After a friend emailed that she was using Kickstarter to expand her line of eco-friendly paper crafts, I was intrigued! Until now, I'd thought of Kickstarter as a tool for more mainstream small companies and folks trying to raise money for humanitarian projects. Not so! It turns out lots of crafters are already using Kickstarter to launch their businesses, expand their lines, and more!
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a "funding platform." Anyone with a project can start a campaign, and the best part is that, unlike a more traditional situation where you're taking on investors, you aren't selling shares in your company. Instead, entrepreneurs offer rewards from the project for different pledge levels. Sort of like a Public Radio fund drive: donate $25 and you get the mug, but $50 gets you the tote bag.
If you're going to set up a Kickstarter pledge drive, it's important to bear in mind that they follow an "all or nothing" model. That means that if total pledges fall short of the goal amount, the project is off. According to the site, this is to protect backers and creators:
It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.
Getting Crafty at Kickstarter
A quickie search for "handmade" on the site reveals 50+ Kickstarter drives for handmade businesses. Projects range from helping a small textile printing company switch to organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes to public art projects that need a little push to make a difference in neighborhoods.
All you need to get going are a great idea, a pitch video, and to sort out the rewards for different pledge levels.
Between taxes, supplies, travel, and all of the other expenses that come with running a crafty business, it can be hard to keep it green and keep prices reasonable. We talk a lot about buying handmade around here, and Kickstarter looks like another amazing tool for supporting handmade artists! Huge corporations get crazy tax breaks and have millions of dollars in investor capitol, and I'm glad to see organizations like Kickstarter helping the little guy get a boost in such an unfair market!