Exactly five years ago today I was sitting in a café on the last day of my Kickstarter campaign staring at my computer with tears streaming down my face. I woke up that morning and the campaign had raised just under $23,000. It needed to raise the goal of $25,000 or the funds wouldn’t be granted – it was all or nothing. Just 30 days before I had launched SHREDLY – a start-up brand of women’s specific mountain bike apparel. It was the middle of winter in Colorado – not exactly the time of year everyone was spending much time on their mountain bikes. The website, Facebook, Twitter and Kickstarter all went live on the same day. There was no history, no fan base, no customer base. For the most part I had been somewhat secretive about everything until it was ready to go live. And after it launched I worked tirelessly with the amazing help of family, friends, and colleagues to introduce the brand to the world, host a fashion show, trunk shows, and fit parties, all promoting pre-orders through Kickstarter. Now it had all come down to this day and there were still a couple thousand dollars needed to reach the funding goal, solely by pre-selling shorts and jerseys at retail value. This seemed like a pretty far reach and I was already trying to figure out what Plan B for this much needed funding would be.
I was on the road, showing the line to bike shops around Colorado, hence why I found myself in a cafe. All of the sudden, with my breakfast sandwich half down, the pre-orders started flowing in. They were coming from high school classmates, friends of friends of friends and family from around the world, the ‘cool’ local retail shop, and some without a connection that I could trace. I watched the funding meter rise until it not only reached $25,000 but surpassed it by almost $1000. 128 awesome people backed the project and more funds were raised in the last few days than any other period in the 30 days. It really felt like everyone was rooting for the project and did their part with one last push to make it succeed. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation I didn’t even care that I was by myself in public, crying all over my sandwich. In fact, I felt like hugging everyone in the café and letting them know what had just happened.
Using Kickstarter to help get my business off the ground was an unexpectedly emotional, moving experience. I felt a sense of community like never before and established the best customer base anyone could ask for! I think those that backed the project feel a sense of ownership of the brand and rightfully so. They say it takes a village to raise a kid – I think the same thing about starting a business. So to you, village, I am forever grateful. Thank you.
The very first shipment!