- Buyer's Guide
Linjer’s 5 Tips to a Successful Kickstarter
Linjer is a brand built on crowdfunding success. They’re pretty great at it. Each of their collections have been successfully launched via crowdfunding bucks.
Last week, they launched a new Kickstarter campaign for their bag line and raised $125,000 in their first 24 hours! So we thought it’d be a great opportunity to try and learn a little more about their secret sauce. Below co-founder Roman Khan shares 5 tips for creating your own successful Kickstarter campaign.
Three years ago, I was looking for a briefcase for work. I wanted something made with high-quality materials that didn’t have a flashy logo on it and didn’t cost more than $600. I spent months fruitlessly searching for this elusive briefcase. When I realized that a lot of guys I knew had the same struggle, my co-founder Jenn and I decided to design and make the briefcase ourselves. So, in 2014, we designed a collection of men’s leather goods, and created a project on Indiegogo to crowdfund the collection.
It was a success – we raised $144,000, and it was more than enough to go to production (and finally make my dream briefcase!). We’re now serial crowdfunders, releasing a new collection every year through Kickstarter. Our last Kickstarter campaign – for our new watch collection – raised close to $1,000,000 last year! And we’ve just launched our newest campaign and it’s off to a great start – www.linjer.co/kickstarter).
We’ve learned a lot from our Kickstarter experience, and we wanted to share that knowledge to help others enjoy Kickstarter success too. So here are 5 tips to spur you all along…
1/ Create something that other people want
It doesn’t matter how much you love your product — other people have got to love it for you to be successful.
I’ve seen many entrepreneurs fail because they can’t get out of their own heads and put themselves in the shoes of their potential customers. They design their products thinking about their own specific individual needs and realize too late that the features or functionality might not resonate at all with other people.
“I’ve seen many entrepreneurs fail because they can’t get out of their own heads and put themselves in the shoes of their potential customers.”
I’ve also seen people fail because they’re so paranoid that someone will steal their amazing idea that they don’t ask anybody for any input on it until it’s too late. Well, an amazing idea without excellent execution remains just that…an amazing idea. Not many people are willing to pour in the blood, sweat and tears to make the idea a reality, so people stealing your ideas should be the least of your worries.
Instead, you should be focused on making a great product.
To make a great product, you have to talk to people, ask for feedback early, and continually iterate and improve your product. The more you refine your ‘product-market fit’ before you launch, the better it will be received and the better your campaign will perform.
“To make a great product, you have to talk to people, ask for feedback early, and continually iterate and improve your product.”
2/ Build a community before launching
Make sure that you’re announcing your launch to someone! You need momentum from day one, and you’ll get that by building an email list of people who care about what you’re doing and getting them excited for launch.
We built a pre-launch page where we invited interested people to sign up to a special newsletter. Subscribers would get previews of the new collection as well as detailed information on our launch date and time and what rewards we were offering on our Kickstarter campaign.
“You need momentum from day one, and you’ll get that by building an email list of people who care about what you’re doing and getting them excited for launch.”
To actually get people to a pre-launch page, spread the word. Email your friends, family — ask them to share. And spread the word on interest-based communities online that are relevant to what you’re doing. For instance, if you’re launching a fancy new kitchen utensil, you could ask food bloggers to write about you, or share your pre-launch page in a forum for people passionate about cooking.
3/ Invest in photography
You’ve built a great product — show it in its best light (literally).
Good photography can do wonders to make a product look premium; bad photography can also do wonders to make it look like crap and turn everybody off.
Good photography can be expensive, but you really shouldn’t be stingy here. Think big picture when you’re evaluating your costs — how many more backers could you get with super polished photos? In most cases the math will show you that it’s 100% worth it to invest in good photography…
“Good photography can do wonders to make a product look premium; bad photography can also do wonders to make it look like crap and turn everybody off.”
4/ Calculate your shipping costs early
Calculate your shipping costs to various countries before you decide how to price your rewards and/or shipping fees. If you don’t do this, you could be in for a nasty surprise come time for fulfillment, especially if you have super bulky items where the volumetric weight will kick in. (As an example, our larger bags cost $50-$80 USD to ship from Hong Kong to Europe with a courier!)
Ask for quotes from potential fulfillment providers well before you launch, so you can plan your cash and avoid accidentally pricing your rewards at a loss.
“Calculate your shipping costs to various countries before you decide how to price your rewards and/or shipping fees.”
5/ Plan for scale
The Kickstarter campaign doesn’t end when you stop raising funds. There’s a lot of work to do to prepare all of the rewards and send them out to your backers.
Keep your suppliers looped in as to how your campaign is doing while it’s in progress so they can plan appropriately. For instance, if your Kickstarter is a smashing success, they might hire more people or decide it’s worthwhile to invest in special tools that help them work more efficiently. Conversely, if they don’t have time to plan, you may find your production getting delayed, which will be frustrating for you and your backers.
“Keep your suppliers looped in as to how your campaign is doing while it’s in progress so they can plan appropriately.”
Good communication is absolutely essential to making sure your supply chain runs smoothly and that you’re getting the best product possible. After all, it’s the product itself that your backers will judge you by.