ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN...
ONE GIANT LEAP FOR CHRISTMAS...
Hi there, Shed here (it's short for 'Sheridan'- my parents never call me by my full name). I'm completely thrilled to be with you for my very first Kickstarter campaign...
The idea I'm proposing is something that's been burning in my brain for a while. I'm hugely proud (and I'm fairly sure my parents are equally proud) to bring you my groundbreaking new product for this year's festive season: Belt Mistletoe™. I hope you'll agree that I've successfully captured the very meaning of Christmas in this carefully designed novelty gift item:
The concept is simple: a piece of plastic mistletoe that clips to the top of any belt or waistband - and conveniently, it can also be attached to a hat or bracelet, like this:
It can even be clipped to a piece of tinsel that hangs from a doorfame too...
I'm quite sure that right now, your mind is completely boggled at the versatile functionality of this amazing clip.
As you can imagine, this item is perfect for livening up any party or office (or even, office party) during the festive season. The reason for launching this campaign now is to fund the manufacture of the first run of Belt Mistletoe™ and ship it in time for Christmas. If my target goal is reached and this project gets funded, then each Belt Mistletoe™ will be made of hard-wearing plastic, so this item will be usable year after year.
WHY KICKSTARTER & WHY 5K?
I'm launching my first product through Kickstarter to be able to directly discover the demand for this item and also because, even though many people I've shown it to have told me they love the Belt Mistletoe™, none of my usual wholesaler partners wanted to produce it with me. They told me that they weren't sure that people would want to buy a joke item that's only relevant once a year. I didn't (and still don't) think they're right. "You're wrong...", I replied. "I strongly believe people will like this product and be willing to pay the price of a couple of expensive coffees for an amusing gift for someone they know - or buy it for themselves so they can have a good laugh with their friends or work colleagues!", I told them - as they pushed me out of the door. And now we'll be able to see if I was correct, in a very public way...
The target amount I'm trying to raise will cover the manufacture and shipping of the first run of Belt Mistletoe™. Because the item is made up of a number of intricate parts, producing the metal tool to mould these components takes up the bulk of this total - plus there are costs for making the factory samples, creating the packaging, shipping the items over from China and paying customs charges.
The process from idea to sellable item goes like this (if you're interested!):
Designs - created by a talented 3D graphic designer until we decide the item is designed exactly as we need it to be, right up until the factory is ready to produce the item.
Prototype - this is tweaked and refined until just before tooling.
Tooling - the factory intricately machines the metal moulds from which the plastic parts of the clip will be mass produced. The crocodile clip will be bought in pre-made.
Factory Sample - the factory sample will be carefully checked to ensure that the item has come out as good - or better - than the prototype, and that all the important details are correct - for example, that the glue holding the parts of the clip together is strong enough, the pivot is stiff but still flexible, and the colours are spot on. If this isn't the case, then we'll makes changes to the tool and request another sample.
Packaging - this is an added manufacturing cost and involves additional design work and tooling too.
Shipping - once the final sample has been approved and we make the first run, we'll ship cartons of the finished masterpieces to the UK, from where they'll be distributed around the world. There are a number of customs charges payable to get the shipment into our hands.
Postage - UK postage is included in the pledge price, so this is factored into the pledge cost levels as well.
YOU CAN BE CONFIDENT OF BACKING ME:
My existence is all about bringing IDEAS to life - I'm a comedian, product designer, author and corporate speaker on creativity and innovation - and the ideas that really fire me, I just have to make happen. I can't really control this. Sometimes the ideas I'm compelled to pursue turn out to be wonderful successes, and sometimes they horrendously crash and burn, like a spectacular accident at an air show that gets fifteen million hits on YouTube.
That's why now, I'm hugely excited to be posting on Kickstarter for the first time. It's such a thrilling and democratic forum for creativity, and a place where I can check exactly what you think of my ideas before I launch them. It also all gives me the amazing (and unique, in my experience) opportunity to have a direct connection with you, my potential VIP customer.
As well as creating 3-Dimensional jokes for my comedy performances, I also sell many of the items I create, with varying degrees of success. I can never predict which of my ideas will take off and which will sink like the proverbial stone. (Although, talking of stones, I wish I'd thought of 'Pet Rock' - utter genius...). The crucial evidence from my past involvement creating products is that I, always - without exception - successfully launch any project I set my mind to bringing to life. I get my idea 'into the world' every time, so then everyone can decide if they like it. What happens then...is excitingly unpredictable.
In management-speak, I am a completer-finisher. (In psychiatrist-speak, I'm pretty neurotic, with borderline OCD - but I avoid mentioning that on my LinkedIn profile). In short, if you back this project, you can be utterly certain that I will do what I pledge to do if you back me. And my aim is to post updates all along this exciting journey...
IT'S TOUGH AT THE TOP...
Believe it or not, I've been developing the idea for my Belt Mistletoe™ idea for years. I could have spent my precious time on this earth tackling lofty goals like finding the cure for cancer, fixing global warming or seeking the solution for world poverty, but instead, this forty-two year old man has decided to spend a fair chunk of that valuable living time (and some of his resources) developing a childish novelty item that can only be used during two weeks of the year, and that's MAXIMUM. I expect to be named 'TIME MAGAZINE PERSON OF THE YEAR' very soon.
During the last year, whenever I showed the idea for the Belt Mistletoe™ during my comedy performances and corporate speeches, it received superb reaction from the people attending. And I'm hoping it'll do that on Kickstarter too.
I've spent a long time developing the design and have registered the idea with the Trademark Office to protect it too.
OTHER ITEMS IN THE PLEDGES...
You can either simply pledge to purchase a Belt Mistletoe™ on its own - and there are also options for you to buy other items I've created, bundled with the clip, as well:
A while back, I became fascinated with how money is actually simply a promise between two people. I wanted to find out if I could launch my own currency and give it a real-world value. So I created my own high quality banknotes, calling each one an ‘EGO’. As my career develops and my profile rises, the value of an EGO note exponentially increases too. In this way, my currency has an increasing exchange rate, being worth more as my reputation grows.
WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU BUY AN EGO
Each note is a work of art, beautifully designed with intricate detail by Lucy Nunn and Tobie Snowdowne, founders of leading design consultancy 'Two Create'. As we started to design it, I decided to turn the banknote into my business card as well. The EGO contains many symbols and messages that relate to my life, some hidden and some more overt. The television set represents my time working in the media, with the fried breakfast conveying the period when I worked on the morning show ‘The Big Breakfast’. The back of the note displays images related to my philosophies about the creation of ideas, my idol, Walt Disney, plus some of my life mottos.
The notes measure five inches by three inches and are a limited edition of five thousand. They are litho-printed on high quality 105gsm Tyvek paper and hot foil blocked with the Shed logo. The notes are sealed, meaning they're water resistant and feel silky to the touch.
HONEST CHRISTMAS CARD
The Honest Christmas Card™ is my 'tick the box' take on the festive season. The idea for this card sprung from the second business card I created called the 'Honest Business Card'. Each Honest Christmas Card™ comes with an envelope, as you'd expect, so you can tick a box and send it to anyone you know who might appreciate it...
'SUCCESS OR YOUR MONEY BACK' BOOK
I wrote 'Success...Or Your Money Back' to be the easiest and quickest success manual in the world.
The book outlines my 30 NEW SECRETS to GET ANYTHING YOU DESIRE in your business or personal life and was written because throughout my own life, I've read certain books that have given me powerful insights and a pivotal burst of energy, so I wanted to write one that would contain techniques that I'd learned over years and mind-tricks that hadn't been shared anywhere else.
It's received five star reviews on Amazon and Twitter...
COMEDY GIG / CORPORATE SPEECH
My comedy performances involve a very visual, multimedia show that outlines my products and adventures - and specifically, the problems I encounter. I'm about to begin a run of my one-man show, entitled 'TROUBLE', in London, England and I'm aiming to bring this show to New York & Los Angeles too.
My comedy show 'TROUBLE' is on during August at the Phoenix Artists Club in central London.
Thursday 1st August: 8.15 - 9.15pm
Friday 2nd August: 8.15 - 9.15pm
Friday 9th August: 8-9pm
Sunday 11th August: 8-9pm
Saturday 17th August: 9-10pm
Sunday 18th August: 8-9pm
Thursday 29th August: 8-9pm
Saturday 31st August: 8-9pm
My corporate talks also involve a visual presentation using props and stories from my life, but they're carefully focused on delivering techniques for coming up with ideas that will bring even more profit to your company, plus I describe the steps for how to implement those new concepts too. My corporate presentations are always meticulously tailored to the business I'm working with (and are suitable for a corporate environment). I've successfully presented in the past to many blue-chip firms, including Sony, the BBC and eBay.
NOW, I'LL TRY NOT TO CRY...
Just like the Oscars (or the Academy Awards®, as you're meant to call them), I've compiled a list accolades to the people who helped me bring the Belt Mistletoe™ to life:
BEST FAMILY : My Mum - Judy, Dad - Maurice, Sister - Olivia and Brother - Russ - they are ever-supporting of the multitude of ideas (sometimes appallingly bad or very offensive) that seem to pour from my brain.
BEST EARLY DESIGNER : Chris Jones - a talented graphic designer who always supports me and worked with me on the early designs of the Belt Mistletoe™.
BEST IDEA FROM A FRIEND: Jo Hulks - Jo came up with the idea of placing the belt mistletoe on a bracelet, thus making the item have an added - and way less vulgar - functionality.
BEST PROTOTYPE TEAM : the incredible Matt Marais, the wonderful Gregor Aikman and the amazing Team at MESO - who put up with my high maintenance demands and created the fantastic prototype Belt Mistletoe™ you see above.
BEST PHOTOGRAPHER : Samuel Ridge, artist extraordinaire who crafted the stunning shots of the mistletoe in action. Never mind getting a photo of a prancing Kudu into the pages of National Geographic, having the image you took of a novelty plastic mistletoe showcased on Kickstarter, now that's the pinnacle for professional photographers these day, mark my words.
BEST VIDEO LOCATION : James Minter and Nelli Poulou at Adam Street for providing the stunning venue for the video shoot.
BEST SIGNMAKER : The detail-orientated Gavin Turner at Almik Signs who created the spoof TED-SHED sign.
BEST LITERARY AGENT : Andrew Lownie - he's super classy, super cool and knows everyone in publishing.
BEST THEATRE MANAGER : the brilliant and supportive Paul Doyle at the Phoenix Artists Club, who are hosting my one-man-show 'TROUBLE' this July.
BEST LOGO DESIGN : the aesthetically gifted Ahad Sheikh
BEST GREETING CARD COMPANY - the charming and brilliant Simon Spicer and his Team at Kiss Me Kwik
BEST SPEAKING AGENT : Miriam Staley at We Make Waves - who is incredibly supportive, fiercely clever, tough and lovely.
BEST ENTERTAINMENT AGENT : WANTED - I'm currently seeking an exceptional Entertainment Agent in the U.K. and the U.S. to help me launch and promote my one-man comedy show, 'TROUBLE'. Please get in touch through my website if you know one or are one.
BEST LAWYER: The wonderful Legal Eagles Thomas Henson and Richard Barnett - and the brilliant Team at Hansel Henson, who often have to get me out of trouble when I encounter it with my products or adventures
BEST SUPPORTERS : Everyone I've ever met online, in real life, at one of my comedy shows or corporate speeches - and even the people I've met in the fetish club around the corner from my home, thank you for supporting me and what I do. And to the readers of my books too (the real ones, not the blank ones) and everyone who's bought my products too. Every person who has ever said 'Go for it, Shed!' has a place in my heart - your positivity is powerful, energising, and hugely appreciated.
BEST TEACHER WHEN I WAS GROWING UP : My History Teacher, Dr Davies was a wonderful man. He saw something in the awkward troubled teenager I was and his help made me reach the standards necessary to land a place at Oxford University, when other teachers said it wasn't possible. That 'achievement' gave me confidence for years afterwards. Great teachers create fulfilled adults. Thanks Dr D!
BEST KICKSTARTERS: If you decide to pledge to my campaign, then this means YOU. Thank you for your time, hard earned cash and belief... I appreciate it greatly. And of course, if you get involved in backing the Belt Mistletoe™ campaign, I will be wishing you (quite far in advance) a very:
Risks and challenges
Ah...Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in just a shirt and sunglasses. That was before he started to believe that everyone in the world was a lizard or an alien - or a lizard-alien, I'm not exactly sure.
So, is this a 'Risky Business' proposal?
The first run of the Belt Mistletoe™ will cost five thousand pounds. The cost price I've set for the pledges on the right are based on the costs of the tooling, manufacturing and shipping involved if I reach my goal.
EVALUATING YOUR RISK
Your risk is neatly minimised for a number of reasons:
1) A LONG TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS
I've successfully launched products in the past, so I know the process from manufacture to delivery - and the myriad of challenges involved. What's more, I'm hugely excited about engaging with - and fulfilling directly to - you, my potential future customer.
2) AN EVEN LONGER TRACK RECORD OF FAILURE
I've also failed. A lot. I always fail fast and always with my own money, which I make certain is a pre-determined set budget that I stick to, each time. I've got six hundred ideas in my portfolio for anything from phone apps to product concepts to movie treatments. When I've launched some of these ideas in the past and they didn't 'catch fire', those experiences have taught me invaluable lessons that make it more likely I'll succeed every time I launch something new in the future.
In my latest book, I outline some my 'life slogans'. One of these is this: 'It's called a MISTAKE because you TAKE something from it.' Even though that might sound cheesier than a Gorgonzola factory, I believe it to be the truth.
I've made SO MANY mistakes over the years - and each of them has taught me something important about how to get something done.
In this case, I know that manufacturing and shipping challenges might mean that it takes longer than expected to make the item and this is the reason I'm launching my Kickstarter campaign now so that I have enough time to send you your Belt Mistletoe™ to you before December.
3) WE ALREADY HAVE A FACTORY TO MANUFACTURE THE BELT MISTLETOE
Should my campaign be successful, I've already teamed up with a factory to make the first run of the Belt Mistletoe™, therefore, the process from 'go-ahead' to final delivery will be as swift as possible.
4) I'M A COMPLETER-FINISHER
If I say I'll do something, I'll not rest until it's done. One example: I had an idea for a new range of 'character playing cards' called 'HELLEBRITIES. They took eight years to launch and I suffered many setbacks along the way, but never gave up and got them successfully released. Crushingly, after all that effort, they sold appallingly badly. But the point is, I didn't stop until I had brought the idea to life and got it into my customers hands. And I'll do the same here, but not take so long to do so.
- (30 days)