When Dessert Labs originally launched their Kickstarter project to open a gluten-free mobile storefront, they had no idea what to expect. “We didn’t even know really if we had a good idea,” co-founder Karen admits. “We believed in it, but a good idea needs other people to believe in it, too.” But believe in it they did, and Dessert Labs succeeded with nearly triple their original funding goal. Since then, life has been nothing but a whirlwind, albeit a decidely delicious one. In fact, within a mere five months, Karen and her co-founder Joe (represented in the above photo by their paperbag puppet counterparts) had pulled up stakes and relocated their entire enterprise from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon. It’s enough to make your head spin!
A sudden change here, an unexpected development there — it’s probably a familiar story to anybody who has undertaken an ambitious creative endeavor. Printing delays, last minute edits, and that dude who quit the band are all fairly commonplace hiccups, but they can have an added gravity when there is a community of supporters eagerly anticipating an outcome. Karen and Joel took the upheaval in stride by taking their backers right along with them:
“I think the best thing we did was to keep blogging and talking to our backers about what we were up to. Opening a business is messy. Things take longer than they should and there always seems to be more that goes into it than you expect. But if people feel like they’re a part of it, they’re willing to give you the time to do it right.”
Their strategy speaks to a universal lesson when it comes to reward fulfillment: communication is key. Keep your backers in the loop! Let them know what’s going on, and it’s okay to be honest if something didn’t pan out the way you expected. You may even find yourself surprised by the advice and assistance of your community — who knew that Grandma rocked the bass guitar and could stand-in for that recording session? Amirite?
“Our ideas about what Dessert Labs is has changed tremendously since we first came up with the idea over a year ago,” says Karen. “But as long as we’re true to our mission to make delicious gluten free treats accessible, I think we’re in the right place.”