How we took a weird idea and funded it through kickstarter

Ink Whiskey started out as an idea and even from the beginning we had crowd-sourced funding in mind with Kickstarter being at the top of our list based on its popularity, built-in community and ease of use for the consumer. Our original goal was $12,000 which was an educated guess we made on what it would take to put the flask into production. That would have been the bare minimum but we were nervous that no one would like or care about our product. Thankfully by November of 2013 what our Kickstarter ended we were 332% funded and received almost 40k to start the project. See? We now realize our minimum at the beginning should have been at least that.

In this post I'm going to tell you as much as we can about what we learned in creating a successful Kickstarter project.

Deciding on a Kickstarter $ Goal

When we started we decided on 12k just to put us into production but there were additional things we hadn't thought of. Here's what you have to consider.

  • Cost of production including design and setup
  • Cost of shipments to you and then to the Backers and to the consumers
  • Cost of marketing (if no one knows who you are no one is gonna buy. This means you need a website, graphics, ads and promotions that are all a cost to you.)
  • Cost of sales (We travel to comic and video game conventions to sell our product. That means we have to ship product, fly people and actually pay for a booth at the convention)
  • Cost to pay employees or partners. (People want to get paid if they do the work)
  • Unexpected costs (for us this meant product testing, customs, and troubleshooting with our manufacturer)

Creating the Kickstarter Page

  • Be kind and make friends. Remember that this page is for now, the face of your company or idea. The only thing people will see about you and first impressions are important. 
  • Answer the questions from the backers before they're asked. This is your place to answer questions and address concerns. 
  • Be real, honest and vulnerable. Talk about risks and challenges. Again don't be afraid to address worries or concerns. Its better to leave them out in the open. 
  • Show with pictures your process of coming up with the idea and your plans for the future. Whether you have professional blueprints or drawings on napkins, show people. Remember they are partnering with you so involve them in the process. 
  • Value the consumer. Let them own it a bit. In the comments, whether there is a question or critique, answer them ASAP and value the opinions of others. We have found that many times the consumers of the product knew more than us, the creators of the product.

Creating a Kickstarter Video

Being a filmmaker myself (plug www.redforestfilms.com) I learned a lot from this process. 

  • Show your face and show your heart. People aren't just buying into an idea their buying into your passion for the idea. Earn their trust. Talk about why you're doing what your doing.
  • Grab their attention quickly. Show the product, use some attention gabbing shots to make sure they don't click off immediately. Motion graphics and talking heads aren't enough to keep people from clicking away.
  • Keep is short. People don't wanna watch a 10 minute video. Do you?
  • Don't go big budget or low budget. Keep it in the middle. If people perceive that your video is super profesh and big budget they wont see you as someone who needs their money. Don't go too low budget either though. You don't want it to be awkward to watch. I could post a great example of one of those videos but needless to say they didn't get funded. 
  • Keep it simple. Get to the point but be professional as well as an expert on your product or idea.
  • Be friendly. People don't care about what you're selling till they know that you care about them. So smile.
  • Have fun with it. Don't be boring.

Kickstarter Rewards

Give people what they want even if its a sacrifice to you initially. Remember your goal is to convince us to partner with you. Give us a good reason to do that. Putting someones name on a website or cd book or sending a signed picture is cool but people want something real. Invite people to a launch party. Give them some creative say in the company. Give them some fanfare.

I hope this helps you in your challenge to create a good and successful Kickstarter. If you have any questions or if theirs anyway I can help of point you in the right direction, email me at Johnny@inkwhiskey.com.

Johnny D.