What advice do you have for making sure manufactured goods are high-quality while still staying on budget?
Estimate high! Problems will always arise, and if you slightly estimate higher than your predicted number, you are covering those issues, and saving your backers time potential lost time. If things work out as expected, you can use those extra funds to get your backers a nice surprise to deliver with your final product.Obviously you should be doing as much work as possible to get your numbers as close to final, but since most people on Kickstarter are not massive companies, you must plan for setbacks, both with time and money. Setting the expectations of your audience properly can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Lay Waste Games LLC
How did you decide which fulfillment company to work with?
We decided to use Integracore in the USA and Ideaspatcher (now renamed "Nift" - please note the edit note below) in the EU. The main reason for choosing each of these is that they offered a combine-assemble-shrinkwrap need that we had at the time (rare, but needed). The secondary reason we chose Ideaspatcher is that they will act as your "Importer of Record" in the EU. That means they pre-pay VAT on the manufacturing side of things, so customers don't have to front-door pay VAT on the retail value side of things.Integracore was ok to work with, but pretty pricey. I don't think we'd choose them again unless more shrink-wrapping shenanigans was needed. Shipnaked (aside from their not-so-household-friendly name) is now really trying to storm the Kickstarter fulfillment market with a pretty solid business and pricing model. We'll see if they accomplish what they're setting out to do. We'll be working with them on our next project to assess what they bring to the table.Happyshops in Germany has been pretty great, but there's a pretty significant language barrier, otherwise has been excellent.EDIT: I dislike saying something disparaging, but I'm here to serve you, not the companies I've worked with. To this end I share that working with Ideaspatcher has been a terrible experience in the long run. They delayed shipping our products over 6 weeks (costing us over $3500), and are still holding our excess items that should be returned to us for over 5 months as of the time of this writing, and are now ignoring my emails on the topic. We are not the only company they have wounded in 2016, and so they have renamed themselves "Nift" to dodge the bad press. They are strictly to be avoided. Sorry for the negative news.Heart if this was helpful.Warm regards,John Wrot!Gate Keeper GamesMore advice at www.gatekeepergaming.com
What's the best way to utilize events during a campaign?
You could set up a handful of laptops at a table to encourage on-site voting, but not sure how well that would work if you have a bunch of people in the room that have never used Kickstarter before. Not sure they'd be super comfortable signing up and entering their CC number, etc. on an unknown computer in a room full of strangers.Alternatively, you could print out postcards that have some promo art on one side, and the campaign url on the back. My suggestion for this would be to pay the nominal fee to buy a .com domain, and have it forward to your campaign page. That way, you can write www.mycampaignamehere.com, rather than www.kickstarter.com/somelongthingiwillneverremember
What is the best advice you have for finding and working with a manufacturer?
I work with Scott at Dragon Innovation. First, I wanted to say thank you for starting this discussion and including us in it! I wanted to share some other free resources we provide that augment the video you shared. Design For Manufacturing video course. Over 12 hours of lectures to help you understand the basics of manufacturing and where to apply manufacturing thinking in your design process. Our blog has consistently relevant info about navigating from prototype to production (with a focus on hardware). A few recent posts in particular talk about what kind of relationship you want with your factory and what to expect in a RFQ process. The Dragon Standard BOM. We built a free Google Sheets Add-on to help hardware teams have a well structured Bill Of Materials that will make communicating with manufacturing partners easier. I hope these help!
What is the best way to drive traffic from within Kickstarter?
I've had three successful projects that were buried in the stacks and stacks of projects. I would love to make staff pick, as well. If backers can't see the project, they are unlikely to back it, after all! Here are my suggestions: Updates at least once a week, even if there isn't any activity. Keep them positive and talk about how great your product is. Have a finished project/prototype for people to see. My videos are rough, but they definitely aren't photoshopped! I'm not a big fan of buying social media likes. Keep the features to three points. It seems more realistic and pragmatic. Above all be cheery and respectful in all messages to backers. That doesn't mean caving into every suggestion, but thanking them for the time and suggestions.I try to make every project something that I would personally pay money for. Much better than trying to build a project that is going to net $1M on KS. :)Have a great day!
What's the best way to handle tariffs for international shipping?
I think it would be difficult to know all the potential tariffs in advance. You could offer that as a service outside of kickstarter. Do a quote, send them a paypal invoice and then ship the products. It would be labor intensive though.
What inspired you to launch your first project?
I saw the fantastic opportunity kickstarter holds. About 50% of all kickstarter campaigns are funded! That's incredible! Then I started looking into different projects and found that backers really like high quality materials. Products made of materials like carbon fiber or titanium have a really high rate of success (about 75% for carbon fiber). So I decided that I would make something out of carbon fiber. 48 hours later I had my product made and campaign submitted to kickstarter. I plan on a new kickstarter campaign every few months now! My first campaign that I'm doing right now was more of an experiment to see what I could do with something as simple as a ring, and it exploded! I plan on some pretty technical projects in the future.
What is the best way to get backers from Instagram?
Late to the party, but these tips still stand:Make sure there is a link to your project page in your bio, and that you point people toward it. It seems straightforward, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to do this! Every time you point folks somewhere else, you point them away from an opportunity to back your project. While you *can* drop a link into the copy for your post, few people are going to copy-paste that somewhere — just put it into your bio, and let people know you've got the a "link in bio." :) You can also try some promotional/engagement activities to make sure people actually know you're running a campaign. Try sharing some behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, announcing new reward tiers, or letting people in on the cool things that are happening as your campaign runs. There's a lot of noise on social — bring people into the fold in genuinely interesting ways to set yourself apart. Interaction can really help, too — for instance, if you're doing something like having backers vote on a design/style choice or what add-ons you'll create, let folks on Insta know, and send them to your project page where they can weigh in (if they back!).And, of course, don't spam your followers. Stay interesting so they stay interested!