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nstarleather

My first Kickstarter Launched!!!

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Hi Everybody,

I just launched my first Kickstarter:

Not really looking to any of you as backers but I'd love your input.  I'm also to help share my experience with the community as I go forward because I know many of us have considered Kickstarter before.
Let me know what you think!
 

 

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Cool watch band, but I have no idea what a kick start is. I will have to investigate later. 

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I like it when I can read a bit about the company, learn who they are or you are. Perhaps a paragraph on that and a bit on the construction process? machine made hand made etc?

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19 minutes ago, kiwican said:

I like it when I can read a bit about the company, learn who they are or you are. Perhaps a paragraph on that and a bit on the construction process? machine made hand made etc?

Thanks!

I added a much more detailed profile...handmade vs machine made is a messy messy discussion I've heard on this board waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many times.  I've stopped using either term because I'm sick of how people will argue both sides to death.  Honestly unless you're chewing out your parts with your teeth, you are using some sort of machine.

Even a knife is a "simple machine" = the wedge.  It's a subjective argument as to "how much machine is too much machine?"

 

  The bands are clicked with a cutting die, but the braiding and button stud is done by hand (I don't even use a screwdriver for the button stud most of the time)....

You tell me is it hand or machine made?

 

 

Edited by nstarleather

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Im not very informed about the kickstarter thing.  What is it you are asking for  money for? and Why?  Do you not have the money to buy leather for watch straps?  If you do, why not just sell them?  I dont understand.. (this isnt condemnation, just questions)

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3 minutes ago, HBAR said:

Im not very informed about the kickstarter thing.  What is it you are asking for  money for? and Why?  Do you not have the money to buy leather for watch straps?  If you do, why not just sell them?  I dont understand.. (this isnt condemnation, just questions)

Hbar, I feel you there! I asked myself the same questions.  

 Kickstarter is an interesting Beast...some of it comes down to "is it for new IDEAS or new COMPANIES?" Obviously it can be both but ideas are what attracts me and others to Kickstarter, new companies are a dime a dozen, but new ideas are rare.

 

I had always thought of Kickstarter for a vehicle for "Startups" that couldn't possibly launch without cash. If you look at the Kickstarters out there that simply isn't true.  Many people look like they've spent more than enough cash to launch the project just in the marketing of the Kickstarter.  If the inventor really believes in his project, he could probably find the cash, especially for the projects you see with small funding goals. It's a rare project that really "needs" Kickstarter.  

 For me Kickstarter is a way to not just get the cash for an idea, but to launch the idea out into the world in a much more visible way than just popping it out on my website and hoping people find it.  At this point you see tons of companies that have done multiple $10K plus Kickstarters, do they need the cash to do the next one? Nah! but it is a good way to display something new and test the waters. 

This watchband is something that's completely new to the market and yes, I could have made a few and posted them on the website but it would take literally months or years for it to be discovered, if ever.  With Kickstarter lots of people can see, and if they like it go ahead and buy. I'm also really just covering costs if just reach my funding goal.  

I wouldn't have done Kickstarter or an item that there are already thousands of people making, like a Bifold wallet or Fields Notes case, though there are plenty of those on Kickstarter. 

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So, do contributors receive goods if goals are met?

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Yes that's the "rewards" section, it's expected to be a "deal" in comparison to the final retail price.  Kind if like a funds drive on TV or Radio, "contribute $X get X thank-you gift"

Edited by nstarleather

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Here is my question about new ideas on Kickstarter.  You said it is not up for sale yet on your website and yet there is 31 days left to your campaign.  Aren't you worried that someone will copy the idea and have it up for sale in let's say three days?  Then you have kind of defeated your purpose haven't you?  If someone likes the design and then goes to do a search on Etsy (just as an example) and find one there they can buy now, then your campaign benefits your competition doesn't it?

I really don't know the answers and am just curious about the logic. Thanks.

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2 minutes ago, cjartist said:

Here is my question about new ideas on Kickstarter.  You said it is not up for sale yet on your website and yet there is 31 days left to your campaign.  Aren't you worried that someone will copy the idea and have it up for sale in let's say three days?  Then you have kind of defeated your purpose haven't you?  If someone likes the design and then goes to do a search on Etsy (just as an example) and find one there they can buy now, then your campaign benefits your competition doesn't it?

I really don't know the answers and am just curious about the logic. Thanks.

Yeah I guess that's possible and I'm sure someone will eventually copy it...but posting it on my site or Etsy would have me running the same risk.   Kickstarter may get the idea in front of more people who may be looking for ideas to copy.

 With Kickstarter, sure there's a "pause" but there's also a lot of promotion/energy that you get from running it, way above what we get when we just throw something up on our site.  For comparison we just did a better version of our credit-card trucker wallet that posted to our site in October.  We've sold 16 retail (more than that wholesale) and I'm sure we'll sell many many more, but the first month or two were one here and there.  With Kickstarter, I'm at day one, a few hours in and I have 15 bands sold (as long as I get funded by the end of the campaign).  

 

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Handmade vs machine. I'm not going to rehash what is machine made vs handmade but then I'm not the one you are selling to. If I new nothing about leather I'd want to know if it was mass produced vs knowledge made. 

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4 minutes ago, cjartist said:

Aren't you worried that someone will copy the idea

This is already done for years.  That "mystery braid" thing was fairly big in the 70's and 80's... so nothing is being "exposed" here.  But you are correct --- if you make something which basically anyone can make, just assume that they will.

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5 minutes ago, kiwican said:

Handmade vs machine. I'm not going to rehash what is machine made vs handmade but then I'm not the one you are selling to. If I new nothing about leather I'd want to know if it was mass produced vs knowledge made. 

Knowledge made?  Yeah I cut the first proof of concept by hand with a pocket knife and worked up the design from there...

 

6 minutes ago, JLSleather said:

This is already done for years.  That "mystery braid" thing was fairly big in the 70's and 80's... so nothing is being "exposed" here.  But you are correct --- if you make something which basically anyone can make, just assume that they will.

Yep...not afraid of that.  The idea of putting into a watch band is "new" at least as far as I could fine.  I guess a better phrase (instead of new) would be "not currently on the market from what I could find"

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I just copied it. Lol!

But seriously, the 15 bands you already have sold? Can't you just fill their order and carry on?

Or does your required goal "have" to be met?

I'm finding this confusing, but see 15 fast orders as a reason to check into it more.

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Hopefully there will be many more over the next 30 days as well as people that see my name and website.   It looks like it will be profitable, and either way, it's pretty inexpensive even as just advertising.   

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3 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

I just copied it. Lol!

But seriously, the 15 bands you already have sold? Can't you just fill their order and carry on?

Or does your required goal "have" to be met?

I'm finding this confusing, but see 15 fast orders as a reason to check into it more.

If the project doesn't reach completion, then I don't think anyone gets charged their donation money.  Correct me if I am wrong.

Excellent point, BTW, on the immediate sales!

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Hey guys, stirring up a lot of interest i see!

Kickstarter is an interesting beast and I'm pretty keen to follow your progress there. Been gearing up my workshop for the same purpose recently.

I'm no expert, but for those wondering why to use Kickstarter... I see two key benefits:

1. Its another marketing channel... and a popular one at that, which tends to draw a lot of attention quickly due to the short nature of the campaign. Because the campaigns are short, the buyers are often subscribed for updates any time a new campaign kicks off in their area of interest.

That also means it draws the RIGHT kind of buyers... The kickstarter supporters profile tend to be one that supports handcrafted, innovative products. These buyers are actively looking for products that they can't find in most other places. The buyer profile is also one who wants to actively support new businesses, and new ideas to get to market.

Yes, ideas can be copied by others, but this is just the same as listing your product anywhere. As soon as Apple release a new iPhone, every other phone manufacturer is looking to copy their features. It is no different for the rest of us... just a part of doing business.

The question is: how will you beat your competition? Will you race them to the bottom on price like the walmarts of the world? Will you differentiate your product from the rest (different materials, different functions, etc.)? Or will you target different markets or distribution channels? The latter of which is where Kickstarter lands.

Also remember that any sales through any channel is another customer that knows your product, and could buy again or tell their friends about you! People like to buy what other people buy. It makes us feel secure.

2. With the type of product you have here, and the target/goal you have set, you have ensured a minimum production volume. You can produce items for the shelf, and for the kickstarter deliveries at the same time. It is a more efficient use of time and materials, and the cost of producing items for your shelf (or webstore) can be offset by the kickstarter funds, and ultimately help cashflow. 

I think it is a novel design, that i certainly havent seen before. And it is a smart way of doing business! 

My only suggestions would be to emphasize more that they are quick to swap over to other colours... for colour coordination and all that stuff.

And a lot of people on kickstarter like to see something that you will achieve by receiving their money  (like new tools, other ideas, etc.) Tell them what they are helping you to achieve, so they can feel good about helping you reach it.

Edit: Oh, and it only suits a specific type of watch with the right kind of attachment method... maybe include a link to buy similar watches that they could use these straps on??? I dunno...

Good work! :)

Edited by Wedgetail
Added words.

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3 hours ago, Wedgetail said:

Edit: Oh, and it only suits a specific type of watch with the right kind of attachment method... maybe include a link to buy similar watches that they could use these straps on??? I dunno...

Good work! :)

I'm going to get some pictures with my Seiko soon but it's pretty flexible as long as the gap isn't too tight it will work with any 20mm width watch.  My stretch goals are for lots of other widths.

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Little update, I'm better than 50% funded by day two, so that's nice.  Anyone who wants to do a Kickstarter should be prepared for loads of spam though the Kickstarter inbox form companies who offer to "help" you get funded for a price.  Right now my ratio of legit messages to spam is 2/11.  

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56 minutes ago, nstarleather said:

Little update, I'm better than 50% funded by day two, so that's nice.  Anyone who wants to do a Kickstarter should be prepared for loads of spam though the Kickstarter inbox form companies who offer to "help" you get funded for a price.  Right now my ratio of legit messages to spam is 2/11.  

Ahhh...... Pandora's Box has been opened.

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12 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

Ahhh...... Pandora's Box has been opened.

At least they're coming through the Kickstarter interface and not to my email (mostly)...I am reporting them to Kickstarter as they come in because technically it's not allowed. 

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2 hours ago, panchoskywalker said:

It's a very good idea, congratulations. I will definitely dig into it and maybe even copy your idea....without telling you of course. 

No, please tell me... imitation is the highest form of flattery.

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From a business perspective you're doing everything more than less right, but what strikes me a bit strange reading your posts over the last few months, is that you're clearly a mass producing manufacturer that uses machines to do things quick and to low cost. Very little craft skill is involved and you sell your products to a low and in my opinion fair price for what you're offering. But it seems like you want to label your company more like a small business that involves skilled artisans, and are crafting goods that are more than they actually are. Thus you have an Etsy store, and selling your products there to low price, in the same fashion that so many Asian mass producing sellers get shit for doing. Again, from a business point, nothing wrong, but why can't you just openly claim what your business is - an low cost manufacturer of simple goods, suitable for wholesale , markets etc. There are so many skilled craftsmen and women that are trying to make ends meet without having to compete with manufacturers that undercuts prices. Yes EVERYTHING is handmade if we want to be silly about it, but EVERYONE also knows that it is not why the term is used. When people are willing to pay more for someone that have stitched a wallet by hand, it actually feels like false advertising when someone says handmade or handsewn and then it's made with a sewing machine! There are plenty of niches for a business like yours to venture into, without having to muster into a market that is clearly not meant for a business like yours.

Yes, this post is a bit criticizing but I think there is an argument for what I've said, also - I make no personal insult, and I hope that even though there is no reason for you to care about my opinion, can take the critic for what it is.

Regards,

 

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46 minutes ago, ConradPark said:

From a business perspective you're doing everything more than less right, but what strikes me a bit strange reading your posts over the last few months, is that you're clearly a mass producing manufacturer that uses machines to do things quick and to low cost. Very little craft skill is involved and you sell your products to a low and in my opinion fair price for what you're offering. But it seems like you want to label your company more like a small business that involves skilled artisans, and are crafting goods that are more than they actually are. Thus you have an Etsy store, and selling your products there to low price, in the same fashion that so many Asian mass producing sellers get shit for doing. Again, from a business point, nothing wrong, but why can't you just openly claim what your business is - an low cost manufacturer of simple goods, suitable for wholesale , markets etc. There are so many skilled craftsmen and women that are trying to make ends meet without having to compete with manufacturers that undercuts prices. Yes EVERYTHING is handmade if we want to be silly about it, but EVERYONE also knows that it is not why the term is used. When people are willing to pay more for someone that have stitched a wallet by hand, it actually feels like false advertising when someone says handmade or handsewn and then it's made with a sewing machine! There are plenty of niches for a business like yours to venture into, without having to muster into a market that is clearly not meant for a business like yours.

Yes, this post is a bit criticizing but I think there is an argument for what I've said, also - I make no personal insult, and I hope that even though there is no reason for you to care about my opinion, can take the critic for what it is.

Regards,

 

We are a small business, and every one of our employees has serious craft skills.   Some have been with us since I was born.   Volume doesn't mean a lack of quality. 

Also most of my products are designed from scratch, whereas many you might call "craftsmen" work from purchased or copied patterns.  

I heard all that before, you gotta have thick skin... I think last time I was accused of taking food out of the mouths of "the little guy"

I do hate the argument that everyone makes that producing a lot of something isn't art...If one of your customers came back to you asking to do 12, 50, or 100 of something would you say no?  If you had the volume to require a helper would you say  no?   My dad started the business in 1969, and that's what happened as he and his employees raised families on leathercraft.

I get it but there people who do 100% of their work like I do, but they think because they spent more on a single hide, or because they took longer cutting parts by hand, that the item is "magically" better.  

I don't do any advertising, no Pay per click, I don't try to say hand made or any if that.   

You mention the Etsy store... you might notice it has very few listings of only my "premium" products (Horween) or larger assortments (like pouches), I purposely don't undercut everyone. I don't think my Etsy listings are out if the normal price range. 

As far as my own site goes, I make a good product, sell it at a fair price, and market it honestly.   I don't think everyone can afford a $50+ wallet, and I'm glad I can offer a USA made alternative to the cheap imports.

If you think my $25 wallets on my site are stealing $100-wallet-sales from someone else you don't understand the buying power of the average person.

 

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