Sometimes a new twist on a classic product makes it revolutionary enough to capture the imagination of the masses. Ethan Smith, founder of the outdoor apparel retailer SmithFly, has found that his invention, an inflatable floating tent that lets campers wake up on the water, is doing just that.
Videos featuring SmithFly's Shoal Tent, which costs $1,499, have racked up well over 20 million combined views on Facebook. Sales are triple the estimates Smith laid out when he launched the product in October 2017, though, citing a potential deal with outside investors, Smith declines to provide total sales figures.
"I just figured I'd throw it out there and if there were a couple people that were interested I'd sell a few of them," he tells CNBC Make It. "And it took off right away. I mean, as soon as we got it posted, it kind of went viral and it went crazy."
For now, Smith says, customers ordering one of his tents can expect about a six-week wait as he works with a manufacturer in China to keep up with demand.