Hue loves it when FIT alumni follow their dreams. So does Kickstarter, the “crowdfunding” website that helps entrepreneurs gather seed money for their artistic projects.
On August 5, FIT’s Office of Alumni and Faculty Relations put on Kickstarter School: Bring Your Project to Life, a panel discussion of three alumni who have launched successful Kickstarter projects, plus Nicole He, Kickstarter’s Art, Fashion and Photography Project Specialist, and Sass Brown, Assistant Dean of FIT’s School of Art and Design.
Here is their best advice. (Or you can watch the video of the presentation.)
1. Start by surfing Kickstarter.com and backing lots of interesting-sounding projects. Even $1 will get you email updates about each project. Not only will you learn what makes a compelling pitch, but you’ll also learn to avoid common pitfalls.
2. You’ll need to choose little prizes for each donation level. The most popular giveaway will be your actual product, but think of desirable tie-in products and other offers that help funders feel like insiders. For a $20 donation, Heather Huey, an FIT Millinery alumna whose photo book project was funded, offered a shoutout on her collaborator’s popular Tumblr page.
3. You’ll have to choose a length of time for achieving your funding goal (if you fall short, you get nada!). He (we mean Nicole, not some mysterious as-yet-unmentioned man) recommends 30 days. Less isn’t enough time to build momentum; more and the momentum flags.
4. There will be delays. Keep your backers in the loop with regular updates.
5. Make a video to promote your project. But don’t worry if it’s amateurish. He thinks some of the most compelling videos have been just a guy mumbling into a camera.
6. Get critical feedback on your page before launching. Not just from friends – from people who will tell you what they really think.
7. Be ready. Have a prototype done. Convince would-be funders that all you need is money. (There are failures out there. Beware the doom that came to The Doom That Came to Atlantic City!)
8. If your project does get funded, be ready to go into production!