Social media meets investing: Kickstarter helps fashion startups gain traction Digital crowdfunding has become a popular option for new startups. In lieu of traditional funding methods, entrepreneurs are turning to the web to convert fans to investors. Enter Kickstarter, ‘the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects’. The Kickstarter ethos is ‘all or nothing funding’, thus ensuring that a project won’t go forward without the necessary funding; and that investors aren’t pledging money for a project that isn’t ready for the next step. Project creators set a goal, a time frame, and incentives. Kickstarter can be a great resource for fashion businesses looking to get their feet off the ground, though in some cases the crowdfunding doesn’t work. What happens with the successes, and what happens when an initiative doesn’t raise enough? Rachel Dagdagan talked to the minds behind select projects - see what they had to say about VISIT WWW.KICKSTARTER.COM the crowdfunding platform.
1 Rachel Dagdagan // February 2012
Colorado native and Shredly founder Ashley Rankin combined her love for sports, mountains and apparel design.
I studied apparel design at Colorado State University, so Shredly is the culmination of all the things I love.
Would you consider a second Kickstarter campaign? “I hope we don’t have
to consider another campaign! But either way, Kickstarter is a great avenue, and everything is always better the second time around after you PRODUCT Fashionable mountain biking apparel with exceptional fit learn more.” - “We went through four rounds of samples to get the fit perfect. I am Aha! Moment “When I first had lucky enough to have the best pat- my logo embroidered on a sample short. It looked so alive.” tern maker in the cycling industry.” Career Background “I still
have a part-time job! I’m a graphic designer and marketer for a boutique resort and luxury real estate company.”
Funding “I’m only using Kick-
I wish I had known “Every-
thing takes 3 or 4 times longer than you think. We’re just making our entrance to the market - our original goal was September (2011).”
What’s next “Getting the prod-
starter for half our funds. The other uct out there!” half is a mix of loans, personal investMORE INFO ment, and private investors.”
cheers to lookin’ good while playing in the dirt. more info shredly.com. prices start at $45 for a jersey; $125 for a short. Made in usa.
2 Rachel Dagdagan // February 2012
Industrial designer Ben Gould likes to make things, and his fascination with discarded materials and sustainability led him to design LifeCycle bracelets.
I grew up in a creative family. We are always tossing ideas back and forth.
Fisher-Price and just completed a I had something the Kickstarter year contract with Hasbro. I have community would love.” also worked a lot in theater, both as a carpenter and set designer.” Aha! Moment “When I showed
my mother what I had just made, I could see that I blew her mind. That my product on Etsy. I chose to fea- was when I knew I had something ture my work on Kickstarter, and good.” Kickstarter has managed to attract enough people that want to see their Product Bracelets made from money go towards projects and prod- Would you consider a second Kickstarter discarded bike chain. ucts with a cause. I felt that my goal campaign? “It is still too soon to create a sustainable product would to tell whether this project has been Career Background Pratt be well received here, and knew that successful or not. The first thing that University “I first interned for I learned from that is to set a lower goal on Kickstarter; or risk not raising anything. The second and more important lesson is that Kickstarter may not be the right marketing venue for LifeCycle Bracelets. Funding “Initially, I launched
Words Of Wisdom “It’s great to set your own hours and priorities for your business, but being the one in charge is certainly a double-edged sword.” What’s next “I plan to con-
tinue using crowd-sourcing to help fund my project. My dream for LifeCycle is to build a company devoted to making products from discarded materials.” More Info www.lifecycle.com. bike chains never looked so good: powdercoated lifecycle bracelets
3 Rachel Dagdagan // February 2012
Made in Brooklyn, NY.
After a career in the family business, Rob Alvarez recently discovered his passion for design.
I wanted to do something that made me happy while making a positive impact. Product Stylish and versatile
scarves with a twist: the neck inflates into a travel pillow. “I started prototyping two years ago, after I came back from a month long trip to Greece. My neck was so sore from all the time spent on ferries, planes and in cars. I was looking for a simple solution.”
that the contributors weren’t able to receive their scarf. So, I relaunched. This time around I included more perks and adjusted my goals. My contributors were grateful, and so was I. Robdechi was successfully funded on January 17.”
What’s next “I’m developing a
children’s line - children need to be comfortable, too. I’m also working on a summer collection made with lighter fabrics.”
More Info www.robdechi.com, prices start at $200. Made in Words Of Wisdom “I’ve Chicago, IL. learned that you have to have thick skin in this industry. I’m learning not to take offense or criticism personally.”
Career Background “I’m a
funeral director. It’s a family business so I’m still currently licensed.”
Funding “This was the first time
I ever used a crowdfunding site. I read about Kickstarter in Wired Magazine and thought it was a good way to share a new project. Besides Kickstarter, I’ve used my own funds to build the foundation.” Aha! Moment “I knew I had
something good after I had the first prototype made.” Better luck the 2nd time “I
was disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal the first time. I also felt bad
4 Rachel Dagdagan // February 2012
travel in style: robdechi scarf prototypes
Zachary Park has spent the past two years building internet startups and consulting in e-commerce.
rial. I was actually on vacation while this happened, and quickly realized... we have something here.” Words Of Wisdom “Starting a
business is very exciting, but it also take a lot of work upfront. I think the been focused on building software most unexpected part for a first time companies. But, part of me is a watch entrepreneur is failure. Most people My day? I’m fanatic, and that is what inspired me think that they have an amazing idea will most likely deal with some sort usually working to launch Zeniick.” of failure. It took me a long idea to on projects at Funding “I considered self-fund- make peace with the fear of failure.” ing for about 1.2 seconds. I then built a coffee shop a mock website to test the product. And... Success! “We are now for 10 hours. Once I validated the concept, I be- ready to manufacture the products. By late February we will have the gan my Kickstarter campaign.” product in hand and begin shipping Product Quality unisex time- Aha! Moment “The product was to customers.” pieces with a clean design and simple going to fail on Kickstarter, the first color palette - for just $28. “I’m a 15 days were brutal and we were only What’s next “We’re taking over sucker for simple design, so I would about 5% funded. After those first 15 the watch industry, of course.” love to launch future products soon.” days, there was a period of 18 hours where we made $1,100. The increase more info www.zeniick.com, Career Background 2011 was a direct result from a post by an watches are $28. University of Utah Alumni. “I have online magazine called Cool Mate-
less is more: zachary park’s zeniick watches
crowdfunding options Fund a Geek
This crowdfunding service is designed specifically for technical innovation – commercial projects based on technology, as well as basic research projects at universities and research institutions.
This soon-to-launch crowd funding site promotes sustainabe initatives alongside charity. Most crowdfunding platforms are specifically not for charitible purposes. Currently accepting projects for launch.
Read more and get started at fundageek.com
Read more and submit your project at greenunite.com
5 Rachel Dagdagan // February 2012
Social media meets investing: Kickstarter helps fashion startups gain traction