How can early-stage startups obtain their first 1000 customers? A case study for the sewing startup Maki

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Before this thesis, the startup Maki was founded with the aim to inspire people in their twenties to sew their own clothing. A product was developed which gained promising traction. But to scale Maki, gaining traction is vital, just like it is for other startups.

To answer the main question, ‘how can early-stage startups obtain their first 1000 customers? ‘, this thesis explores literature and distills 6 elements that seem essential for driving traction: segmentation, positioning, core message, channels & content, branding and revenue model. For every of these elements, experiments are done to find what works for driving traction for Maki. This includes for example deep dive interviewing, testing different positionings using Instagram Advertisements, trying out TikTok as a promotion tool, testing different brand identity styles and testing revenue model types.

The learnings from these tests are eventually combined into an implementation plan for Maki. But next to this, the learnings are combined in a compact, straight-forward manual (consisting of a Booklet and a Recipe Sheet) for other startup founders to use to experiment with their ‘traction ingredients’.