Kickstarting your dream – Why crowd funding sites are a God sent for millions of working moms like me.
It was late in the evening, May 14th 2014, after putting my babies to sleep, I nervously clicked on the “LAUNCH” button and for the first time felt my heart sink and soar at the same time, a weird nervous feeling I am not sure I have ever felt before. That was the day I launched my kickstarter project at http://kck.st/1iKjuOX, a business idea born out of my personal frustration of not being able to find cute and stylish swimwear styles that also covered the back. But like many of you reading this, I always thought I don't have the time but more importantly, I don't have the money to start something like this, what about work? what about the kids and all that goes with raising a family? Then I heard about crowd funding sites like kickstarter or indiegoo just to name a few, and I went for it! This is my story of how and why I ended up on kickstarter to help launch my swimwear line Kenna Swims (www.kennaswims.com) and what I have learned along the way.
There are a few things I want to do more than to spend quality time with my two little children, I try to do as much with them as I can, we play, run, jump, sing and I love it, except going swimming. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing that I don't like about the act of swimming, in fact I love it, but the problem is I felt very uncomfortable when I had to be in a swimsuit. You see, I have scars on my upper back area from years of breaking out as a teenager and for what ever reason, common swimwear styles rarely if ever, cover the back area. I got frustrated every time I try to find something I might feel comfortable and cute/stylish in, either online or in stores. I finally sketched out a few swimwear styles and had a local seamstress make custom made suits for me, and I loved it! Ever since, I have wanted to start a swimwear line that is unique, stylish, modest and fun while covering the back area so that women like me who are fashion conscious but at the same time like some modesty and coverups can have an alternative to the commonly available 'barely there" swimsuits out there, that is where kickstarter came in. It is a crowd funding site where designers and artists launch their designs with a funding goal. People can pledge to back their project starting from $1.00 and up. For each amount pledged backers get a reward from the designers depending on how much they pledged. In my project, the rewards include the swimsuits you see on my website.
At the time of this blog post, my Kickstarter project is 90% funded with 3 more days to go and I am still hopeful that by spreading the word out to women that share my vision, I will successfully fund the kickstarter project and be well in my way to launching the line officially. You can check it out here http://kck.st/1iKjuOX. I wanted to share a few pointers to anyone who might be interested in starting a project on kickstarter.
1. Don't think you can just post your project and hope people will buy. Be shameless in promoting your project to family and friends before you launch. Let them know about your project before hand and ask for feedback, but most of all ask if they are willing to pledge what ever they can to help. Let them know your rewards as well. Personal email yields a much higher interest/pledge result than just a mass email. Let them feel special and craft a personal email to each person. It might take time but it is worth it in the end.
2. Have a good back ground story to your product. In the promo video, make sure that you connect to potential backers which will also become your future customers by explaining why this product/project is special to you so that they can feel what you feel. Backers want to help people they connect with rather than just buy a cool product.
3. Reach out to media and bloggers relentlessly. This might be tiresome but keep trying, this could make a ton of difference in exposure, which is crucial especially since you only have a short time to get to your pledge goal (30 to 60 days)
4. Last but not least, as hard as it can be, don't be obsessed with the outcome, as long as you give it your best, in the end what ever will be, will be. Be proud of what you have done and keep going.
I hope many more women will take advantage of these crowd funding sites to help launch their dream products as an alternative to conventional loans by big banks that can be very hard to come by. Please leave your comments and let me know your thoughts about crowd funding, did you or someone you know try it/planning on giving it a try? Would love to hear from you.