The Furever Home Friends is a series of children's books, stuffed animals, and merchandise all based on the stories of real rescue dogs. Each book features a different social issue and a set of discussion questions to help kids learn about topics like identity, prejudice, body image, hearing impairments, communication, and more. Since our inception, we have always donated 10% of our profits to Chicago animal shelters.
In 2017, the first two Furever Home Friends books were funded on Kickstarter. Since then, this series has grown into a business with four books, as well as T-shirts, merchandise, and more. We've donated hundreds of dollars to local animal shelters and sold hundreds of copies of our books, raising awareness about rescue dogs and helping kids learn about a variety of social issues.
When we began our first campaign, we had 2 handmade stuffed animals available: Allee and Chewie. After fulfilling all our preorders, we found that hand-making all the stuffed animals was not sustainable in the long term, as the demand exceeded our crafting means.
We took our designs to a manufacturer, but as a new small business, we did not have enough funds to get more than one stuffed animal produced in bulk up front. We got Chewie produced in 2018, and he has been making tons of kids and dog-loving adults happy for months!
The stuffed animals are a key component of our business. Each stuffed animal comes with a personalized adoption certificate because we want our customers to feel like they are adopting that dog and making a new friend furever, especially after reading that dog's story and connecting to that dog's experience. The stuffed animals also help kids develop an empathetic connection with the dog, which can become a tangible part of their family.
In 2018, The Furever Home Friends won two awards. First, we were recognized as the People's Choice Award Winner at the Coleman Center Innovation Expo, and then we were recognized as one of the top four Most Purposeful Startups in Chicago at the Purpose Pitch startup competition.
Now, to expand this business and scale to the next level, we need to get all the rest of our stuffed animals produced as we prepare to release more books in the upcoming year.
We are asking for $3500 to help us get all of the stuffed animals produced, which will move us toward our goal of releasing a new book & stuffed animal every year.
Here is where that $3500 will go:
$400: Prototype fee
$1800: Up-front deposit to manufacturer ($600 per stuffed animal)
$500: Taxes & Kickstarter fees
Remaining $800: Helps offset the cost of the initial bulk orders of each stuffed animal
If we exceed our goal, we have some stretch goals in mind, so stay tuned!
Thank you so much for supporting our Kickstarter and helping a small business grow!
Risks and challenges
During our first Kickstarter experience, we learned a lot about what challenges come with a crowdfunding campaign, including getting the word out to enough people so that the project can be funded successfully. That is probably our biggest challenge once again; since we're still a small business trying to scale, we're still in the process of growing our audience size. However, since we have taken many steps beforehand to ensure some press for this campaign, and because we have grown our readership by hundreds since our last campaign, we are confident that we'll be able to get the word out there to everyone! In terms of getting the product produced itself, we are confident in our manufacturer, having worked with them in the past. Because we're getting three new stuffed animals produced, there is always a potential for a production delay, but that is why we've allowed ample time to get the rewards shipped to you. As always, we will keep you updated every step of the way!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)