Our project creators make good teachers. Once a week, we ask one post-success project creator to take a break from the packing and shipping, put pen to paper, and give us their best lessons learned for making and running a great Kickstarter project. Today we talk to We Flashy, the designers of reflective clothing for bikers in modern times.
Consult the experts. Even if you’ve got a great idea or design, but are a production newbie, consult the professionals. Mindy and I were lucky to have designer pals, and friends-of-friends who are fashion pros. Without their guidance, we would’ve been totally lost. And we are still learning from them.
Production will most likely not happen on your timetable. Having a refined prototype or sample is a start, but the real pain begins when you try to have your design manufactured by someone else. Mindy and I have backed product projects so we were used to receiving updates about delays, but going through the manufacturing process ourselves gave us a whole new outlook.
If you’re relying on manufacturers, suss them out early. Start before you launch your project. Ask them for pricing for wildly different quantities you want produced — say, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 delivered regularly. This will give you an idea not only of pricing, but the facility’s ability to scale should your project really take off.
But never, ever put all of your eggs in one basket. Have multiple manufacturers/vendors lined up for the same work, because in fashion, something will go wrong. People will promise things they cannot deliver. And it really helps when you have somewhere to turn.
Promote promote promote. Don’t be ashamed to ask your family, friends, or even strangers to back or simply share your project via social media. Kickstarter is a chance to put your project into the world, and it won’t magically happen if you don’t tell people about it.
We launched our Kickstarter campaign during our last semester in grad school — when most waking moments were spent thinking about thesis or other coursework. Halfway through our funding period, we had plateaued at 40%. Focusing on worrying about my thesis, I hadn’t spent much time promoting the project, only telling my fellow students and putting it on Facebook.
One night, while realizing that this inaction was going to leave me unfunded, I had a 4am-can’t-sleep freakout moment. I emailed a bunch of blogs explaining the project, and asking them to post about our project. It paid off. The next morning, posts about We-Flashy ran on two major tech blogs, leading to an incredible amount of new backers per day, and we eventually surpassed our goal.
Document your product well. Although most of us are accustomed to ordering online, Kickstarter is about supporting creative ideas and not a store with a 30-day return policy. If apparel is a reward, your backers (your greatest source of feedback) are going to want to see clear pictures or video of it in action. Spend a lot of time making this nice, and it’ll come in handy when you need to promote.
Fashion + Kickstarter = great chances if you’re creative. Everyone loves wearing something handmade, or that clothing that no one else has. When you’re creating an apparel project for Kickstarter, make it original, and you’re already ahead of the game. Think of how many iPad accessories projects must go up every week, versus new fashion projects. You’re already ahead of the game. Make it work, people.