In the last couple of years a lot of creatives have become very interested in a new alternative way of financing their creative projects or businesses: crowd funding.
So, what is crowd funding?
Crowd funding is a way to raise funding, often online or via the internet, by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people.
Crowd funding is often done via an online platform such as Kickstarter a popular one that focuses specifically on creative projects; Indiegogo where you can raise money for various projects and campaigns, or Buzzbank a UK-based organisations focusing on raising funding for change projects.
It all sound really exciting to be able to raise money online, but the truth is that most crowd funding campaigns don’t reach their financial target at all! And some caution is needed to be honest too.
We at The Design Trust were really excited to hear that Kate Pickering, Founder of Vanilla Ink, Scotland’s unique collaborative jewellery studio, managed to raised £8,115 from 284 backers.
The 9 people involved in Vanilla Ink started their Kickstarter campaign with a target of £6,000 to raise money to show their work at the prestigious jewellery show IJL in London in September 2013. (Highly recommended to check out their Kickstarter page and how they promoted themselves with a very professional short video and what products they offered for the pledges.)
Vanilla Ink aims to develop new talent by providing a supportive incubator ‘pod’ for a year for the UK’s best new jewellery designers to develop and grow their business in a fully equipped workshop. Vanilla Ink offer their ‘inkers’ unlimited access to workshop space within a collaborative studio, peer support, mentoring and professional development workshops. Vanilla Ink allows new designers to find their feet and make their mark in the industry.
Here Kate Pickering tells her story on how they became successful in reaching their crowd funding target with Kickstarter:
‘As with most creative start ups, Vanilla Ink thinks big.
One of our biggest aspirations was to take the studio to Britain’s largest jewellery trade show, International Jewellery London (IJL) in September, but as with most creative start-ups … money was tight.
I had been aware of crowd funding for sometime and had looked into many platforms and landed with Kickstarter, who has recently brought its successful crowd funding to Britain. With our sights set on IJL, we were accepted and so the fund raising began.
What we didn’t expect was the roller coaster of emotions once the campaign had begun.
Here are my 10 tips to help you succeed with your crowd funding campaign:
Tip 1: Prepare yourself to be an emotional wreck
… in the run up, during and after – no matter what the outcome! You are putting yourself out there and you are left vulnerable. It’s a risk, but you don’t get anywhere without taking a few risks.
Tip 2: Do your research
Make sure you know who you are trying to attract, how much money you need and who would actually pledge.
Tip 3: Be realistic
Don’t be greedy, work out your numbers.
Remember to take into account the crowd funding fees and the rewards that you are promising (they cost money too).
Tip 4: Make your pledges clear, concise and don’t offer too many
No one likes to keep scrolling down to find a muddle of rewards.
Show value for money. Everyone likes a good bargain.
Tip 5: Promote, promote, promote
But don’t bombard potential funders.
Don’t just rely on Facebook and twitter.
Journalists are busy people, how will you get their attention?
Tip 6: Devise a strategy
Loads of questions: Who will you contact? Who will you get to support you? How will you promote it? When will you start your campaign? How long will it last? When will it end?
Take into account when people get paid, and when are public holidays. It all plays a part in the success of your campaign.
Tip 7: Tell a great story
Story telling is key. When people pledge they want to be a part of your story, tell a good one!
Tip 8: Keep your campaign up to date
Add to your story by keeping your audience updated, even when the campaign has ended. People have pledged to be part of your story so keep telling the story.
Tip 9: Show the real you
Whether you’re part of a group, on your own, or part of a company; people want to support you and the people behind the brand.
Tip 10: Streeeeeeetch
Be prepared to add some extras to keep the interest and excitement.
If all goes well you could even be adding some stretch goals, these are new limits that can be added once the target has been met. Be prepared!
A good friend and mentor at Vanilla Ink, Johanna Basford, launched her Kickstarter campaign around the same time as Vanilla Ink’s and this is what she said after she doubled her campaign target.
You can still check out the Vanilla Ink Kickstarter campaign here.
What is your experience with crowd funding or Kickstarter in particular? Do let us know in the comments below.