After some discussions with future members of Maker’s Edge, we realize that the purpose of this Kickstarter Campaign and our parallel goal of starting Maker’s Edge have gotten a little muddled. So, here is our thoughts and plans.
This Kickstarter is intentionally centered around promoting the maker movement in Waco. Clearly, that’s not totally separate from starting Maker’s Edge, but it is different. In this Kickstarter, we are trying to fund a tool (a 3D printer) that helps us give city leadership, potential investors, STEM teachers and the general public a glimpse of the power of the maker movement. Secondly, (and, frankly, more important to Maker’s Edge) is that we want to get shirts and other items out in the community to build interest and pull together the makers that exist in our community. This helps us to get some advertisement out, but also helps us pull together an identifiable, large community (more about why that matters in a minute).
Opening Maker’s Edge is a profoundly more costly endeavor that won’t be funded by this Kickstarter campaign. Yes, we do intend to pre-sell memberships on another Kickstarter campaign later, but even that will only be a “drop in the bucket” compared to the overall cost of starting Maker’s Edge. The other 90-95% of funding will/has come from personal savings, back loans, philanthropic donations, venture capitalists, and etc. Maker’s Edge has some milestones to achieve before we can say with 100% certainty we’ll be opening on August 1 with a nicely appointed shop, but in terms of generating money, this Kickstarter is a small part.
That’s not to say this Kickstarter campaign is unimportant. In fact, it’s critical. It’s critical because those banks, philanthropists and venture capitalists need to know that there really is a large community of makers that will use this space. This is a difficult effort for them to fund just because it’s a “new” business idea. If we can identify several hundred people buying shirts and joining social media, it helps make our case that there is a demand for a makerspace in Waco and helps us get the sizeable funding we need for a high-end shop. Additionally, although the amount is fairly small, this is a time when most of our financial resources are focused on paying the lease, architects, engineers, construction, and “surprises” that are coming during the build-out process. We would like to get our large orders for shirts and other logo wear going now instead of later. This Kickstarter campaign helps us build community now and in-parallel devote our other resources to the long task of “building out” our space at 1800 Austin Avenue. I’m more and more inspired every day by the people who want to see a makerspace in Waco. You are a group of generous, capable, creative and hard-working individuals.
Some of you have waited a long time for the maker movement to hit Waco and it’s finally happening. So, continue to join in and spread the word. Become a part of the community now, at the very beginning! We’re here to worry about the bigger financial picture...you should get to focus on the projects you’re going to start on August 1st!