We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali Goldman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ali, what do you attribute your success to?

The number one factor that has contributed to the success of SplayTray is the unwavering confidence I have had in the product. After studying design in college, I knew I wanted to use my creativity to invent a product that would be a simple solution to an everyday problem with an overarching goal of making people’s lives easier. From the moment I came up with the idea for SplayTray, I not only knew in my gut that this was the product to accomplish that goal, but that it was truly an item people needed. Despite a difficult Kickstarter campaign and proceeding to run SplayTray on the side of a full-time job, my belief in the product itself never faltered.

SplayTray is unique in that it’s a completely novel and innovative product that allows for such a wide range of uses. When I started receiving comments from customers like “I don’t know how I ever functioned without it” and that “it’s an absolute necessity”, it validated the usefulness of SplayTray and the challenge became how I was going to spread the word about it. I truly believe that the confidence in what I’m selling, which includes knowing how it provides value and having the determination to market it effectively, is what has ultimately led to SplayTray’s success.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I created SplayTray, a bag that transforms into a tray to make it easier to find those tiny items that often hide at the bottom of your bag. It can be used for everything from makeup and toiletries, to picnic food and art supplies. I came up with the idea about 3.5 years ago, I ran a Kickstarter campaign in December of 2018 to fund the first production run of the original “Small Black SplayTray”, and have since introduced a larger size and 7 new colors.

I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today without a strong sense of determination and resilience. For as long as I can remember, whenever I had set my mind to something, I would do everything in my power to make it happen. For about 5 years after graduating college, I knew I wanted to create a product and start my own business but the right idea just hadn’t come to me. When I finally thought of the idea for SplayTray and I started building the first prototype, I knew that I had to pursue it.

Coming up with the concept for SplayTray was one thing, but actually investing the time and money in creating it was a different thing entirely. I had just returned home to Los Angeles after a year in Australia and as much as I didn’t want to be living with my parents at the age of 26, I knew it was the only way I would give this new idea the time it required to get it off the ground. After running the Kickstarter campaign, I accepted a full time job at a tech company in San Francisco with the intention of working on SplayTray on the side. The biggest challenge was learning how to balance my time between a demanding day job, maintaining a social life, staying active, and devoting the necessary hours to SplayTray. This wasn’t easy and I learned that if I wanted SplayTray to be successful, I needed to make some sacrifices, which often came in the form of skipping social events and time with friends. There were several points when I questioned whether it was worth staying at home all weekend to work on growing my business but I knew what I was trying to achieve and I had made a promise to myself to work hard in order to make it a success.

Of everything that has gone into the creation of SplayTray over the past 3.5 years, I am most proud of the fact that I never gave up on it and remained determined to see SplayTray take off. I was certain that I had invented something that was not only unique and innovative, but a product that would genuinely help make people’s lives easier. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this experience so far is to always trust your gut. If you truly believe in what you’re creating, you owe it to yourself to put everything you can into it.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Now that I am back in Los Angeles (in Agoura Hills), this would be my itinerary for a visitor: Day 1 (Friday): Pick up sandwiches from Italia Deli in Agoura, take Kanan Road to Malibu (point out the Bachelor Mansion on the way), do a hike at Corral Canyon Park, then go across the street to relax on the beach. After some beach time, head back across the street to grab dinner at Malibu Seafood. Day 2 (Saturday): Go to Venice Beach to check out the boardwalk and rent bikes for the day. Grab a drink at the top of the Shangri-La in Santa Monica for a gorgeous view at sunset. Day 3 (Sunday): Head to the Melrose Flea Market. Do some thrift store shopping on Melrose Ave. Go to the Griffith Observatory for sunset.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The creation of SplayTray would not have been possible without so many amazing people. First and foremost, my parents and sisters have supported me from the very beginning with endless encouragement, advice, and input. I am also incredibly grateful for my good friend Taryn (owner of Vegetaryn), who taught me the ins and outs of starting/running a business. And lastly, the podcast “How I Built This” by NPR has provided such amazing insight into the journeys of other entrepreneurs and continues to be my go-to content when I need some inspiration.

Website: https://splaytray.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/splaytray/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ali-goldman-95960277/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/splaytray
Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@splaytray

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