So you may be wondering: why is a gnome running a kickstarter project? Well, I am Gned the Gnome, and I want to help out these two lovely sisters, Jennifer and Melissa VanSant that made me. They are needle felting masters, who create all kinds of fantasy figures out of 100% wool. They have been working so hard to get their felting business off the ground, and so far it's going incredibly well. I am so pleased to introduce (drumroll please) GOING GNOME
Going Gnome is a cottage industry business making and selling needle felted sculptures (like me) and their own needle felting kits. The felting kit line was launched back in 2007 with one gnome kit, packed in a humble zip lock bag. The felting kit line has grown over the years to include 17 different kits. The business is also enjoying gallery invitations, art shows, and the beginnings of a national wholesale presence. The future of Going Gnome felting kits is here!
Jennifer and Melissa started taking us and their felting kits on the road to various shows and we started selling like hotcakes, yeah that's right, I said hotcakes. As more and more kits were added to the product line, the search was on for high quality, US produced supplies! They were able to source all of their dying, processing, and manufacturing of the kit contents right here in the US, they even have their awesome instructions printed right next door to their shop in Great Barrington! You can't get much more local then that. But the second phase of packaging (introduced in 2011) was a vinyl zipper bag that was sadly from China. This packaging also had some design flaws that made the zippers and bag bottoms weak. This would never do. But what to replace it with....? Finally inspiration struck - why not use a larger version of the tubes they pack felting needles in? These awesome tubes are made right in right here in the US of high quality plastic, and come in custom sizes! It seemed too good to be true. And that's where they ran into a little snag.... They have to order the custom sizes in huge volume in order to get them on the production line. Jennifer and Melissa seemed stumped as to how to fund this next step in their business, personally I was more worried about where we would store them all, but they said we would deal with that later.
So my friends and I got together and decided to do this Kickstarter project to help them out. If we can reach our $3500 goal then the tubes can be made and shipped, and then they will see what I mean about our storage problem. So, here's a picture of the new and improved kits, they look pretty darn spiffy if I say so myself!
The thing people ask most is - how do you make this stuff and can I do it??? Jennifer and Melissa are real gracious about explaining how you needle felt, and even travel around the country teaching it and doing demos to help people learn this cool craft. Personally my response is "stuff? We are gnomes, not stuff!" So the short answer is you poke some sheep's wool with a felting needle, and shape it into cool 3 dimensional figures.
And voila! you can make anything! (but why would you make anything but gnomes - I mean really....)
So I'm just guessing here, but I bet you'd like to see how it happens right? Well the girls made this movie of a gnome being made just for you, and guess who the star is? Yep yours truly. So without further ado:
Making A Gnome:
I guess I better give credit to my friends Nigel and Bartholomew for being in the movie with me - Thanks guys, well done!
A few of my friends who have volunteered to be a reward for our backers in this project wanted their picture taken too, so here are some of the little guys
And just in case you are wondering what gnome size note cards are, here's a picture of those too.
PS: My friends and I made our own project video, but ran into some problems with our film crew....Our sound guy didn't know how to work a microphone, and the cameraman, well, let's just say he had a hard time staying focused. At any rate, here's what we got, sorry you can't hear me talking.....
8/4/14 - so many of my friends wanted to be included as rewards for this project, I added new rewards today! Checkout update #2 to see the volunteer's pictures.
Risks and challenges
Well, I already mentioned that I think our biggest challenge is going to be finding space to store all these awesome tubes that you may be helping us get. But I guess there is another area that might be difficult. Whenever you rely on outside suppliers for materials, delays can happen. Because we are dealing with US manufacturers, and other small businesses like our own, our timeline for reward fulfillment could be tight to meet if any of our suppliers hits a snag in their own production. That being said we already have orders in place, and have discussed our plans with these suppliers. That's one of the great things about small business, we all know each other by name and even see each other a few times a year at trade shows. Jennifer and Melissa have lots of hands on deck for packing kits, and have already begun making the mini gnomes! They seem extremely confident that there isn't much that could happen to derail the success of this venture, and I have to say, I agree with them (although, did I mention I'm nervous about storage?)
- (28 days)