The Broad Strokes of Inspiration w/ Tina Tang | Ep. 124

March 12, 2024 Big Pixel Season 1 Episode 124
The Broad Strokes of Inspiration w/ Tina Tang | Ep. 124
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The Broad Strokes of Inspiration w/ Tina Tang | Ep. 124
Mar 12, 2024 Season 1 Episode 124
Big Pixel

In this episode, David and Gary speak with the CEO and Co-Founder of Bristles.AI, Tina Tang. They discuss her journey from idea, through iteration to successfully marketed niche tech app in a series of just a few years. Creating beauty on the go and more in this Biz/Dev episode...


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OR comment on our YouTube videos! - Big Pixel, LLC - YouTube

Our Hosts

David Baxter - CEO of Big Pixel

Gary Voigt - Creative Director at Big Pixel

The Podcast

David Baxter has been designing, building, and advising startups and businesses for over ten years. His passion, knowledge, and brutal honesty have helped dozens of companies get their start.

In Biz/Dev, David and award-winning Creative Director Gary Voigt talk about current events and how they affect the world of startups, entrepreneurship, software development, and culture.

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Big Pixel

1772 Heritage Center Dr

Suite 201

Wake Forest, NC 27587

Music by: BLXRR

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, David and Gary speak with the CEO and Co-Founder of Bristles.AI, Tina Tang. They discuss her journey from idea, through iteration to successfully marketed niche tech app in a series of just a few years. Creating beauty on the go and more in this Biz/Dev episode...


Follow @bristlesai


Submit Your Questions to:

OR comment on our YouTube videos! - Big Pixel, LLC - YouTube

Our Hosts

David Baxter - CEO of Big Pixel

Gary Voigt - Creative Director at Big Pixel

The Podcast

David Baxter has been designing, building, and advising startups and businesses for over ten years. His passion, knowledge, and brutal honesty have helped dozens of companies get their start.

In Biz/Dev, David and award-winning Creative Director Gary Voigt talk about current events and how they affect the world of startups, entrepreneurship, software development, and culture.

Contact Us


FB | IG | LI | TW | TT : @bigpixelNC

Big Pixel

1772 Heritage Center Dr

Suite 201

Wake Forest, NC 27587

Music by: BLXRR

Tina: [00:00:00] So we're really inspired by technology that empowers artists to do new things.

So we wanted to make that kind of impact. 

David: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the biz dev podcast, the podcast about developing your business. I'm David Baxter, your host, and I am joined today per usual, unfortunately, Gary Voigt. Welcome. Welcome. I am more convinced now than ever that your hair club for men or your Bosley hair plugs have not grown in.

And that's why you're wearing the beanies every week. That's what I think is happening. You're just trying to hide The growth

Gary: no, I just got, I started to feel guilty about my luscious locks compared to your shiny hubcap of a head. So I figured this will take the attention away from me and let it still focus on you.

David: anything you can do to make yourself uglier is appreciated. I

Gary: Welcome back. You weren't here last week, so

David: That's true. That's true. I was

Gary: wore a beanie last week.

David: my daughter, a car [00:01:00] by my daughter, a car. If you're by a used car, it's like you wait, and then you find the car and then it has to happen very fast because that car is about to disappear.

And so we got stuck in that whole thing. Ended up getting it all. At a tiny little dealership. It looked like a little house. Anyway, more importantly, we are joined by Tina Tang, who is the CEO and co founder of bristles. AI, which is an app that we're going to ask all sorts of questions. Welcome as Tina.

How are you?

Tina: doing well. Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

David: Absolutely. Absolutely. Anybody who can break up the monotony of talking to Gary is already a plus. I saw recently you won the NC idea grant. Very cool.

Tina: yeah, we did. We won in the fall of 2023, the 50 K seed grant, which was really helpful in our business.

David: Very cool. I've had a few clients over the years when that and I know that's always been super helpful for them. Cause it's usually early stage. That usually means you're pretty well, hence the word seed. How was [00:02:00] that process? How is that intense now? It's been a few years since I've been involved in them.

Tina: hmm. It's intense, I would say. So I've known the NC idea folks for a long time. We actually won a micro grant in the fall of 2021. So that's how I got to know them as a group. That one is more of the kind of idea stage. The seed grant requires you to prove out your business. More so ideally revenue traction.

So I think the most intense part of it is just proving that you've made that progress from idea to traction.

David: Gotcha. So for those who don't know, the NC idea is a government correct me where I'm wrong, because you're going to be more knowledgeable about this than I but it is a government. Lead seed round. It is non diluting. They take no equity or anything good or from your company. They just give you cash because you're awesome.

That is that a pretty general explanation.

Tina: [00:03:00] That's right. And they help you use the funding wisely too. So for example, when we won the micro grant, which is a 10 K grant back in 2021, they, they're a group of mentors. So they come into your business with you and Help you use that funding wisely. So you get the most out of it.

David: Nice. So tell me about bristles.

Tina: I'd love to. So you can think about bristles as a tool that helps you turn images into building blocks for visualizing your design ideas. So right now we're focused on home improvement. So all the photos you might have saved of paint colors, products, we help you extract the piece you're interested in and put it all together to mock up your ideas.

So you can test ideas and convey your design ideas clearly with others.

David: So from your website, you're saying that I take a picture of an armoire or dresser or something like that. And I can change the colors and the finishes and [00:04:00] all sorts of goodies from, is that how most people are using it or am I selling it short?

Tina: So a large group of our current customers, they are furniture refinishers. So what they do is they take a photo of. Say a dresser or an armoire like we just said and they will they can test different paint colors different hardware and test their ideas before going in and putting in the work and they can also share those mock ups with clients so typically what they're trying to do is Resell that piece so put in a lot of work to make it better and then sell it for a profit so what they can do now with our app is Show their client.

What it can look like Before putting it in any of the work so they can get approval on paint colors on designs. If they need to use extra materials to spruce up the piece, they can say it'll make it look better this much better. This is what it'll look like. Are you willing to pay more?

And so it helps them with that conversation.

David: How did you come to that?

Tina: So that's a longer [00:05:00] story. So if you'll let me, I like telling long stories. I guess I'll start with kind of what inspired us and then go into how we got to Furniture Reconstruction because it's We didn't just think of furniture refinishing one day.

We didn't just think of home improvement design one day. Started Bristles with my now husband. And so we're the co founders and I like to start by telling telling you about what inspired us in the beginning. So we are both engineers, but we really loved art. I'm going to tell a story about the impressionist artists.

Because that's something that really inspired us. So the Impressionists was an art movement that focused on capturing these fleeting details, like the movement of light the movement of wind, and capturing that in paintings. And the reason they were able to capture these details compared to previous art movements is because they were able to paint in detail.

in situ. So in the environment that they are painting and they were able to do that [00:06:00] because there was this invention at the time paint became available in these transportable tubes. And prior to that artists had to mix their own paints in their studios. So if they were in, if they saw something out in the world that they wanted to paint, they might make a quick sketch there, but they would have to travel back to their studios.

Mix the paint and then paint once they're in their studios, so they're not in front of the scene anymore. And so these fleeting details, like the movement of light and wind, they are forgotten when they're actually doing the painting because it's not in front of them anymore. 

So we're really inspired by technology that empowers artists to do new things.

So we wanted to make that kind of impact. 

And at the time, so in 2021, we I was studying computer vision. My husband was studying computational neuroscience, and he builds technology around how the human brain plans. [00:07:00] And. So with our experience, we we often had to make visuals to present our research.

So we would use tools like Figma and Photoshop. And one thing we noticed was that there was this separation from desktop tools like Photoshop, Figma, and mobile tools. Where on desktop you had access to these really powerful editing tools. You had really fine, precise, creative control, but when you transferred that to Photoshop, or sorry, to mobile it was always a pared down experience.

You couldn't, you didn't have that fine control. And part of that was just because of the interface. So with Photoshop, for example, you have it's on desktop. You have a mouse to give you fine, precise control. You have a large screen so that all of those menu options, you can see them all across the screen and select what you want to use.

And so that [00:08:00] same technology doesn't fit on mobile. And because of this, it's a version of that, like artists having to go back to their studio. That was the original concept that we would make this visualization tool on mobile and make it super accessible, and then we would inspire these new waves of creativity. And we didn't know what those were yet, but that was the idea at the time. So we were really excited, even though it was vague and we didn't have a customer in mind.

It was more so we just really wanted to build this thing. So what we did was we built this mobile app that was powered by these AI paintbrushes. And we said, okay, you don't have a mouse, but what if we can make a virtual stylist that acted almost like a mouse so you can edit precisely on mobile.

So we added this virtual stylist so that you can make these precise mouse level edits on your phone. The edits were, had an offset from your fingertip where you're, you touch the screen so that you could see what [00:09:00] you were doing without it being covered up. And we're really excited about this idea, but once we started.

Putting it out into the world, the reviews were mixed. People said, it's cool, but I don't know like when I would want to very precisely paint a sunset into the sky and things like that. And what was also happening at the time was in 2021, it was the pandemic. So we were in our house and.

We started using the very this very early version of bristles to compare paint colors and these really practical uses that we would have never used Photoshop for just because it was, there was just that access barrier. And as soon as we started showing those scenarios, all of a sudden we got this feedback that people really wanted this.

So that's how we pivoted to home improvement.

David: So you went on taking on Photoshop and ended up taking on Home Depot. [00:10:00] I get it. All right. We're good. All right.

Gary: The pandemic as well. That was like the rebirth of everybody's DIY home improvement journey.

Tina: Yes. Yeah, it was all over Instagram and it definitely got us interested

David: So did you, I guess it took you a little while to get, so you were post pandemic by the time you guys were out and about, right? So I was wondering, because one of the things that fascinates me is how the pandemic, even to this day, a couple, few years after it's largely been relegated down to the history books, how many bad decisions businesses made because they thought the pandemic and the behaviors from the pandemic.

We're forever Peloton's a good example. Any workout place is a good example, but even I was just hearing, commercial real estate just collapsed. And, but now it's not, and now it's collapsed. It's there's just been all these interesting beds. And I was curious. When you started seeing, you see all this [00:11:00] interest because you're showing this, the original the bristles V two, as it were, all this interest because of the pandemic.

Has that died down or that's still just raging forward?

Tina: It's interesting. So if you look at kind of retail sales in DIY, you can definitely see a leveling off. So if you look at 2019 to 2020 to 2021, you see these increases 14 percent year over year. And then in 2022. You stop seeing that and it's leveled off, but it hasn't fallen. So we still see high demand, I think, because so we launched our app about a year ago.

So we really weren't launched at the time when the pandemic effects were around. So we didn't see a drop. We're more so learning what a year in operation looks like in

David: the slog. Yes. The I tell every mentor mentee, I guess that's a weird word that I talk to about startups, stuff like that. And they're like, oh yeah, I just started five months ago. And I'm like, sucks. [00:12:00] And it's hard, right? That first year is hard. We talk about that a lot on this podcast.

I want, okay. So AI is just everywhere, but I find, especially with startups, that often AI is a dude named Al on the back, right? What I'm curious is where does AI come into? Obviously you and your husband are incredibly intelligent humans. I don't even know what you said your husband does.

That didn't even compute. So cool. But. So clearly AI is within your grasp, but my question is what do you call AI in your app? It's bristles. ai, right? So it's clearly a big part of it in some way. So what does it do? It's Gary, like I say, it was a lot of AR, right? You're taking a picture of your real thing and then augmenting it.

But where does AI come into play?

Tina: Yeah, in many different ways, actually. So if you think of our app generally as a photo editing solution for visualizing a home improvement ideas, it's all these visual [00:13:00] transformations powered by AI. And what we do with our virtual stylus is we enable people to make, to apply those AI models selectively.

For example, You start out with, say, a picture of your kitchen and maybe some of the shelves are outdated. You want to remove that float, the floating shelves. You can use our AI eraser, which is and basically you scrub over the shelf and it, the AI will then say, okay, this scrubbed area, what would it look like if this was gone?

And then apply the effect. And then We also have an idea generator. So if you're stuck it's designed to get you out of a creative rut. You can tap on the AI. Idea generator, and it takes your photo of everything that you've done to it. So if you've erased things, if you've added things, it takes all of that into account.

And then it generates new ideas based on that photo. So if it's a photo of the kitchen, then different kitchen designs. If it's a photo of a dresser, then different versions of the dresser [00:14:00] repainted and things like that.

David: Is that your, like, where is the AI coming from? Are you guys bringing in tools? Are you writing everything from scratch? Where is this all coming from?

Tina: So we build on top of open source, so we have most of our work is done on the interface layer in terms of applying image translations selectively and enabling the user to to do that. So we fine tune models and we let you mix and match. And interpolate model results. And I think these words are getting a little bit technical,

David: Yeah, it's all good.

Tina: but it's yeah, so a lot of our work is done at the image interpolation level and the applying different models together and stacking all of those outputs.

David: That

Tina: I probably didn't make that any clearer.

David: you use bigger words. You're supposed to get smaller words. No, I appreciate it. You're using your own tools built on other people's tools is what I'm gathering. You started with other people because you can't, you got to stand on the shoulders, right? No one's [00:15:00] inventing this stuff from scratch.


Gary: no one wants to rewrite any of that stuff if it already exists. And especially if that stuff's going to keep getting better as well.

Tina: Yeah, I think you have to be really careful building in the AI space because if you are a tiny company and you're trying to invest in developing models at the foundational level where you're computing with, say, open AI, then you're really at risk of your solution becoming obsolete because they're going to move faster than you.

But yeah, that's just something you have to keep in mind.

David: You know, we're seeing that when we're talking to people and startups and people we've interviewed, it's like they're wanting to start from the beginning. They're making their own models. And like you said, you can't out tech these guys. They have so much money. That they can just keep hiring and hiring that you can never, you got your team of five people, come on, they got a team of 5, 000.

That's just no way you can touch that. And it's also, I think early on in the the other risk that I see is people are adding [00:16:00] features to these models. They're adding little gizmos and do dads like the old iOS days when someone made a flashlight app. And Oh, cool. I'm going to make a flashlight app and I'm going to sell it for two 99 and they did.

Okay. For a little while. And then Apple goes, you know what we need? We need a flashlight app built into the phone. You're done overnight. It's gone. And that's happened how many times over and over again? Apple is a great example. Android does the same thing. They just destroy these little companies that spring up.

And then vanish and spring up advantage. And I imagine that open AI is doing the same thing. What is gathering traction? Cause they're tracking all the data, right? Hey, what is getting interesting around here? Oh, that's got a lot of followers right there. Let's just whip that right up there. And there's nothing you can do to stop them.

And it's exciting. Don't get me wrong. It's exciting, but it's also scary because. I truly believe we are on the precipice of the next dot net, not that like a web just sounds [00:17:00] like I'm talking about Microsoft. Like I see us right now is. 1999 2000 of the original internet consumer internet, not like sixties military stuff, but where you, someone goes, what's cool selling books online.

I might try that. And you have Amazon, but then you also have the guy going, what'd be good. Let's sell pet food, 50 pound bags of pet food. And that went online and died a horrible death. Strangely it's back, but. Oh, you have all these ideas coming out and some are going to be amazing.

They're going to change the world. You're going to have a Facebook, you're going to have an Uber, you're going to have an Airbnb, and then you're going to have a pets. com and all of these other, littered carcasses that are out or on the web. And it's really exciting to me. Cause I what five years looks like from now, I have no idea.

And it's, that's cool because the five years ago, I can pretty much. Guess that Facebook is still around. I would not have guessed Tik TOK, but whatever. Not a fan of Tik TOK, but but it's just interesting. And I think it's always exciting to see you're right in there.

You're in the thick of it. [00:18:00] And your idea for home improvement is just. One application, my guess is you and your husband have a lot of other ideas percolating from the engine that you've built, right? You've just chosen this as an outlet, the home improvement side, but I'm guessing there are all sorts of demos and stuff hiding in the background that you're trying to figure out because you built a pretty generic tool, right?

Your whole your Photoshop for mobile, lack of a better term. That's a very generic tool. Now you just need the driver to get customers in. And

Tina: how we got, exactly. That's how we got to home improvement. And, but I think the most, I think one of the really exciting things about startups building in the AI spaces the ability to compete with the big guys by just niching down and finding this customer that really needs your tools, because at some point, those, the big guys have to stay very general and they're not going to be able to get to the [00:19:00] specifics.

And so what the startups have to do is niche down, but not too, don't go too niche, stay at this like middle level that is a big enough market to build a really valuable solution to the point where you're, it's no longer bristles versus Photoshop because you've built enough value that it doesn't compare anymore.

It's too different. It's not photo editing, editing. This is a home improvement design tool. That's where we're getting to.

Gary: it also seems if you really go for increasing the value for your specific market, your target audience, especially in the space you're in the DIY and the home improvement, it seems like it's like the loyal market, the loyal kind of target audience where they're going to actually use your tool.

As long as you keep adding value for them. Specifically, instead of say, I'm just going to try to do this with Photoshop or open AI or, mid journey or all that stuff, since you've already put what they [00:20:00] need in, into their hand, and then you're going to keep improving. If they're going to probably roar you with the loyalty of considering using it and then building from there

Tina: Exactly.

Gary: your Instagram, this is a little bit of another question.

Did you, did I see that you also offer suggestions and then. Purchasing options for those suggestions when it comes to like hardware and different things.

Tina: where we're

Gary: you have that market built in where you can start offering

Tina: Yeah. Yeah. One of our most,

Gary: locations to get things.

Tina: exactly, one of our most frequent questions is around, how do I buy this piece of hardware from your app? So right now, it's not connected to products, but that's where we're going to go next.

Gary: Okay. And it, it seems like a perfect next step.

AD: BigPixel builds world class custom software and amazing apps. Our team of pros puts passion into every one of our projects. Our design infused development leans heavily on delivering a great experience for our clients and their [00:21:00] clients. From startups to enterprises, we can help craft your ideas into real world products that help your business do better business. 

David: So where are you guys? You're in the middle of your first year, a year and a half, two years. The slog is real. You guys are in the thick of it. How is it going? I know, obviously you're on a runway of some sort where you guys supporting yourselves. Are you guys hoping to keep this bootstrapped?

Are you hoping to go and raise a bunch of money? Where are you guys? You and your husband sitting.

Tina: Yeah, so we are I would say lightly capitalized. So we have raised a bit of funding from local sources in the triangle and a couple angels, and we've got our grant funding. So we have enough runway right now to prove out product market fit. So that's what we're, it's where we are in our journey right now.

So we have, we've figured out who, Our initial customers are, and we have thousands of paying customers [00:22:00] right now. 


and we're pretty pumped about that. But we're still trying to understand all of the different personas within our customer base. So we've got folks that are So even before they become a paying customer, we've got, the whole funnel downloads So that's you're interested and then if you create an account, you're a little bit more interested You If you start a trial, that's when you put in your credit card information.

So you're very interested. And then we have a seven day free trial. So then if you start becoming a paying customer, then you're interested. And if you stick around, that means you love it. So we're still trying to figure out who those different personas are. We have a pretty good idea of the folks that love it.

So all of our marketing right now, it's finding more folks like them, but. We, the product still isn't at the point where Everyone, we're conversion from trials to paying customers is as high as we'd like and then retaining those customers as a, is as high as we'd like. So we're [00:23:00] focusing on that right now.

David: Have you ever heard of a software called profit? Do you guys use that? So profit? I only know this is one of our clients uses it. We have nothing to do with it, or I'm not selling anything, but it is really cool when you're talking about churn and trials and stuff. So one of our clients has exactly what you're talking about.

He has a trial and he does when you sign up for that trial, he starts a drip campaign. And all that stuff. And then when you convert, he's got a different campaign and all this stuff. And what ProfitWell does is basically you connect an API and they keep track and they show you your churn and how much you're making per person and this, that, and the other.

And it is, it's really, I think it's free, but I'm not sure. Just, it really transformed, allowed him to see what was happening inside of his business. A lot of that. If you're. Now you're, you guys are very technical. Obviously he is not. And we could build a bunch of stuff for him, which is, that's expensive for, he would, he doesn't need financial suite built by his devs.

He wants us to build his app, but [00:24:00] it really showed a lot of stuff. So I'm, I've. Mentioned them before to anybody who's software as a service is one of those things. That's really neat. Stripe and all those, and I guess I've never been involved with the Apple side of financing because I imagine that 30 percent is really exciting for you.

You love it. Everyone loves it.

Tina: Yeah, that one's

David: now you guys do get 15 percent after a year, right? Isn't that Apple's rule? If someone's subscribed for a year, they start taking less of your money.

Tina: and for, they actually have a small business program now. So if you're making less than a million in revenue, you can they reduce that to 15 percent commission, which helps but still a lot.

David: Do you find And not to get political in the apple world, but I'm curious, do you find that is a check you're happy to write or do you feel like they're not providing? No, they provide transactions, but like the app store, are you getting anything directly from that? Do you feel because it's discovery?

There is a nightmare, right? If no one knows [00:25:00] who you are, what would they type to even have a clue that you exist? Very brutal. Yeah. Do you find that they're bringing value to your business besides the fact that they own the app store? 

Tina: Tricky. I would say. I have to say we haven't focused on app store optimization at all. I don't expect it to bring in a ton of customers right now. It can't be more than 2%. Most of our customers are coming from social media. So we create a lot of videos and that brings people in to learn more about us.

And then they either organically or through a paid ad discover us in the app store. Okay.

David: do you find that your website matters or is it straight from Instagram to app store? Like, where are you finding that the, do people go Instagram to website, read a little bit more about it than to app store or how, what does that flow for you typically?

Tina: It's typically from Instagram, Meta, or TikTok to Googling the app store and finding us. Or if it's from a paid [00:26:00] ad, then they might tap on that download button.

David: Okay. So your website itself is not really playing much of a factor. I know you have one.

Tina: We, we get visits but it's not currently a strong converter.

David: Okay. I just didn't know in that's just fascinating to me as someone who's in the ecosystem to see where, cause you I have encouraged startups a lot of times to have that website because you can't advertise. App discovery, all that's trash. That does all does work. Like you said, but you're saying that's not needed really anymore because social media basically takes care of that now.

Tina: I think it depends on, it really depends on your business and what brings customers in. Our customers They love visuals. It's all about visuals and design. Videos of how our app works brings people in. But that might not work for a for a non design business. More of your, I don't know, classic business process fixing type SaaS [00:27:00] company.

It might not work as well.

Gary: Have you tried, or I don't know if you already do it or not partnering with, or putting some advertising dollars into the influencers for campaigns on this? Because I know there is a, like a network or a niche, like group of people that do the furniture refinishing and reselling, or just DIY tips on how to just redo your cabinets or what rollers to paint with.

So you don't have bubbles. That's a pretty, pretty big group of people online. Especially. Like YouTube. And like you said, Instagram with the videos, is that a channel that you guys are trying to market with?

Tina: Definitely. With our space and DIY customers like to follow. They buy the products that they see someone they trust using. So influencer market marketing tends to work pretty well for us. The tricky part is finding the right partners.

Gary: Yeah.

Tina: Uh, not every partner will have, will deliver the same results.

Some of the [00:28:00] results are not immediate. So it's, we're still figuring out exactly. how to measure the ROI. But we know it, it is effective generally.

Gary: Then you're going to have those influencers who don't have that big of a following, but they already feel like they're rock stars. They're going to try to charge you 30 grand for one placement. Yeah. Crazy.

Tina: Oh, we've definitely had conversations like that. nuts.

David: It is, I find what's the right way that naivete, maybe that's the right word for it. It's just, I have X followers, therefore I deserve it. And it's sometimes that math might track, but there's no business side to it. These are not business people until they get, obviously some of them very much are, but a lot of those that you're talking about, it's just, they're young people who are just doing it themselves and just swinging for the fences.

Sometimes they're way, way off. So if you put on your Your wizard hat, crystal ball, whatever analogy insert here. [00:29:00] How do you, where do you see bristles in three to five years?

Tina: Three to five years. I think we're going to be the go to solution for planning DIY projects and small home improvement projects.

David: Okay. So do you see that grown way beyond the furniture side of it? Or is it like, I know that, John Lee from a new go, and I could see where you guys started. Like he's painting walls, right? That's a big part of you want to see this wall and you want to see what this looks like. That's his world.

I could see. You guys getting closer together or are you saying, no, we're going to stay in the, we're going to veer away from that. Like, where do you see that? Do you see that as a complimentary or a competitive relationship?

David: Both is

Tina: John's target customer from our last conversation, if I'm understanding it is homebuilders, He and our target customer is more the everyday person that wants to design their own space. So I feel like [00:30:00] we're going after different target markets. Furniture refinishing, I've talked about a lot today, but it's really just our the folks that love our product the most right now. We're still very early. So next we'll go into kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, bigger kitchen remodels, kind of room by room and expand out that way based on what customers want to design.

David: there's a part of me that sees how your app and something like porch or, any of those home improvement apps where, how cool would it be if I, someone like me, not a pro, right? I'm an idiot. And I go in there and I'm like, my kitchen is nasty and I want to fix it and I erase it. And I use your A ideas, AI ideas to shove in some new cabinets and a new sink.

And it's just now it looks, yes, this looks like what I want. And now you can say, okay, here's a final design. Let me go find some people to build it for you. And now you're pitching [00:31:00] it out to home improvement. Experts, and to actually bid on it and whatever, it's just like all those other ones. I could see that obviously there's a lot of tech involved there.

Gary: Yeah. I was going to say, it seems like a good relationship with like interior designers and even contractors could probably be a good Addition to partner with

Tina: yeah, so that'll be the next thing too. One thing is right now, our focus is on DIYers, which is the only missing component, preventing them from doing their project is figuring out the design component and making those decisions. So we solved that and they're ready to go, but there are a lot of folks that, you solve that, they still got to figure out how to do it, maybe who they can get to help them.

So figuring out that piece. Is something down the road for us. And then and then the other piece of it is, so we've talked a lot about AI around design, like how to do visual transformations and selective versions of that. But another thing we can do is [00:32:00] we'll have data around project intent.

So what are people looking to do? What do they want to do in their homes? So we'll have a lot of information about that. We'll also know, and then we can help those folks make decisions that lead to increased home value. So what, maybe there's a paint color that is associated with higher home prices.

You can paint your front door a certain color, for example. So we can start helping people make those decisions in a way that helps them sell their furniture for a higher price or sell their home for a higher price, etc.

Gary: that's cool. Yeah, that's. Something I would have never thought about.

David: Well, it's like my, a big part of what we do when I'm mentoring and talking to startups is help them figure out ideas and it's cool that you're already down that road. Clearly you do this a lot. And that's very cool. Yeah, when you start wandering down and you really embrace.

What you are as opposed to the Photoshop original start. Like I would imagine at some point, I wouldn't be surprised if your name [00:33:00] changed at some point, because it's a bristles makes me think of art. When you know, I've totally embraced home improvement and I'm going way down that rabbit hole. That might not fit right in year's time.

But I could totally see this going deep or you go broad. And I think it'll be really interesting to watch which path you guys choose.

Tina: Yeah, we're pretty excited. The best part of this is just learning step by step. What, where to go next. Yeah, I think we are definitely in this log right now, but it's exciting to,

David: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Gary: Well, based on that, from your journey, from the idea until now could you give us three pieces of advice that you could share with any entrepreneur in your business starting up?

Tina: think one, know your customer really well. Because this will help you carve the path to reach them. So I guess if I could give an example, or do you want these to be like very short, [00:34:00] three things?

Gary: That's totally up to you. We just need three things. It's contractual. I'm just joking.

Tina: so,

David: beat without three things.

Tina: so right one, know your customer really well. And you can do that before you even have a product. So for us, before we had our app live in the app store, we did a bunch of interviews just based on prototype videos of our app on social media. And. We could make all these videos of different scenarios and that helped us get to, oh, furniture refinisher, furniture refinishers really need this tool.

If we hadn't gone out and talked to customers before, we wouldn't have learned that so quickly. And that's how we had paying customers from day one. So then number two is related to understanding your customer really well. Understand. Everyone in your customer, what do you call it? Really well.

So you've got those that are [00:35:00] interested, those that are very interested and those that are willing to pay. And when you're able to understand those three groups and characterize them really well, then you can say, okay the ones that are willing to pay, I can reach them with, this type of marketing.

You can. Be very targeted there. And then with the next group of interested, but not willing to pay, you can understand what's missing from the product and start iterating to get to the point where you can now convert this next group and then go from there. And then number three, doing a startup is really hard.

And as a founder, you need to be tough on yourself to stick with it Learn and iterate. But once you step back and accept that this is going to be really hard and that's okay then you can start enjoying the process more. You can, you need to find ways to have fun with it because it's it's tough and you need to find ways to just keep [00:36:00] going.

Gary: We've heard a lot of advice from a lot of other startups. Yours align directly with the best that we've gotten. The understanding your customer to the point of actually learning I guess, like you said interested, willing to pay and then paying that's, yeah, that's a new one. That's very important.

I think that's good information to have. Now if anybody wants to learn more about Bristol's AI or about you, how can they get in touch?

Tina: Yeah our website is bristles. ai. We're also on Instagram at bristles AI and on all of your social media channels at that same handle. And we're available. So the app itself is available on the app store and in Google play. So if you are a DIY or if you're a furniture refinisher, check us out.

OUTRO: Hi, I'm Christy Pronto, Content Marketing Director here at BigPixel. Thank you for listening to this episode of the BizDev Podcast. We'd love to hear from you. Shoot us an email, hello at thebigpixel. [00:37:00] net. The BizDev Podcast is produced and presented by BigPixel. See you next week. Until then, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Threads, YouTube, and LinkedIn.