WHY YOU KNOW THEM: The founders of RainRaps, a water-repellent, reversible, lightweight and fast-drying wrap for women, won a national competition of up-and-coming products that aired on NBC’s “Today” show in September. Besides the national TV exposure, they showcased their product on shopping channel QVC.
UPDATE: Struminger and Teyssier are still amazed at how their small Henrico County-based business has changed in the past three months.
Being on the “Today” show and on QVC “gave us such a huge exposure,” said Struminger, the company’s president who came up with the idea for the wrap nearly three years ago and quickly got Teyssier on board. They began selling the wraps online in early 2012.
Having American fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi vote for RainRaps on the “Today” show segment gave the product “such a lot of creditability,” she said.
Since September, sales have increased substantially. More than 50 stores across the country now carry the product, up from about several dozens before. And existing retailers have increased the number of wraps they have bought to sell in their stores.
The number of emails in the company’s database is about double what it had been.
“Customers are coming to our site,” Struminger said.
The day after winning the competition on “Today” show, the two appeared on QVC.
They sold 4,400 wraps in 10 minutes. The initial order that QVC bought sold out in two minutes.
QVC shoppers were told they could order the item, but the wraps wouldn’t be mailed for about 75 days — or until early December.
“This was amazing to me that so many people placed orders knowing they couldn’t get them until December. That was just incredible,” Struminger said.
The company also hired Shipvine, an e-commerce customer fulfillment company that has a warehouse in Hanover County. The two women had been handling customer shipment orders before, but now can take that time to focus on expanding the business.
The wraps come in five color combinations and have a hood and a travel pouch. The wraps cost $60.
The company has added a SpiritRap version, which is 10 inches longer in the back for stadium seating. It sells for $70.
The SpiritRap comes in team colors, including a black and gold one for Virginia Commonwealth University. Coming in February are the team colors for the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
“All of this just has been incredible,” Struminger said about the rapid growth of the business since winning the “Today” show competition.
Gregory J. Gilligan