Reports and Webinars are limited to the Region terms of your Pro and Prime subscription, as shown in “Purchased Regions”.

  • To filter all content types to individual Region(s) you have purchased, apply your Region(s) under “Purchased Regions.”

Articles, Video Updates, and News across all Regions are open to all Pro and Prime subscribers.

  • To see this content for any Region, use the “Content Filter”.

Life After Kickstarter

Kickstarter has become an entrepreneurial epicenter, helping innovators earn the money to make their dreams become reality. But what happens after the kick start winds down? The crowdfunding industry raised $2.7 billion in 2011 and is expected to have doubled by the end of this year. For the new products and brands that raise funds on the platforms, expectations are sky high for delivering on crowdfunding promises and raising the bar for innovation with each new project. What is life like for the little brands suddenly launched into the world with the funds they asked for, and an audience of expectant consumers?
Last month we covered some of the fashion success stories of the site—including Boobypack, a “fanny pack for your rack.” Christina Conrad, creator of Boobypack, admits, “I wouldn’t be where I am without Kickstarter.” Conrad raised $34,725 with the help of 686 backers, passing her goal by 218%. We spoke to her about life after Kickstarter to get a glimpse at what crowdfunded brands have to contend with after the funds are in.
When concerns were voiced regarding the accountability of projects on Kickstarter, the platform put the onus on creators to complete their projects and live up to backers’ expectation. Systems have been put in place to ensure delivery, requiring start-ups to share their story, “speed bumps and all,” but there is no guarantee that the perks backers are buying into will be delivered. Even once the first batch is sent out, momentum is crucial in next steps for a small venture. Conrad went about the Kickstarter process differently than traditional projects, bypassing bottlenecks in supply by “first creating inventory, going to the garment district on my lunch hour and finding a seamstress to make a prototype” and eventually finding a trustworthy manufacturer in Hong Kong before beginning her campaign on the site. She saw “highly funded Kickstarter projects fail in the execution phase” and did her due diligence before pursuing the project full-time. Delivering on promises is step one in keeping the start-up dream alive.
Big brands are currently discouraged from tapping into the resources of funding platforms that have been built for small entrepreneur and artist exposure, but that doesn’t mean that crowdfunded brands don’t have to worry about competing with them. Since Conrad filed her patent for the Boobypack design a year ago, “Nike, Lulu Lemon, and Northface have all come out with pocketed-bras. It’s hard to compete with big corporations, so that’s why I want to really own the festival fashion industry.” Small businesses must adapt and find new ways to emerge amongst the big brand clutter, finding their niche and honing in on ever more specific audiences to keep hold on their unique status, even after they have been funded.
Conrad finds that “the best way to build is organically through word-of-mouth, to create a real brand identity that people want to be a part of.” Since “the idea is not a new idea, putting things in your bra to hold,” she latched on to the festival fashion scene we noted has been growing strong in Millennial culture for its elements of adventure and escapism. In order to keep the momentum going, she is developing a variety of partnerships with electronic dance and festival communities for her brand. Boobypack is being featured next weekend at the Electronic Beach Festival in the Hamptons, and thanks to a sponsorship from Red Bull will be pulling a group skydiving stunt into Burning Man next summer. Conrad is hoping that that stunts like that along with a video of professional female skiers promoting the garment in Jackson Hole, will solidify the brand’s “daredevil and music festival vibe while remaining a bit tongue in cheek.”
Every Kickstarter has its own story to tell and the unique journey of Boobypack acts as a learning lesson for the crowdfunding marketplace. To be prepared for production and marketing once the Kickstarter phase is complete, small brands must outline next steps early on. Emerging from funding with ideas at the ready like Conrad’s viral marketing scheme will keep the momentum regardless of various hiccups and road blocks, and maintain the brand’s voice in order to stay connected with backers and attract new supporters. Big brands should make note of Kickstarter success stories since funded projects reflect what is at the forefront of demand. Finding ways to partner with projects instead of competing is a signal to Millennials that big brands value the underdog, as this generation does. To support crowdfunded projects is to align with Millennials who backed them during funding, forming a new consumer relationship that may just kick start what’s next.