LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — BiteMyApple.co, an online retailer specializing in Kickstarter CE accessories, is expanding its product offering and plans to move beyond its realm of Apple-centric products.
The e-tailer, a one-man show helmed by formal U.S. postal worker Chris Johnson, currently offers about 40 products, all of which got their start on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Johnson said he is currently the exclusive seller for three of them, including his best-selling product, the Radius iPhone case.
Although most of the products are geared toward Apple users — one of its most recent introductions at press time was the Trygger, a polarizing filter camera clip for the iPhone 5 — the site does offer Android-specific SKUs. Johnson said he plans to sell accessories for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, and has a few already lined up.
Perhaps most surprising about BiteMyApple is that it has done zero advertising since it got off the ground in March 2011. Although Johnson did hire a PR firm to help him get the word out, he relies on his Google ranking and his clout with Kickstarter members. He told TWICE he has backed more than 100 projects, “so people are starting to understand who I am in Kickstarter and what I do.”
The site’s growth has exploded in the last year, and it has gone from shipping one or two items a day to shipping more than 600 in February. “Everything happened after the holiday,” Johnson said. “I got the exclusives, and those two exclusives really did it for me. For January, my sales were much better than December. It carried over to February, and in February it just took off even more.”
While Johnson isn’t involved in the device manufacturing process, he said the product designers often seek his feedback. Only successfully funded projects are sold on the site. “[Product developers] are now starting to come to me. The Kickstarter entrepreneurs who never really answered me are contacting me about selling.”
It is ultimately the distinctiveness of the crowd-funding site that helps Johnson compete against the big dogs of CE retailers. Although consumers may find a few of Kickstarter’s products in Best Buy or Target, “you’re not going to find the lineup that I have,” Johnson said. About 40 percent of BiteMyApple’s orders are international.
“Not everybody understands Kickstarter,” he added, “and not everybody wants to wait. They would rather have it available now.”