effect” of the gogo business model is free marketing! Time and time again it has been shown that the best means of getting your message out there is through the customers themselves. Satisfied customers eagerly tell there friends, family, anyone who will listen really, about the cause and campaign for it. Zero dollar marketing ftw! These are only some of the benefits of the gogo business model and cause marketing, there are so many more that are unforeseeable when you are working towards a good cause. In the end, I hope that our message will give people in our communities the opportunity to change the life of someone who really needs their help, and save a life.