It has been two years since we first started this incredible project and one year since Hey abby was released to the world. When we look back on Hey abby's journey, there are a lot people to thank. Without their support we would never have gotten here. Making the world's first automated grow box in mass production was a monumental challenge. Each step of the journey was hard, but was also incredibly rewarding as we received love and support along the way from our partners and customers.
The Starting Point
In March 2021, when we gathered a focus group of 8 indoor growers, many of them described how difficult it was for them to start their home garden.
Those growers worked together on the white board and painted their dream growing device. This was very similar to what we had in mind, and from that moment on, the research stage had ended and the R&D began.
Going from this picture to a sophisticated all-in-one smart device took a long process. As a startup company developing an incredibly innovative product, every step was challenging, especially with the supply chain.
We visited more than 1,000 suppliers and finally got 70 of them on board to build Hey abby together. Yes, you heard that right; it requires 70 different suppliers to assemble all of the parts for one Hey abby grow box. Our engineers spent many sleepless nights and at times lived in the factory to make it happen. It took months to make Hey abby from the logic on PCBA to a workable prototype.
The following month, we launched a small Kickstarter campaign to gather the first batch of growers. We were lucky enough to have 117 growers worldwide willing to start this journey with us, buying a product from a company they had never heard of. A grower in the UK even paid $700 just for shipping. This meant the world to the team and validated all of our hard work.
Cultivating A Community
The next task became growing our online and manufacturing presence. We started our Discord server and recruited the help of an old friend to promote us on social media. Here’s how the pieces clicked into place:
Discord Community Experts: Nick
Our Discord server started out with about 40 people— half of whom were our own staff. One of our earliest supporters was a grower named Nick who helped us host the server in the beginning. An engineer by trade, he was both tech-savvy and gave us several great ideas to implement.
To this day, we still remember an interesting conversation we had with Nick about the name: was "Hey abby" the name of the plant or the armor that gives the plant its superpower— similar to Batman's special suit?
In his comparison, the plant was Batman, the Hey abby was the Bat Cave, and our growers were Alfred, Batman's Butler. We loved this analogy on the Hey abby Grow Box and it gave us all a good laugh.
Supportive Manufacturers: Mr. Chen
To do a trial run is one thing, but mass production is a whole different story. Many grow box ideas were not able to make this leap.
To make 1000 units of the Hey abby grow box required a 20000 sq ft facility spared just for us and all the workers re-trained for this new procedure. Many factories rejected us stating it will be more effective for them to assemble battery packs and chargers for such space.
We finally found Mr. Chen, the owner of our assembly factory, who was willing to help us. He cleared an entire manufacturing floor and assigned his best men. "I believe in innovation," he said. Our engineering team camped at Mr. Chen's facility for a whole month, collaborating with his workers, and finally delivered the first batch of Hey abby grow boxes.
(Hey abby frame waiting to be assembled)
Top Influencers: Dope As Yola
Yola is an old friend of ours. He was the first influencer willing to test our product and introduced the process with passion. This video gave us our first viewership boost. A few thousand people visited the website to check the product as a result. The video has been played 200K+ times since then.