Table of contents
- Founders - Ollie Rozdarz and Isuru Fonseka
- Company - Hitchd
- Location - Sydney
- Started in 2016
- 6 figures revenue
So Ollie, what's your backstory?
I was born and raised in Canberra, but now I live on the Gold Coast. After finishing school, I followed my passion for web design by studying web development at TAFE and later a Bachelor of Graphic Design at the University of Canberra. My interest in web design began when I was a kid playing Starcraft, where I began making basic clan websites using Microsoft Frontpage and quickly discovered the power that tiny changes can make to improve the aesthetics of a website. This passion eventually led to my career path from web publishing to product design, which I have been doing for over 15 years. Throughout my career, I have held design leadership positions at major tech companies like WordPress.com, Microsoft, and Accenture, among others.
What does your Hitchd do?
Hitchd is a honeymoon registry for modern couples. You can think of it as a wishing well, cash fund, and Kickstarter, all rolled into one package. Our goal is to make it super simple for couples to create and fund literally any kind of gift or experience for their adventure of a lifetime.
How did you come up with the idea?
Our story at Hitchd is similar to many startup founders. We created the platform to solve a personal problem. When I got engaged in 2015, my fiancée entrusted me with planning our honeymoon and organizing our wedding registry.
We had attended a friend's wedding where they used a honeymoon registry, and we loved the idea of asking our guests to fund our experiences instead of traditional gifts. I searched the internet for registries that would let us create unique experiences while showcasing our trip in a modern and personal way.
Unfortunately, the options were limited, even though the wedding industry had come a long way since department store registries. Isuru and I had a history of working together, and we decided to build our own registry after discussing my situation.
How did you go about building and launching the business?
After conducting thorough research on honeymoon trends, we consulted various sources such as friends, family, and married acquaintances. We also reviewed competitors' ideas to ensure that our approach was the best in the market.
Given the limited time we had for our wedding registry, we focused on creating a minimum viable product (MVP) and postponed time-consuming tasks. Through this approach, we developed a prototype that helped us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our product, enabling us to continuously improve it.
Within four months, we designed, built, and tested the initial prototype of Hitchd. The first function we launched allowed users to select gifts and receive contributions via Stripe integration.
The positive feedback we received from guests who used Hitchd to contribute to our honeymoon fund after receiving our wedding invitations was overwhelming. Hitchd played a significant role in enabling us to fund our honeymoon without incurring any debts, making it a leading choice for honeymoon registries.
After returning from our honeymoon, my partner and I committed our free time to develop and launch Hitchd. In 2017, we launched the beta version, which has since become a resounding success.
How have you grown the business?
Since Hitchd was released to beta, we have been utilizing Facebook and Google ads to target engaged couples who share similar interests with Hitchd. This has been a valuable strategy for acquiring early users and gaining insight into how they use the product.
Although we have experimented with different types of ads on Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest, we have found them to be more expensive and less effective. One interesting aspect of Hitchd is the potential for virality, as many guests use it for a given wedding. If a guest has a positive experience, they are likely to recommend it to other engaged friends.
While we are always testing new channels and methods for user acquisition, our main focus this year is on organic growth. We have seen an increase in organic traffic to Hitchd due to technical SEO optimization and an increase in blog post creation.
What have been some of your biggest failures along the way? What lessons did you learn from these failures?
Despite our initial optimism that a good product would take care of these aspects, we soon realized that it wasn't the case. Venturing into unfamiliar territories like Marketing, SEO, and PR was also a major hurdle for us, as they were outside our core skills.
Nonetheless, building Hitchd required perseverance over time, which we had in abundance. Starting a business always involves extreme highs and lows, and we were well-prepared for the constant learning and adapting that comes with it.
What's next for you and your business?
We've got an extremely exciting roadmap and our focus, as always, is to constantly improve the core experience. For us, it's about making sure we have the time to implement our plans while still maintaining momentum and growth, so we've partnered with some external experts to ensure we're equipped to take on these challenges.
What digital tools do you use regularly?
Our tools include Slack and Zoom for communication, Figma for design, Github for managing our roadmap and tasks, and a combination of Intercom and Notion for note-taking and support. These are our tried and tested go-to options.
Name some books that have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?
We strongly endorse the practice of doing an extra one percent every day to achieve compounded benefits, which we learned from reading "Atomic Habits" by James Clear.
Since implementing this approach, we have observed a positive impact on our productivity. As a designer, I used to focus excessively on perfecting every pixel on Hitchd. However, I have gradually learned to step back and prioritize shipping earlier and more frequently.
Any podcasts, websites that help you run your business?
Any quotes you live by?
"Out of sight, out of mind".
I think this applies in so many aspects of life, but especially business, and where marketing is concerned. It's something I think about often and use to remind myself to switch back into marketing mode when I'm stuck on a product problem.
What do you love and hate about being a founder?
As a founder, having a co-founder who is not only on the same wavelength but also a best friend is the best part for me. We share all the ups and downs together, and this kind of support is crucial when trying to establish a business from scratch.
What do you do to look after your mental health as a founder?
Taking care of my mental health on a daily basis is a priority for me. Having a co-founder who shares this perspective lightens the load.
It's important to remember that my self-identity is not solely defined by work and to take breaks to enjoy activities outside of my usual routine.
In a few words, sum up what it means to be the founder of a business.
Being a founder is challenging, especially in the early stages, as it requires wearing multiple hats to keep the product moving forward.
It can be overwhelming and draining to work on tasks that are beyond my expertise, but I find relief in completing small tasks every day, which eventually add up to significant progress.
What are the biggest pieces of advice that you'd give other founders?
Never giving up on your ideas and keeping a positive attitude. The journey to creating a successful product can be full of ups and downs, so it's important to just go with the flow of emotions.
Don't overthink your decisions because it's rare to get everything perfect on the first try.
We've had success using tools like Fullstory to quickly adjust when our decisions don't go as planned. There are many great tools out there, so find what works for you at your stage of the journey.
Any promotions you have coming up that you want to promote in the story?
Readers of Founderoo can get 20% off any registry plan using the code 'founderoo'.
Where can people find out more about your business?
If you're interested in using Hitchd for your own honeymoon registry, you can find us at www.hitchd.com. Also, check out our blog for tips and interesting articles.