Stefan Loble (Entrepreneurship ’10) designed and sourced fabric for men’s pants that can be worn for days without needing washing or ironing.
Amy Lombard (Photography ’12) wanted to create a book of photographs of people interacting in family rooms at IKEA
Heather Huey (Millinery ’04) wanted to tell a story of the “human body and fashion,” accompanied by “blatantly frank, erotic and beautiful images.”
Kickstarter funded them all.
At the “Kickstarter School: Bring Your Fashion Project To Life” seminar on August 5, Kickstarter’s fashion project specialist Nicole He said entrepreneurs have raised $751 million since the crowd-sourcing platform was established four years ago. To date more than 47,000 creative projects have been funded.
“My idea is this…” and “We can’t do this without you” are the two bookends of a Kickstarter campaign.
The rules are simple: you must be trying to get funding for a product, service or project. Funders do not get a stake in your business or project, but typically receive goodies — like the product itself, or one picture from a picture book.
Assistant Dean Sass Brown, a self-proclaimed “serial funder” of various campaigns, (one for a jacket that plays music), spoke about why investing in someone else’s campaign is worthwhile. Brown favors the artistic autonomy the campaigns allow for, and the unique connection funders of have to project developers.
“For the cost of a couple Starbucks coffees you can have an impact on somebody’s project in bringing it into the world,” she says.
Keep your funders abreast of your progress, said He, even if it mean’s reporting that you’ve been banging your head against the wall. Loble said that it’s important to get feedback even before you start asking for money. He added a critical fourth shade, black, to his men’s pants line based on feedback.
There are some key routes to Kickstarter:
- A great idea that excites potential donors.
- Using social media outlets to promote your project.
- Different levels of awards to give donors depending on the size of their donations.
- A good explanation, preferably on video of what you’re trying to do.
The “Kickstarter School” event was organized by Yolanda Urrabazo from Alumni Affairs. While Kickstarter is not specifically for the fashion industry, another platform Byco is. Unlike Kickstarter, however, it does allow donors to have a share of the business.
Curious among some attendees: Might some of these small ventures grow into the major fashion houses of tomorrow?