What is your full name and title at Eden Books?
Robyn Crawford, Founder and CEO
Describe your startup in 3 sentences or less.
Eden Books is an online marketplace and social media platform dedicated to the romance and women’s fiction genres.
Tell us a bit about the initial company idea and how it was hatched.
The idea was one that I had for a couple of years but I was motivated to begin development after my friend, Kristi Webster, had her book, THE WILD, banned from Amazon and other online book retailers. I just got really mad. Things worsened for authors and many started begging for someone to create an alternative. I committed to doing it. I began development on Eden late March 2018 and launched on March 1, 2019.
How large is your company and how long did it take to build your current team?
We’re a two-woman team! It’s just me and my social media manager, Brittany Hively.
How are you/your team transitioning from the ideation phase to validating product-market fit? What are some challenges you are facing in this phase?
The transition has been wonderfully steady, with very few bumps along the way. I developed an advisory board of author and readers at the start of development to help define what this platform would be. I also completed two rounds of testing and incorporated the feedback to Eden’s build. The board and early users have been instrumental in marketing Eden. We’ve had books exclusively placed on the site whose first-day sales rivaled Amazon. We have over 3500 user accounts in less than eight months.. These are self-initiated, password-protected accounts. The romance community wants an alternative to current retailers.
What are the top 2-3 priorities for your company currently and why?
My highest priority is obtaining investors funds to continue to grow and expand the platform. App development is high on the list as well. It’s the number one requested upgrade by Eden users! I also hope to launch our monthly subscription program within the next 3-5 months.
What was the most unexpected challenge and unexpected success your company has experienced up until now?
I’m so new to the world of tech startups that it’s all been a challenge! I wouldn’t change one moment of the last 18 months at all! I didn’t expect to have more than 700 users accounts created in less than two weeks. This is a recent success, and I’m thrilled. Additional validation for the romance community’s want for Eden.
How has launching a company changed your lifestyle?
Not so much my lifestyle, but launching a startup of this magnitude has given me far more confidence. Not just confidence in myself but the confidence to reach out to others.
What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs thinking about taking the leap to start their own company?
Take the first step and do it! The hardest part of any journey is starting. Just leap!
In what ways did the Collaboratory for Women Innovator’s Startup Roadmap program help yourself personally and your business?
Startup Roadmap gave me the courage to build out the concept. Being a part of a group of smart, innovative thinkers helped me recognize and appreciate my own skillset while learning to see the world with constantly changing lenses. Above all, the program taught me it’s okay to have weaknesses because there will always be someone willing to help guide me. I’m not alone.
To learn more about Eden Books, visit https://edenbooks.org/