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How Being “Let Go” Led to a Surprising Kickstarter Success

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

“I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to clear out your things. It’s not your fault. It’s just… corporate restructuring.”

Can you IMAGINE what it would feel like to be told these words?  

It would be absolutely terrifying.

What would you do? How would pay your bills?

As you know, finding a new job isn’t easy now a days.

I don’t think that Andre Santamaria ever actually thought this was going to happen to him.

You go to school. You do internships. Once you’ve been working a while, you’re guaranteed some sort of job stability… right?


The sad fact is that unless you’re a business owner, you’re really not in control of your career path. You could be let go at any time, for any number of reasons.

Andre came to this exact realization. He KNEW he had to build up an alternative source of income.

After trying out coding, which wasn’t the right fit, Andre stumbled on Kickstarter. All of a sudden, a world of opportunity opened up.

You can get funding on this crowdfunding platform for almost anything under the sun. It’s a powerful way to launch an entirely new company. You can build a six or seven-figure online store.

Initially, the idea was to devote all his time, passion, and energy to a new product that drew on his skills and resources.

The objective was simple… create a stylish, high-quality, streetwear-inspired leather bag for men.

“I want to show people that craftsmanship, attention to detail, and beautiful leather products can come from other countries that aren’t in Europe,” says Andre.

But, unlike most entrepreneurs, it didn’t start with “outsourcing” or bringing on team members. Instead, Andre was determined to get the design right himself.

“I wanted to fully immerse myself into what the process of making leather goods was like. To do that I took leather-making classes for three months to try and learn everything about making leather goods.

It was an invaluable experience that provided me with the knowledge and confidence to launch this line of bags.”

When it was finally time to get the product manufactured, Andre chose to get the bags ready in Ecuador, which is known for its artisanal experience in the production of leather goods.

In fact, his grandmother owned and operated a leather business for over 40 years in the region.

“I ended up partnering with a 20-year veteran named Don Juan (yup, that’s his real name—the guy is a straight up savage).

Everything in his shop is finished, stained, edged, stamped, and cut by hand. I feel honored and very lucky to have found someone as talented as him to help me with this venture.”

One of the biggest differences between a successful Kickstarter campaign and a not-so-successful project is the quality of the product.

You can’t deliver a half-baked or low-quality product and expect backers to support it. You must treat them like real customers. Deliver something beautiful!

“After visiting several leather manufactures, I decided on going with one of Ecuador’s most iconic and longest running leather tanneries. 

All of the bags are going to be made from 100% full grain aniline leather, which means the leather is made from the strongest part of the hide and dyed in a process where the leather has been dyed all the way through.

This kind of process is used on the most luxurious leathers because it keeps the leather looking the most natural.”

It took facing fear, doubt, and uncertainty, but after six long months, Andre had assembled all of the pieces of the puzzle. He was now ready to unveil this product to the world!

His project, the Rogue & Rubeus messenger bag, would embody all of the goals that he set out with, including:

  • A rugged, timeless, and streetwear-inspired line of leather goods.
  • Luxurious, yet durable materials that can be carried anywhere.
  • A complete line of products including: leather key chains, leather wallets, and of course, a leather messenger bag.
  • A socially responsible tannery.

“A lot of hours and resources have gone into getting this project this far—a year in and my focus remains the same: Deliver the best leather goods I can to the people that want them.

I believe in these products so much that all I’m looking for with this campaign is to be able to expose these products to the world!”

The fundraising goal for this Kickstarter campaign was surpassed within it’s first day!

For the next week, you can get this product for $100 off (or more) from it’s retail price.

You gotta hurry though, because the campaign is ending very soon.

To me, one of the most surprising parts about this campaign was the fact that Andre launched WITHOUT a marketing plan. He didn’t have an email list. He didn’t spend money on ads.

Most of the people who backed his campaign up until this point have been strangers who have discovered it on Kickstarter.

That’s insane!

Kickstarter is an amazing market-testing tool. You can use it to see whether your should invest more time working on a product, or ditch it.

It just goes to show that not only is the community resonating with the product, but also that there are probably many other people out there who would love this type of messenger bag.

One of the hardest parts about living in NYC is having to deal with all of the dirt, grime, busy streets, and commuting.

The last thing in the world that you want is to own an expensive messenger bag… unless it’s durable. It has to be practical.

Honestly? That’s why I think the Rogue & Rubeus has gotten traction. It speaks to a specific problem.

“I believe that to be successful you have to stray from the pack and be different and do your own thing and on your own terms,” says Andre.

For the next 7 days you can support the project and claim one of his rewards, which include leather keychains, wallets, and messenger bags.

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