Rhode Island School of Design & Kickstarter Partner to Educate Artists

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The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is fostering the next generation of innovative and entrepreneurial artists and designers. Check out the RISD's Curated Page for a look at just some of the creative projects that students, faculty, and alumni have launched on Kickstarter.

On November 5, 2016, Stephanie Pereira, Kickstarter’s Director of Learning and Engagement, will join RISD’s Art of Business Bootcamp to help students discover the resources they need to make their ideas a reality. For those of you who can't attend Stephanie's bootcamp session, we've pulled together a rundown of three successfully funded campaigns launched by RISD students. Wynn Bauer and Nate Mell equipped their production studio with high-quality materials so they could create beautiful custom wares. Crafter Rebeca Raney discovered a place to bring her whimsical world to life; hosting her first pop-up show in New York City. The WOVNS textiles team was able to use the funds they raised to experiment with one-of-a-kind fabrics.

Each artist used the platform to gain exposure, build community and seek out funding to bring their ideas to life. Most importantly, they established real, human connections with their backers and explored the basic principles of entrepreneurship. You can do the same! Learn how by exploring the case studies below for insights into how to make your project stand out on Kickstarter and resonate with your community.

RANEYTOWN: Artist Rebeca Raney invites you into her whimsical world.

Create unique rewards.

Your rewards are a chance to showcase your art to the world. Rebeca’s rewards display her colorful designs and playful personality. As people scroll down her project page they are greeted with bright, compelling images that give a sneak peek of her creative process, and include annotations that help backers understand what each reward includes.

Creative reward tiers give your art project a personality and make it an exclusive experience for your backers Add reward tiers that are simple, well-crafted features. All of the artwork told a unique story. Signature bright, bold flowers. Backwards llamas. Sculptural, 3D renderings of unconventional characters. Her entire project invited backers into her imaginary world: RANEYTOWN. Like Rebeca, make sure to add large, clear images of your rewards on your campaign page. Help potential supporters see exactly what they will be getting once the campaign is over. For example, Rebeca designed the following reward tiers:

Pledge $15 or more Canvas Tote Bag - 100% cotton canvas tote featuring Backwards Benny

 Pledge $25 or more Letterpress Greeting Card Set - Designed in partnership with her sister, Raquel Raney, this set of 4 cards and matching envelopes is hand-printed on an antique letterpress.

 Pledge $45 or more Bronze “Backwards Benny” llama sculpture - Hand-cast in bronze, “Backwards Benny” is a symbol of thoughtfulness and progress. He is walking forward, but looking backward in acknowledgment of the past. Whether you keep him at your desk, on your windowsill, or in your pocket, Backwards Benny will be there to keep you company. 

Pledge $120 or more Painted Leather Clutch - Each hand-painted clutch is decorated with a playful pattern and is embossed with Rebeca’s name.

One of Rebeca’s most popular rewards was an exclusive invitation to her pop-up shop in New York featuring her original artwork and sculptures. Giving your backers the chance to meet you in-person remains one of the best rewards, it allows your community to celebrate with you and feel invested in your success. Backers appreciate creative experiences that include them in your project experience. This could be a pop-up exhibition, private tour or even helping the artist curate their collection.

Backer rewards are one of the most fun parts of developing your project — you have the opportunity to get your art out into the world, and encourage others to get involved in the creative process. By using colorful timelines and illustrations, Rebeca gives a clear understanding of what her project is about and how people can contribute to her journey. Explore more of Rebeca’s campaign here.

Felt + Fat : Food artisans, Wynn Bauer and Nate Mell, create beautiful, sustainable custom wares for restaurants.

Include eye-catching images on your project page.

Felt+Fat was born out of a collaboration between Wynn Bauer and Nate Mell. The students used their Kickstarter project to highlight their beautifully handmade tableware. All of the project images were compelling and noted the craftsmanship of their work. The images they shared were memorable and helped backers visualize their project on their own dinner tables. Their updates also included intriguing photos that helped tell their story.

Wynn Bauer and Nate Mell also included process photos in their backer updates. They selected images that felt personal, authentic, and that drew their community in. Their photos were also able to attract the attention of press –– print publications, bloggers, and even Kickstarter’s editorial team. Explore more of Felt+Fat’s campaign here

WOVNS: Designers, Dena and Chelsea Molnar, allows anyone to turn their creative patterns into custom Jacquard-woven fabrics.

Send updates that are interesting and shareable.

WOVNS creators, Dena and Chelsea Molnar, relied heavily on their community to help them launch their product. Practicing transparency and asking for feedback helped them establish stronger relationships with their backers. Whenever they encountered an exciting development or hit a milestone, they let their community know. For example, they shared detailed process posts, along with tutorials to help backers learn how to use their digital platform. The WOVNS team recommends the following advice for communicating with backers:

1.) Update your community often during your campaign, as well as in the fulfillment phase.

2.) Share your development story and your plans after the campaign––your community will enjoy hearing how you got started, what qualifies you to launch your product, and feel connected to helping bring it to fruition.

3.) Share your process and educate your community on your product or service! You can not expect your backers to 100% understand how or what your are making, so do not be afraid to get technical with them in updates. They will appreciate getting the "inside scoop" on a design or manufacturing process!

Examples of WOVNS Backer Updates

“Kickstarter is a valuable resource for community building, often critical to a product's success. Our business, WOVNS, is a platform for the on-demand production of woven textiles. It's success has been predicated on the building of such a community to meet manufacturer demand, generate knowledge sharing of the textile design process and results. Kickstarter has been instrumental in helping WOVNS build this following and in fostering a supportive venue for connection,” says Dena. Explore more of WOVNS campaign here.

The Art and Business Bootcamp is hosted by RISD and will focus workshops that will help artists develop a business plan, market and promote your work, find funding, protect their creativity and intellectual property, and more. Learn more about RISD's Art of Business Bootcamp here.

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