If you think that you need to tech talent, a marketing budget or influencer connections to build your business through ratings & reviews, you don’t. How do we know? Because we didn’t have any of those advantages—we didn’t even have a website—when we began our mission to gather ratings & reviews. Since then, we’ve built multiple multi-million-dollar brands, achieved national distribution across major retailers of scale and transformed our business by gathering and leveraging our customers very own words.
How many ratings & reviews did we have on our products in 2015? Zero. Fast-forward to today, we’ve gathered and syndicated over 250,000 ratings & reviews, built the #1 rated and reviewed wholesale travel brand, re-launched the #1 rated & reviewed wellness kit brand during Covid-19, earned prestigious awards and grew our business 20x. The best part … you can too..
In 2015, we had zero ratings and zero reviews on the products under our flagship travel brand that was sold exclusively at one third-party retailer. By 2020, we had generated and syndicated over 250,000 ratings & reviews, built the #1 rated and reviewed travel brand, launched the #1 rated & reviewed wellness kit brand, earned countless awards and grew our business 20x.
Calego Insights is the business intelligence arm of Calego International Inc., a privately held third-generation family business that was founded in 1931. Calego is not a private-equity backed company, nor does it rely on growth capital to accelerate particular aspects of our business. We’re telling you this because we want you to know that to build and execute your ratings & reviews strategy, you don’t need to be a major organization, have hundreds or even dozens of employees or have access to any special types of investment. All you need is a game plan and a set of tactics and methods, both of which we will help you build, and to then spend time and energy on refining and optimizing your system to gather what has become the most important form of consumer-generated content.
Since our founding, Calego has developed consumer products in a wide array of industries, including leather goods, back-to-school accessories, toys, travel goods and health & wellness products to name a few. We built these products under licensed brands, private label retail brands and our own proprietary brands. This is important because we have had success generating ratings & reviews for products whose licensed, private label and proprietary brands. We’ve written a separate piece that discusses in greater depth the importance of gathering ratings & reviews if you’re mainly a producer of licensed or private label products. We’ve also sold to hundreds of retailers. We’re mentioning our diverse product, brand and retailer history because our formula for generating ratings & reviews applies to all consumer products.
In the early 2000s, we created a backpack brand called iFLY. It was more of a label than a brand because we didn’t have a website, social media or any marketing. All we had were products that were sold on the shelves of third-party retailers.
In 2013, we earned a spot on the shelf of a major retailer to sell luggage and we used our iFLY label for our new luggage program. Still, at that time, we didn’t do any significant marketing or branding in iFLY. In 2015, David Rapps, who is now our President, decided to dedicate most of his time to gathering ratings & reviews for our iFLY luggage products. David worked diligently to create ways to capture ratings & reviews from end-customers that never transacted directly with Calego, since all of iFLY’s sales at that time were transacted at a third-party retailer.
After months of trying and testing various techniques, David implemented a set of systems that were beginning to work. Within that year, Calego had grown iFLY into the fastest-growing luggage brand that sold its products to third-party retailers. By then, the team had leveraged digital and social media tools to grow the brand further and Calego had leaned into product development to widen the product assortment.
Within the next few years, Calego won Walmart’s Supplier of the Year, earned the Great Brand honour from Consensus Advisors at the 8th Annual Great Brands Show and received meaningful write-ups by media where iFLY was named as one of the best luggage and travel goods brands. In January 2020, NPD Research named iFLY as one of the Top 5 Hottest Holiday Accessories Brands in a list that included Yves Saint Laurent, Tory Burch and Nike.
Because of its ability to gather consumer-generated content and drive it to retailers, Calego received more opportunities from retailers. Some of these opportunities included private label and licensing programs and Calego understood how to apply its ratings & reviews strategies and techniques to launch these programs with hundreds of reviews. Calego did this without ever paying or incentivizing any individual or company to rate a product or write a review.
In 2019, Calego launched the first-ever health & wellness travel kit and generated dozens of ratings & reviews. So, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, Calego was able to syndicate its ratings and reviews to major retailers that wanted to carry its assortment of “smart kits” under iFLY’s sister brand, iFLYSmart. While so much PPE flooded the market from untrusted sources, Calego was selling its assortment of health kits that had already been vetted and approved by consumers across America who had left glowing testimonials about the products.
Since 2015, Calego worked to find ways to gather and leverage consumer-generated content in the form of ratings & reviews to grow its business, product assortment, brands and retailer base. With the acceleration of e-commerce and rapid growth of product discovery happening online, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more important than ever to have a comprehensive ratings & reviews strategy to drive sales, build a brand and transform your business.