It has been nearly a year since the end of our first Kickstarter campaign, and whilst we didn’t reach our funding goal, a huge amount of positives came out of the process.
After not reaching the target, we weren't going to give up and wanted to learn what people in the same boat did next. The solace sought came from Omar Mamoon from Dough and Co, who wrote a story for The Huffington Post, titled “Successfully unsuccessfully funded: how a failed kickstarter helped my business.” Why did it help his business? “One word: Confidence…Even though the Kickstarter didn’t fund, the momentum and people’s positive energy gave me the sustained confidence to keep going, to not give up.” I felt very similar to Omar in that the process gave me confidence too. Many other positives came out of the process:
- It forced me to get the idea out there … similar to Omar, the "process made me come out of my shell, forced me to share with my friends and family, Facebook and Instagram, the world and the universe, what it was I was exactly doing. People paid attention and the press got wind of it all—they were into the idea and the product."
- It gave the idea credibility – people believed in the idea, and in me: 192 amazing backers supported the project and the story was featured in London Evening Standard, Women’s Total Cycling, Cycling Weekly, Tri Radar and adventure blogs. Women's Ride The Night also supported the idea.
- We gained valuable feedback – only by doing the Kickstarter did we find out that there were lots of people asking ‘why not for men?’ which led to us developing unisex sizing, so there is now sizing for all.
- It taught me that advertising doesn’t automatically mean sales – and spending time finding your community is really important.
It allowed me to re-evaluate– after not reaching the target, I wanted to leave no stone unturned and explored several options:
- Reduce The Cost (without compromising Quality): I looked at trying to reduce the minimum order quantity and making locally.
- Do it again - many people asked me if I was going to do another Kickstarter campaign. I had read success stories about this but the projects generally had a step change e.g. the target was lower. My costs were fixed and I wanted to try a different way. So then I looked into...
- Funding it differently – I booked onto a master class on equity crowdfunding where backers gain a stake in the company, and quickly learnt that it was more suitable for businesses with a history of sales who required a larger capital of between £50k - £4m which was a lot more than what I required.
I met a couple of entrepreneurs on the masterclass who made me realize that the capital I required was quite small in comparison to others, and decided to fund the project myself by borrowing the capital to fund the first production run.
In summary, a huge amount of positives came out of the Kickstarter process which I wouldn't have learnt otherwise. I am hugely grateful for the support received and learnings which have given me the drive and determination to progress further.