Girish SEO Company Melbourne & Dan Angelini
Dan Angelini is owner and founder of Movi Stand Up Desks and has compiled and authored a book The Standing Epidemic
This is a summary of what was said in our first ever podcast.
Movie Workspace what is the story? What drew you to leave 9 to 5 and start your whole business?
I have a strong interest in health. I spent a lot of time behind my desk and in front of my computer. 5 years ago I started researching about sitting and the idea that sitting is the new smoking. I looked into standing desk products and the potential to create a book.
IT tools are great to collaborate and share with fellow workers. But then you never leave your desk. Everything is done online. Which is great for efficiency, but is bad mechanically for our body and it takes away our movement and after much research I learned how bad it is for our health.
So working in the IT space, what where some of the things you did to make sure you were not constantly sitting, did you own a stand up desk yourself?
I did I brought up a stand up desk to Uber, when I started working their 4 / 5 years ago. I bought an Ikea side table and then eventually Uber bought desks and rolled them across the office. Some of the different things we did to change the culture, walking meetings, lap around the block. Having meetings standing up around a whiteboard. To try and get rid of the big blocks of sitting.
Do you think that when you implemented the desks at Uber, did you notice that people were receptive to using these desks and did you see the difference it made in their work environment?
Unless people understood what standing desks are about they weren’t really interested in trying. We had the people who had used them and loved it and then we had the other people that didn’t take interest in them.
I was using the desk myself, I found that I had better energy and was more productive. This was another reason why I wrote the book, if people don’t understand what’s good for them and why they need to move, they won’t see it as a positive thing.
In this book you’ve done a lot of research with academics and athletes, what challenges did you face writing? and how long did it take you to get this published. Were there any interesting athletes who helped you shape the book?
It was unintentional, I was curious and researching. In this book were a lot of medical journals published by universities, originally this was a starting point. I was reading all this stuff and summarising it, imagining that it would become blogs.
Overall the book probably took a year and a half. It was a year of researching and googling after doing all of that, I thought what if a doctor picks this up and says you’re not not a doctor you haven’t verified this, I then went and spoke to some experts.
One of the most interesting experts was a neurosurgeon, he does spinal surgery and says most of his work is lower back related operations. It’s 50+ year old professionals who have been sitting for years. He says 100% a link between sitting and lower back pain. It’s hard to be away from our computer at work, the standing desk is a good tool to have.
When did the Movi start and who is the ideal customer?
The first year revolved around research and understanding the problem. Then it started looking at more products on the market, comparing the products and testing them with different people. We then worked with furniture designers to come up with a simple concept. It came down to 3 key thing you need as a user. You need space, ergonomics and stability.
We are focusing on the creative industries digital marketing agencies, designers and architects. We have a broad range of customers. The people we are attracting are those who prioritise health and have a work hard play hard mentality.
How would you say you stand amongst your competitors?
It’s more expensive because it offers a lot more, our product provides long term benefit. Hopefully in the future we are able to bring out a lite version of the product.
We are currently 100 to 200 dollars more than a competitor product. You are getting more space and electric systems that works automatically which is important for those with injuries. It’s important that we make the desk feel like home.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face?
A lot of the start-up stuff has been a challenge, small team and raising funds. Being a hardware business, manufacturing is tricky and takes time. We did a kickstarter campaign it was supposed to take 6 months, it’s now taken 12. Physically setting up a supply chain is tricky, but once it’s established its great because you can scale fast. Really interesting learning experience but really hard.
When I started looking at the products, I thought surely in 6 months we’ll be up and running. We spent a couple years doing the design and prototyping. I spent 12 months going around Australia talking to factories seeing if I could get it made here, there’s not much interest for consumer type products in Australia.
Now you’re getting your desks made in china?
Yeah, we’re set up in China, you can get all spectrum of quality that’s why you need to physically spend the time going and walking the floor on these places.
How long have you had the website moviworkspace.com?
We’ve had a few different versions of the website. When you start a project you have an idea of a concept and how it evolves, we’ve gone through different phases. We had a simple website up for 2-3 years. The first platform we used was custom coded no CMS, I was still working full time and I wanted to rush into getting something live.
With the custom built CMS what kind of challenges did you face if you wanted to change something yourself?
I had no control, if it was small changes I could jump into the code myself. For big changes I had to contact the guys with a brief, they were in the UK so time zones were a problem.
How did you think you went with the custom built CMS, was it getting picked up by the search engines better?
Not really, it didn’t give me much flexibility in terms of creating new pages, adding content and changing page titles. We had a big long landing page and one other page. I didn’t think it through.Twelve months later, the company was bigger and we couldn’t grow or change it, it’s a one time use thing. It was a brand identity phase, it was first version of what this business going to be about.
What was the next platform your website moved to?
We used WordPress, we wanted to focus on blog content. WordPress was a bit cheaper and flexible. We ran that for 12 months when it came to launching a shopping cart we didn’t think woo commerce, Shopify seemed to be a market leader.
You’re happy with Shopify and the services you’re receiving?
Yeah, Shopify has been great. It covers blogs well it has good SEO control and the app integration is great. We need to create a US store, I was googling before, you can find apps that duplicate your store. For what you get Shopify is relatively cost effective.
What mediums are you using to promote the desks?
We’ve done some pre-launch and pre orders. We’re having our official launch later this month.
We’re doing a lot of organic stuff such as email marketing, blogging, social content and a bit of SEO which has really helped. Optimising page titles and meta descriptions has really helped us get on the first page.
Where is the business right now, are you currently taking orders for the next batch?
We’ve got some stock at the moment, we have some more arriving tomorrow and then we are officially good to go. We’ve been trickling through some orders. We don’t have all options in at the moment, we’re almost there. I think we’ll ramp up with focusing on Google ads.
Are you doing any offline campaigns to promote Movi?
We’ve done some expos throughout the year. We are doing one with Startup Grind. We are going to be one of the exhibitors at their conference, we’ll have the desk on display and do a physical activation. We’ll also do product trials, send the desks out to offices and allow them to try it and then have a chat to get the feedback.
Do you offer pricing plans?
We have integrated Afterpay and are looking to set up Zip Money. Those options are great and easy to set up with shopify. We’re also currently looking at a rental option.
The rental option could be another revenue stream for you, especially because you’re starting off and trying to get bigger orders.
Yeah, It’s an easy way for more people to try it. We want to try and get it out to a big audience.
Do you take refunds or returns?
We offer a 30 day guarantee, free delivery and 5 year warranty. We haven’t had any returns so far. All the customers have been happy with it, I think it’s good to offer a guarantee with a new product.
Do you have a strategy in place for video content?
Yeah, I know we need to create more video content, we have a youtube channel. We need to create more how-to product videos. Our company doesn’t like to do anything that doesn’t look great. If you cut corners, you don’t get a good finished product. To do good quality video production can be expensive. We have started storyboard and we’re definitely looking into it next year.
Where do you see Movi 4-5 years from now?
Standing desks and wellness in the workplace is still in the early stages. I think in 5/10 years time it will be more common for companies to be offering their teams a lot of different options to make sure they’re looking after them.
From a product side we want to create more things to make your day more productive and create a nicer working space. We’re also looking to expand internationally, we’re getting a lot of enquiries from the US so hopefully next year we can start to get the ball rolling with the US presence.
Do you think the competition in other countries is fiercer than australia?
I think in the US it is, in most countries there’s not much choice but in the US there is plenty of market for people.
Another aspiration is to start looking at health data. Tracking your movement throughout the day, sitting/standing time and when you’re taking breaks. We are trying to create a picture of physical health and wellbeing in the office.
Synergies with companies like Fitbit would be ideal because you could get the data you want. Just to get an idea of the lite version, what will it be like?
It will be smaller and simpler, we have lots of extra features the desk is currently made of premium bamboo wood. Paring back some of those features to get it into the market at a $600 price point.
Thank you for chatting with us, best of luck with Movi for the future. I hope you do reach your ultimate goal.
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