Editor’s Note: We thought it would be interesting to show, in detail, how a Kickstarter is run. Natasha has agreed to document her entire process in a 6 part series so you can see what is involved with setting up your own crowdfunding campaign.
I’m Natasha, the designer of TechnoChic DIY tech-craft kits at www.TechnoChic.net.
To fund my work, I’ve used the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter – 5 times. Each experience has been unique, unpredictable, and full of its own challenges, successes, and lessons learned. And Now – I’m back for more.
Kickstarter has been a great way to share my project with backers and fans, but the truth is, most of the interesting work goes on before the campaign even launches. So, I’m pledging to share my process as I go – like a Kickstarter reality show. I’ll tell you the real story, more than I can typically share with my backers. The struggle of cost vs quality, dealing with overseas vendors, manufacturing and trying to plan for something that is so unpredictable. I’ll share my successes, failures, plans, and plan “b’s” and I may even need your help. Every creator needs feedback, and I hope you’ll let me know what you think – good and bad!
This post is the first of six – I’ll post each week until launch day on March 7, 2017. I’ll be sure to share my plans and useful resources I’ve found as I go. That way, I can share what works and we can all learn from my mistakes too. Only time will tell if my plans will pan out the way I think they will!
The New Campaign:
My Kickstarter will fund the design and manufacturing of my TechnoChic DIY Light-Up Paper Bow Tie Kits. These fun-to-fold light-up bow ties are the perfect companion to the DIY Light-Up Paper Flower Kits I launched last year. (Both products are a high-tech DIY play on traditional formal attire.)
I designed both products at the same time, but decided to launch them separately because the cost for both would be more than I thought I could raise in one campaign. It’s a “baby steps” strategy as I grow my product line. This time around, it’s the bow-tie’s time to shine!
Where I am today:
I have been workshopping the product for some time, and have been tweaking the design as I go. Right now, I have a functional prototype of the design, a printer/manufacturer lined up, and my own rough estimate of the project costs. I’ve created a detailed schedule of what to do when, and I’ll be sharing with you what happens each week.
Here it is:
Week 1 (January 25 – January 31): Find Your Audience / Tell Everyone
Week 2 (February 1 – February 7): Finalize Prototypes & User Testing
Week 3 (February 8 – February 14): Manufacturing Quotes, Money & Production Timelines
Week 4 (February 15 – February 21): Video & Campaign Messaging
Week 5 (February 22 – February 28): Uploading Content to Kickstarter & Creating Meaningful Rewards
Week 6 (February 29 – March 7): The Final Countdown & LAUNCH!
And now, here’s what happened this week:
Week 1: Find Your Audience / Tell Everyone
This week’s challenge was getting started, defining my audience, and spreading the word.
The first thing to know about launching a Kickstarter is this: Just start. Having done this a few times, I still find myself trying to solve a lot of problems in my head (or in my notebook) before signing into Kickstarter and clicking the “Start a Project” button. But as soon as I start that blank project, it puts all the work into perspective and even helps me organize it into tiny manageable chunks. The other great thing about starting the project is that Kickstarter provides tons of help throughout the process. You receive an email with links to useful materials, videos, and articles to help plan your campaign. So even if you’re planning to launch way in the future, it’s worth signing up and starting today.
With over a month of content creation ahead of me, this week’s most important task was to define my audience or figure out who it was I would be speaking to and what I should say. The most helpful resource I found was a SkillShare class by Stephanie Pereira, the Director of Community Education at Kickstarter. Along with the easy to digest (and free!) video class, there are worksheets to help you apply the lesson to your own campaign. I found the “Key Messages Planning” Worksheet particularly useful because it asks you to not only identify at least three audiences that would be excited by your product, but what key messages will resonate with each. I identified my three main audiences as Crafters, Makers & Educators and began creating my messaging and cultivating my audience.
To learn more about the craft industry I attended Creativation, the trade show for the Craft and Hobby association (Now called Association for Creative Industries) and shared the new product news with as many people as I could, adding new bloggers and fans to my list. Because I focused my past campaigns more on Makers, I also dug out an old list of favorite bloggers, friends, and influencers that I had alerted (or tried to!) in the past. And, although I couldn’t attend, I’ve been following the Future of Education Technology Conference on social media to see what’s happening in that space. I’m super excited about the concept of Libraries as the new MakerSpace!
My goal will be to partner with as many bloggers, teachers, kids, librarians, and makers of all kinds as possible. In my last campaign, I had 10 bloggers or news outlets lined up to share the campaign, and in reality only 2 followed through. So, I want to have many more this time! And, You guessed it: writing this post is actually part of the plan! Here’s where I could use your help:
There are two things I need right now: influencers and user testers.
User Testers – Not only do I want to share my project with you, I want you to be a part of it! I will be sending FREE prototypes to 20 testers with kids between the ages of 8 – 12. You will be asked to build the project, give feedback, and snap some photos or video of the experience. Want to help? Please fill out this form.
Influencers – My three audiences – crafters, makers and educators are really big! I read as much as I can, but do you know someone or follow someone who you think would like this project? Please let me know who they are and/or connect us!
Wish me luck and I’ll see you next week!