When searching for needs for some upcoming weddings, Janae Goodin found herself surfing the web with 20 different tabs open, trying to comparison shop while getting annoyed at having to flip back and forth.
“So, I’m shopping and I have a couple of items in each store’s shopping cart, and I’m flipping back and forth,” Goodin said. “And I’m trying to compare and look at prices. I just kept thinking, ‘Why can I not just put all of this in like a big ass bag? I was over everything and the frustration was real.”
Her concept to solve her frustration was simple: Create an app that allows consumers to put all their items from various stores into one virtual bag, allowing customers to crosscheck prices, delete unwanted items and check out one time from multiple stores.
It’s an idea so simple, she assumed it already existed.
“I started looking in the Google Chrome store and the Apple App Store because I was sure someone has already thought of this,” she said. “But I didn’t find anything like it.”
She started investigating how to make this concept into a reality, and she applied for a grant from Builders + Backers, an idea accelerator that has helped launch more than 300 ventures. She received $5,000 in startup capital in January 2022.
“And that kicked off everything,” she said.
She used the grant, and a still-growing relationship with the accelerator, and built a Beta version of an app for Google Chrome. Her new app? It’s aptly named Big Ass Bag.
The initial reaction was, kindly put, small.
“We released it in May 2022,” she said. “And it took us until August to get to 50 Beta users.”
It was a start, and it showed Goodin how much hard work she had in front of her.
“So, I started interviewing these 50 beta users,” she said. “We’re jumping on Zoom. I’m watching them flip through what we have. At this point, only like 200 stores work. And then at that time I did something I don’t advise anyone to do.”
She did what many entrepreneurs do: She dove in head first to find help wherever she could. Goodin started working with five different accelerators at once, all while still working a full-time job. The overload paid off: i2e gave her a $100,000 investment in December 2022 through its E3 program, which is a six-week intensive micro accelerator that explores the product/market fit for new business concepts. The structure of that investment needed a $100,000 match, and she received that in May of 2023.
“That funding meant we could continue development and start developing all these different features for the app,” she said. “And it meant I could pay myself. I quit my job, and it meant I could work on this full time.”
With 40 times the funding Goodin started with at the beginning of 2022, Big Ass Bag, or BAB, was off and running. She’s now increased to 400-plus Beta users.
“We’re now in version two of our data, and of course, we’re using that to make different changes,” she said. “And our mobile app is coming out at the end of September, which was always the thing we were wanting to do. It was never about the desktop.”
BAB had made up a lot of ground fast, with about 90% of all stores working with the app. And, by joining 12 networks that work with vendors, BAB has figured out how to monetize this concept, and the app makes a small portion of money from the vendor each time a sale is made through the app. In fact, recently, BAB made its first dollar.
“I just have to keep reminding myself, when you look at the timeline, we started all this in 2021,” she said. “So, we’re doing really good.”
BAB is doing good and moving fast. The hope is the mobile app leads to significant growth, with an initial goal to grow users to 5,000 as the holidays approach and 10,000 by the end of 2023.
“You know how you have a dream, and you say, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if?’” she said. “And then you actually see it start happening? I love that, and I think it’s a testament to you really can do anything.”