Are you ready for the next step in growing your craft business? Do you need more funds to purchase equipment, supplies, or attend a trade show? If so, you may want to explore crowdfunding, which is according to Wikipedia: “the collective cooperation, attention, and trust by people who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”
A few years back, a craft artisan couple emailed asking if I could coach them. I initially said no, because my plate was full. But after learning more about them, I changed my mind. The couple recycles used inner tubes that would otherwise end up in landfills and turns them into fashionable handbags. I felt their story had that wow factor sought by the media and that they would surely get a lot of free press coverage. That’s what happened; they were featured on The Today Show and written about in a host of popular magazines.
Today, Ken Kobrick and Angela Greene (brand name: Passchal), are taking the next step in their business and looking to grow through an online vehicle called crowdfunding. Though there are several crowdfunding websites that help small business owners receive capital via social media campaigns, Ken and Angela chose to work with Kickstarter.com, where they have just launched a new video telling their story.
Kickstarter is simple in concept. The site acts as a network for introducing business ideas to those want to support worthy projects. Business owners seeking capital post their presentations which include a call to action from donors. Kickstarter handles all the incoming funds. In return for a donation, not a loan that has to be paid back, the business offers donors rewards which may include samples of products made possible by the funding. In their own words, “Every project is independently crafted, put to all-or-nothing funding, and supported by friends, fans, and the public in return for rewards.”
Kickstarter School provides basic training for business owners in all the steps of launching a fundraising project, from defining your project and setting goals, to promoting your project and fulfilling rewards to donors. Even if you never use Kickstarter for funding your business, their free educational training is well worth the time to go through.
Not every craft business will be welcome on Kickstarter. They are picky about what kind of products and businesses they support. Categories include: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. Their list of what projects they won’t accept is long. But if your idea falls in the acceptable range, the site makes it easy to find and study examples of what has and what hasn’t worked for funding concepts like yours.
Ken relayed that he studied around 500 videos of other Kickstarter projects while putting theirs together. When I previewed the Passchal video, it was clear his research and efforts had paid off in producing a compelling story. Here’s the pitch: Ken and Angela’s products take landfill destined waste and turn it into fashionable accessories for men. If you have been hunting a memorable present for someone special, become a crowdfunder by supporting Passchal’s new line and earn a unique gift as a reward.
For yourself, give some thought to what the next step is in growing your craft business. Crowdfunding through Kickstarter may provide the money you need. But be prepared for due diligence studying what successful and unsuccessful Kickstarter campaigns look like. Having a network or knowing others who do can be a huge help in getting word of mouth buzz going about your project.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, before launching any program that brings you more sales, know exactly what it costs to produce every item you make (click here if you have problems figuring your prices and costs), how many items you can make in a given period, and how long you can and are willing to sustain production over time. To learn more about how Passchal is using Kickstarter, Ken has offered to answer any questions about their experience creating a crowdfunding campaign through his Craftsu.com page at: http://www.craftsu.com/profile/KenKobrick