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You Won’t Believe this Incredible 3-Year Story of Love, Loss, Debt, and Kickstarter Success

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Sometimes, members of the CrowdCrux community send in incredible stories that make me get the feels. They make me smile, knowing that human beings can be so uplifting and inspirational.

Up until this point, I haven’t usually shared them, but I absolutely had to show you this one…

In 2013, I met a very active member on KickstarterForum, Ulysses Dickerson, who made over 133 posts on my forum. He is an up and coming artist, who was figuring out this whole Kickstarter business.

He was incredibly generous, giving campaigners feedback, positing educational articles, and sharing his own launch process.

This type of feedback is really in the spirit of the whole reason I started the forum in the first place. I wanted a FREE place where people could exchange thoughts about the launch process.

Ulysses was helpful to everyone on the forum, and I also would chime in on the forum with my own tips/advice.

This is back when I first got into the New York Times and was beginning to see a lot of traction in my own business/blog.

He ended up running a successful Kickstarter campaign, but in the process, introduced me to the work of Bad Monkey Productions, which is the publishing arm of the artist David Delamare.

Wendy Ice was the wife, partner, and print publisher of the amazing artist, David Delamare. After discovering Kickstarter through Ulysses, the team decided to launch their own campaign to raise money for an Alice in Wonderland Book, illustrated by Delamare.

This campaign ended up raising $83,372 from 826 backers in the beginning of 2014.

I documented this journey and all of their advice for aspiring creative types. Wendy also wrote a very insightful article for CrowdCrux on the topic of “Symbiotic Patronage.”

All too often, we think that once you’ve raised money on a site like Kickstarter, that the story ends there… but it doesn’t. That’s when the real work begins.

Over the next three years, the unbeatable husband and wife team behind Bad Monkey Productions would have their skills and resolution tested again and again.

I fell out of touch with the team, but I knew that they were always hustling to fulfill their Kickstarter rewards.

During this time, I was hustling myself. I launched my podcast, created the YouTube channel, wrote four books, put out an online course, and most importantly, began to take better care of myself with weekly meditation practices.

I used to have a habit of focusing too much on business to the exclusion of my personal life. I worked to understand my own emotional habits and negative tendencies.

Periodically, Wendy would check in with me on their progress. She also shared exceptional insights and continued to spread the word about CrowdCrux and my mission to demystify crowdfunding, for which I am very thankful.

Three years later, I received a package in the mail… I was stunned.

Their book arrived! What’s more… woah… super high quality, and a beautiful interior. The artwork is amazing.

My pictures don’t do justice. I took these with my phone. If you want to look more into the book, you can take a look on their website.

The art work and book is exceptional, but this isn’t the end of the story.

You see… this book came with a note. I’ll include an image of the note below, and also write it out so that you can see the entire message.

The note reads, “In 2008, my husband, artist David Delamare, set off to illustrate this book. But it soon became such a labor of love that he resisted entrusting it to an outside publisher and asked if I might produce it. I had never published a book, so in December 2013, I launched a crowdfunding campaign and found over 800 patrons to help.

Our journey was filled with obstacles. Together, we faced delays, debt, text problems, an unusable print run, and even a flood. But we endured by maintaining patience, love, humor, openness, and trust. Together, we turned our many setbacks into opportunities for reflection, meaning, improved quality, community, and growth.

At last, eight year after beginning, on September 16th, 2016, David approved these pages for binding. It was a triumphant week for him. He was thrilled with the appearance of this volume and had also just finished the final painting for our next book (a collection of fairy art).

In the wee hours of September 19th, David tucked me into bed where we spoke of our gratitude for this adventure and our excitement for the future. A few hours later, I woke to discover that he had died. I found him seated beneath his easel where he often played with his rabbits.

In David’s absence, there are hundreds of collaborators who could rightfully sign this book. But, as publisher, designer, co-editor, and wife, I have undertaken the task.

– Wendy Ice”

Wow…

When Wendy first told me about this heartbreaking loss, I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness. This husband and wife team had worked for eight years to realize this project through to completion, and David wasn’t going to be there to see it shipped out and get that applause that all creators deserve.

It felt wrong. It made me angry.

But then, I started to reflect more on what this whole life is actually about.

It’s never about the destination. It’s not about the fame, or the money, or the glory.

It’s about the adventure. It’s about how you face your struggles, who you become, and who’s with you along the way.

This is something that YOU know. This is something that I know. But we can “know” something and not truly “believe” it.

When you’re faced with debt, frustrations, and life events, even the best of us can revert to the worst version of ourselves.

To think that Wendy and David pushed through all of these obstacles with grace, humility, openness, trust, and love, is the definition of inspirational.

Throughout this entire process, they only gave 5 refunds, even though they offered numerous times.

Their community stuck with them, because THEY knew that the team was 100% devoted to the project and they were 100% upfront and honest with them.

When I asked Wendy about whether all of this was worth it, she told me…

It’s not hard to be skeptical, negative, or pessimistic. Just turn on the news. There’s story after story that causes you to feel:

  • Anger/Outrage
  • Fear/Uncertainty
  • Depressed/Hopeless

It’s easy to look at humanity’s dark side.

But, I choose to be optimistic. I choose to look for the good in others. I believe that we all have the potential to succeed and lead happy lives, even when tragic events happen.

I’m not religious. I wouldn’t even say I’m spiritual. I just have the privilege of getting access to incredible people and incredible stories like this that continue to renew my faith in crowdfunding and humanity.

Life is short. You don’t know how long you’ll be here. You don’t know how long the people that you see every day will be here.

It’s easier said than done, but I don’t think there’s time to waste on negativity. All you can do is enjoy the process, give out good vibes, and not take yourself too seriously.

If you’d like to learn more about this beautifully designed book, you can grab a copy at the official Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland website.

Also! Wendy and Bad Monkey Productions will be launching another campaign on Kickstarter in a few months! You can follow her profile here to be notified when it comes out.

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  • David Delamare Art

    Thank you so much for the article, Sal. I’m a huge fan of you and crowdcrux.com, so I was sincerely touched and honored that you chose to write this.

    One of the things that I love about you and your site is the fundamental warmth and generosity that shines through.

    I threw our Kickstarter campaign together in three weeks (after Ulysses convinced me to do it) and during that period I scrambled all over the Internet, seeking information and advice. (Crowdcrux was a godsend.)

    One day I was reading something you had written in which you mentioned that most people read informational articles but never stop to comment or thank the author. I suddenly realized that in my zeal to gather information, I had been “one of those” and I resolved to change.

    This was perhaps the first of many epiphanies that would occur over the next three years—moments when I’d suddenly realize there was a more human, more personal, more transparent, more caring way to approach every aspect of this process. These days, finding that fundamental humanity at every juncture is the most important aspect of my work.

    Meanwhile, I’ve come to trust that if creators who work hard on good projects choose to act with full transparency, humanity, and integrity while seeking to build community, they will ultimately find all the support that they need.

    Our amazing backers patiently lifted us out of quagmire after quagmire and even when the worst possible event occurred (David’s death) they were there lifting me, again. At a time when I might have felt unbearable sadness, I felt, instead, overwhelming gratitude and I remain optimistic because of their love. Thanks, again, Sal, for furthering that kind of community spirit. —Wendy Ice

  • brenda

    “F-ing Spectacular”…I agree, that it is.

    • David Delamare Art

      Thank you, Brenda.

  • mwlang88

    Well said, Salvador! I’ve been quietly following your blog since you started it, but today, I wanted to speak up as I was one of the backers for the Alice book. Wendy did a spectacular job of communicating throughout the whole process. Her story has been, in turns, unbelievable, sad, uplifting, and, to say the least, awe inspiring that anyone can go through such trials and tribulations and keep on moving forward with a strong positive outlook and human spirit. I have saved all the project updates from Wendy as well as our email exchanges and will one day share them with my daughter when she’s old enough to understand (she just turned five!).

    • David Delamare Art

      Thank you so much. I am so honored to think of the book being read by you to your daughter. I am, frankly, amazed to be getting through these trials and tribulations and can assure you it’s entirely because of backers. I often shudder to think of what the last three years would have been like without them. Thanks for being part of this beautiful community. —Wendy Ice

  • Wendy and David were incredible throughout this entire journey. So sad about David – I still can’t believe it. What kept all of us with the project, I think, was Wendy’s incredible willingness to include all of us in every aspect of the process. By the end of it, we felt like family.

    More project designers could learn from the Bad Monkey team – keep in touch with your backers!

    • David Delamare Art

      Thanks so much, Teresa. You have been an amazing part of this family, right from the start. What an adventure it’s been. Now that the books have shipped, I’m really missing our family. I can’t wait to get another project underway.