Kickstarter can change your life in a day
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.
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.
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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