She Wouldn’t Let Pain Win: Meet Katherine Krug, Founder of BetterBack, Shark Tank Winner and Kickstarter Extraordinaire
Relieve lower back pain? Many of us have been there. I had the distinct pleasure to interview Katherine Krug, Founder of BetterBack, and recent Shark Tank winner. She was just as excited, positive and inspiring througout our conversation as she was on the show. Her motivation was contagious. I greatly enjoyed our chat.
Relieve Lower Back Pain
BetterBack is a posture strap that allows you to effortlessly sit in perfect posture to relieve lower back pain. 50% of American workers will have back pain this year alone. Millions of people look for ways to relieve back pain every day.
Katherine, it’s so great to chat with you. Your passion and determination to make a deal with a Shark was so inspiring. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your intrinsic motivation?
Thank you Robyn. Yes, from early on and still today, my greatest passion in life is to help others live life to their full potential.
My inner motivation came quite early during my childhood; by eight years old I was competing as a hyper-competitive gymnast. I devised a plan for setting personal achievements and created targeted goals. I focused on projects and activities that were most important to me, and created a plan by dividing my goals into areas that I knew I could accomplish each day. By the age of ten, I was living my life with high expectations.
As I grew up, and became an entrepreneur, I noticed a great parallel among sports and entrepreneurship-both require mental strength, competition, and the acknowledgment to learn from failure.
Can you tell us what brought you to create BetterBack?
Sure. When I created my first business, Everest, I was sitting quite a bit. Unfortunately, this led to a severe case of sciatica. When you’re in back pain, it is hard to do anything, let alone live your life to your potential. I went to many doctors, tried various remedies for back pain, visited specialists, tried different pillows, wore different braces and went to physical therapy. However, I couldn’t relieve lower back pain through the choices that were given to me.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to improve my life and find a cure. Since most chairs are not designed in an ergonomic fashion, I knew that I needed something to support my back and spine everywhere I went. I called a good friend of mine who was in school at the time and asked for his assistance. He helped me design the first BetterBack prototype. I began to use it everywhere I went, and I was finally able to relieve lower back pain that took over my life.
I shared the prototype with family and friends. I also brought it out to strangers and asked them to try it. I wanted to ensure I received honest feedback. And people loved it. I found an industrial designer to build out the official product, and BetterBack was born.
And what did you do from that point forward?
As you know, the average person can sit for over 9 hours every day, and most sit incorrectly. Because many of us are unaware of this, 90% of people will develop back pain and further health problems during the course of their lifetime. They will seek out many ways to relieve lower back pain. With this knowledge and personal motivation to help others, I felt it was my responsibility to share this product with the world. It changed my life, and I knew it could help millions of people relieve lower back pain too.
I started a campaign on Kickstarter with a beginning goal of $12,500. BetterBack hit this number on the first day we launched! I was the first solo woman to bring in over $1.2M dollars on Kickstarter. Prior to Shark Tank, I’ve raised over $1.65M through crowd funding.
Can you tell me about your experience on Shark Tank?
I am so grateful for Shark Tank and all of the lessons I’ve learned simply from going through the process and being on the show. The show is lively, intense, and exciting; there is never a dull moment. While I moved through these different channels, I was filled with a range of emotions. I won a deal with Lori, and it has been more than I could have ever imagined since the show aired. After Shark Tank, we sold over 10,000 units in more than 115 countries. We are now also on Amazon!
Katherine, your story is inspiring to all entrepreneurs in the world. Can you offer any tips?
Absolutely. These tips always keep me going:
- If you have an idea, and it is on your mind most of the day, and wakes you up in the middle of the night-Take the leap and make it happen.
- Most likely, you will go through many fearful stages. Use that fear as strength; don’t give up.
- Don’t be afraid to fail because there are many lessons to be learned from failure.
- Surround yourself with mentors.
- Build a community that brings together those you admire; this includes people you can learn from as well as other entrepreneurs.
- Uncertainty is part of the process. Learn to live with it and don’t let it hold you back.
What is the best part of this journey for you personally?
The best part of this journey is the ongoing positive feedback I receive from people who reach out to me personally. Being part of helping others get their lives back is priceless to me because I know they can live life to a higher potential.
I received an email from a 93 year-old woman who struggled to get rid of back pain discomfort over the course of her life. She found help for lower back pain and was finally relieved of this devastatation-and it was because of my product.
Her email, along with so many others, is the beauty of this journey. I know I’m making a difference in the world-and that alone makes every risk, fear and uncertain moment worth everything.