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Kickstarter can change your life in a day

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

You might have heard about some crazy successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past, and even watched projects with modest $10k-$50k goals getting funded. Sometimes, it seems like magic.

At the same time, I bet there are lingering doubts in the back of your mind.

Does a Kickstarter community really exist? Will people like my project? Do I need to drive my own traffic?

Today I’d like to share the story of Brad Christmann, the founder of Boldfoot and who who recently launched a Kickstarter project for the brand, which reached it’s goal in the first 36 hours. Check out the project and stats below.

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Boldfoot: Awesome socks re-igniting the USA-made movement -- Kicktraq Mini

I think the Boldfoot campaign is a testament to the fact that backers on Kickstarter are willing to support awesome products that also have a mission-driven founder. Not only has this campaign met their goal in the first 36 hours, but it’s also gone on to raise 162% of its goal and still is accepting pledges for a remaining 4 weeks. This project shows that Kickstarters with conservative goals, not just the million dollar projects, can attract ecstatic backers.

Below, you can see our interview with Brad, where he shared some of his fundraising tips and gave us a glimpse behind the scenes of this project. Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Did you expect to hit your goal so early?

I thought it might be possible to hit the goal within 4-5 days, but I had no idea it could happen within 36 hours, at least not until seeing the momentum 6-8 hours after the launch. At first, the pledges came rolling in from friends and family, but then I started seeing pledges from people to which I have no connection. That’s an incredibly cool thing to witness as a first-time entrepreneur.

You know you’re onto something when strangers vote for your project / mission with their wallet. At this point, about 2/3 of the backers are people I don’t know. I’ve always told myself that this could be one of the premier sock brands in American and I’m now starting to really believe it.

How much preparation went into your campaign?

I began working on the campaign more than a year ago. From the video script to the outreach strategy to the artwork, no stone went unturned. Many people assume you can just put a project out there and backers will find it, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

It takes a TON of legwork on the part of the project creator(s) to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. That said, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my backers. They’ve supported me from the very beginning, not only with their wallets but with their willingness to amplify my American-made message, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

“Many people assume you can just put a Kickstarter project out there and backers will find it, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.” Tweet this quote.

What got you interested in Kickstarter?

At first, I was actually quite adamant that I was NOT going to use Kickstarter. Raised as a traditional brand marketer, I was convinced I could build a brand the old-fashioned way. That said, it was going to be really expensive to purchase initial stock inventory from my manufacturer, and after coming to the conclusion that Kickstarter is really just another great marketing tool, my mind was changed.

Kickstarter not only allows me to take pre-orders (and thus meet manufacturing minimums without putting up my all own money), but it also allows me to reach broad audience and grow a passionate fan base in the process. That’s a hard thing to pass up.

I see you’ve backed a few projects on Kickstarter. What made you decide to back these?

I generally back projects for 2 reasons- either the project is new or differentiated in some way from existing offerings or I believe in the mission behind the project. For example, the Dart laptop charger is designed to eliminate the hassle of lugging around an oversized charger wherever you go. I’ve felt that pain. The solution the Dart offers resonates directly with experiences I’ve had. It’s a product so simple, it’s genius.

On that other hand, the Blue Lace Project did an incredible job of bringing awareness to the state of manufacturing in the U.S., obviously an issue near and dear to my heart. Jake Bronstein (the creator) is an incredible storyteller, and I bought into the message he was promoting (buying American-made products) just as much as the product itself (awesome blue shoe laces).

If you could speak to your former self, what are three tips or bits of advice you would give him before he embarked on launching the project?

1. First off, realize that your friends and family are absolutely your strongest asset. I knew that I would have to rely on them, but didn’t see the power of this dynamic until the social platforms began buzzing and the backers started rolling in. My friends and family have far surpassed my greatest expectations in helping spread the word about Boldfoot. As long as you don’t treat them like numbers on a spreadsheet, they will support you in whatever way they can. Keep in mind that a personal email or phone call can pay massive dividends.

2. Second, have a strategy for the “kick-stall.” Undoubtedly, just about every project has a bit of a lull in the middle of the campaign. I was so focused on building momentum at launch that I overlooked the middle phase. There are certainly things you can do to combat this lull (i.e. new rewards, frequent backer updates, etc.), but you need to be working on these tactics from the beginning of the project.

3. Lastly, try not to get so caught up on the ups and downs of the campaign. It’s been a wild roller coaster of emotions the last few weeks, and while I’ve tried to stay calm, sometimes you have to put things in perspective and take the long-term view. On the one hand, it’s good to celebrate the big wins, but don’t immediately think that your project has a golden halo. There will be times when you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum as not everyone is going to like your project and some backers may even cancel their orders. That’s all OK. Look at the bigger picture and try to be as objective as possible when evaluating your progress.

Stats: ~1170 video views and just hit 301 backers. The average backer amount is $52.10.

Where does your passion for boldfoot come from and where do you see this project taking you?

I wanted to start a company with an American-made mission for a while. Socks were a natural starting place because they are a fun accessory, and they offer endless flexibility from a creative standpoint. My ultimate goal is to build the best sock brand in the U.S.

I realize that sounds audacious, and more bluntly, a bit absurd, but I don’t think anyone should settle for a company that’s “good enough.” After all, no consumer is looking for a product that is “good enough;” they want the best, and I hope to give it to them.

In a few years time, I hope to have expanded the product line (children’s, athletic, etc.), established some retail relationships and more importantly, helped thousands of consumers understand the importance of buying American-made. There’s a 1.7x multiplier when someone buys USA-made, meaning for every $100 spent on USA-made goods, $170 is re-invested in the U.S. economy. Despite this fact, just 3% of all clothing sold in the U.S. was actually made here. I’d be quite proud if I could inspire even a few thousand Americans to purchase more USA-made products.

boldfoot

Conclusion

Elon Musk, the cofounder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, has a famous saying Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.” There’s a lot of hard work to be done that isn’t fun and might have no concrete promise of future rewards. I’m here to tell you that the opportunity is out there, you just need to seize it!


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  • Alexis Waugh

    I love what you said about making personal phone calls. It works leaps and bounds over a mass email, text, etc. When you reach out to someone personally, they feel obligated to participate!

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks! It definitely increases the chances that they will support your new endeavor. The more personalized you can make it, the better the chances you will get more backers.

  • Rental Apt

    The problem is if I call my personal connection, I feel guilty since I think this will give friends or relative pressure, like sale something to them, I could not convince myself by promoting my project in my friend network.:(

    • FBK

      I know. I feel uneasy about promoting to friends and family too. But, a “closed mouth leads to a starving campaign.”

    • CrowdCrux

      Well, ideally a good package of perks or rewards should be worth the pledge. For example, if you go to a concert and think it’s awesome, you are happy you spent the money and would again. If you are selling bad rewards or a bad product, and the people who spend pledge/spend money are unhappy, then you will feel like you are “selling them.”

      • Rental Apt

        Agree CrowdCrux at some points, but if a friend called me for pledge his project, even I do not like the project, I still want to do his favor, but I felt a little upset, I think a lot people will have the same feeling if in the same situation. of course, I can force my dad/mom do it. 🙂

  • FBK

    First, I
    love the freakin’ socks (although, the video above would not play).

    My beloved
    grandmother had a saying and that is, “a closed mouth won’t get fed”

    And that’s
    why my campaigning is STARVING. I feel
    uneasy about sharing my project with family and friends… I just do. I will spend some time with them on the 4th,
    so I may spring it on them…if I do…I’ll report back to this post.

    With my
    beggars hat out to complete strangers….can you feed my starving campaign….

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/349824855/soulful-vagina-podcast-that-will-blow-womens-bras?ref=email

    • CrowdCrux

      Good quote “a closed mouth won’t get fed.” I don’t think begging ever leads to anything good. You need to approach it from the standpoint of…. how can you deliver awesome rewards that will get people excited about pledging their hard-earned cash.