Good fundraising ideas speak for themselves; they smash their targets and often launch the next big innovation. And we can safely say our latest success story ticks all of those boxes. Designed for the beasts of burden — the dads lugging travel documents through the airport, the sensible friend who takes sun lotion to the festival, and runners without pockets — the KP Sling (a small, practical everyday bag) looks set to be The Next Big Thing.
Having secured deals with e-commerce retailers including Amazon and eBags, Bryan Kinney (one of KP Sling’s top dogs) is pretty confident of their success. “When you can show a buyer from one of these sites that backers love your product, that they’ve already invested $200k to help bring it to life, you’re in a very strong position,” Bryan explained when we caught up with him.
“We chose crowdfunding because, if you want to produce bags at a good price with a quality manufacturer, you have to order thousands. We didn’t want to sell shares in our company or pay interest to a bank. Crowdfunding gave us an opportunity to judge the market and finance our business at much lower risk. It works almost as well for fundraising as it does for market research!” He jokes.
They might have had good fundraising ideas and some very capable people on the ground (Bryan’s the marketing guru), but the KP Sling team weren’t afraid to make the most of all the valuable insight and suggestions made by their backers. “It was great to see how much people loved the Sling,” Bryan says. “Our backers came up with some great ideas that we integrated into the final product, they really improved the bag.”
As useful as that was, it wasn’t those final tweaks and adjustments that turned their modest $12k target into a runaway $200k success. So just how did this enterprising team manage it? “It was hard work.” Bryan is quick to point out. “You can’t just launch a great idea and expect to become rich, we did a ton of PR. We sent around 30 prototype bags out to bloggers to review and invested in paid social media advertising.”
Unlike most of our campaigners, who rope in family and friends to help boost their followers, KP Sling wasn’t making waves on social media when they launched. “We didn’t have much of a following on Facebook when we started, so paid advertising was really important.
That’s one thing about crowdfunding; it’s not totally free.” Bryan adds. “To be successful you have to put some money into marketing and advertising, whether that’s running Facebook adverts or paying to mail out bags.”
Echoing other campaigners like Rendez-Vous, Bryan’s quick to point out the potential pitfalls of crowdfunding. “There are dozens of companies who will reach out to you to ‘help’ your project,” He warns. “So be ready to get an onslaught of emails from companies who say they will make you rich. Some can be quite helpful, but it’s important to remember that everyone is looking to make money, so be cautious. Luckily we didn’t get into any bad deals, but that’s because we took the time to do our homework and researched the companies who were contacting us.”
So what’s next for this enterprising young start-up? Have they got any more good fundraising ideas up their sleeves? “Watch this space!” Bryan smiles, before revealing just how forward thinking this bunch is, “We’re already working on our next bag, it’ll be launching in 2016.” We don’t know about you, but we’re looking forward to watching these crowd funders take over the bag world!