Kietoparao is a small startup from Bilbao, Spain, created by four women who wanted an alternative way to entertain their children while out for a coffee or drink.
Let’s examine how their idea came about, and how they found support to launch their brand into the market. These creative and innovative moms worked hard to make the brand known to families nationally and internationally.
Originally published September 29, 2019 / Last updated March 10, 2021
Kietoparao was founded to solve a pain point in the founders’ own lives. These four moms and aunties wanted to go out for a drink or coffee and socialize with each other. However, with small children in tow, that’s easier said than done, unless you rely on the quick fix of gluing your kids to a smartphone screen.
While it may be impossible to completely prohibit children from using mobile phones, the moms of Kietoparao advocate for responsible use, so that the devices don’t inhibit the children from interacting with and playing with other kids.
The founders, who have backgrounds in tech startups, analyzed the positive aspects of digital devices and applied them to an analog game kit. To make the kit as attractive as a mobile phone, they focus on including more than 12 games with various functionalities in each. The kits, made for children ages 3 to 10, weigh only about 200 grams and are made from recycled and plastic-free materials.
And the best part? As Wi-Fi isn’t necessary, kids can play with a Kietoparao kit any time, anywhere, without worrying about signal status or data consumption.
Find a pain point, and resolve it
The founders of Kietoparao, as seen on their website.
Once the idea materialized, the founders began selling the kits among friends, and to groups of parents on WhatsApp. In fewer than 10 days, they managed to sell all the kits they had designed for the first batch. At that moment, they realized there was an interest in their product beyond just their own families and friends.
What they didn’t know how to do was reach more people beyond their social circle with methods beside word-of-mouth. So, they turned to Heepsy for help.
Heepsy’s former Agency team contacted a number of mommy influencers who identified with Kietoparao’s values and who were willing and able to naturally communicate these values and show the brand’s products in their Instagram content. Even though Instagram is a top social network for gaining brand awareness, it’s critical to find the right influencers to communicate the brand’s message, so that it is authentic and credible to followers.
First steps in marketing
An example of a Kietoparao game kit, from the brand's Instagram account. This Medium Kit for children ages 4+ includes four games: tic-tac-toe, chutes and ladders, a wooden tangram, and a Montessori mytery bag.
Heepsy launched Kietoparao’s Instagram influencer campaign in Spain. Two categories of influencers came on board: micro influencers with just 5-10K followers, and larger scale micro influencers with 10-40K followers.
The goal was to publish Instagram stories and/or posts with a promotional code, so that followers could take advantage of the collaboration with a discount on Kietoparao kits. This would help publicize the brand among the influencers’ followers, getting the brand's name and values out there to the target audience.
The results of the campaign were more than 50 stories and 8 posts from the 8 influencers who were publishing content. Kietoparao increased its Instagram followers and got some brand recognition.
The influencer campaign
Master influencer marketing with Heepsy
Another idea came up during Kietoparao’s early days in marketing: crowdfunding. This collective financing helps a project come to life through financial donations from a large audience. Kickstarter is perhaps the most famous example of a crowdfunding website, and it’s what was used in the case of Kietoparao.
Kickstarter sets some conditions for the project. The brand had to get the necessary funding of $20,000 within 20 days, and paid advertising on social media was prohibited. This was obviously a challenge.
We knew perfectly well that in order to reach that figure, the promotion had to be more widespread. So we decided to focus on broader markets such as France and the US.
We collaborated with 19 Instagram influencers who were willing to communicate the brand to their followers despite not receiving any kind of fee in return. Through a personalized link in the influencers’ Instagram stories, their followers would be redirected to Kickstarter, where they could make a donation.
A step further: crowdfunding
“What has worked best for Kietoparao so far has been influencer marketing, due to the type of product. The Kickstarter campaign allowed us to have visibility in markets where we had no presence.”
Maria, one of the creators of Kietoparao, is positive when recommending Kickstarter but provided some guidance: “I would recommend it but as long as it is well-prepared. Kickstarter requires a huge amount of previous work, as well as work during and after the campaign. There are many months of work involved and in very few cases there is the 'luck factor' that makes the campaign take off. You need a lot of resources and a lot of people working on the campaign.”
Thanks to the hard work of the Kietoparao and Heepsy teams, as well as the influencers involved, the Kickstarter campaign was a success. The brand exceeded its $20,000 necessary funding and the dream of these moms became a reality. Further, all the influencers who collaborated with the brand were impressed by the great idea that led to the creation of Kietoparao, as well as the quality of the brand’s game kits.
In the words of Maria:
An Instagram post announcing Kietoparao's Kickstarter campaign.
Heepsy’s influencer campaign and the Kickstarter campaign both happened back in 2019. We thought we’d take a look how the brand has been doing on social media since then.
At the end of 2019, Kietoparao had 9.3K Instagram followers; today, they have 20.4K. Although this growth may seem slow, its steady pace suggests that it is organic. Followers are finding Kietoparao and following because they like the brand’s content and/or believe in their products.
Update: Where are they now?
If we look at the demographics of the brand’s audience, they also suggest that these new followers are real people genuinely interested in Kietoparao’s products. We can see with Heepsy that about 72% of the brand’s active audience comes from Spain. Moreover, mommy is the dominant interest among followers.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in Spain in March 2020, Kietoparao also released free, printable games for kids stuck at home. This got them placed in El Correo, the daily newspaper for the Basque Country, the region of Spain where Kietoparao is based. In addition, we can see thanks to Heepsy that Kietoparao kept growing during the pandemic, perhaps due to this new product, as well as an overall need for new ways to entertain children.
The example of Kietoparao shows that even the tiniest of startups can benefit from influencer marketing, when the right influencers are chosen. Heepsy managed to help the brand achieve its Kickstarter goal, as well as increase their Instagram followers and brand visibility, through the careful selection of mommy influencers who aligned with the brand’s values.
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