December 6, 2013

Cover Story

Best Companies to Work For

Let’s face it—not very many people can honestly say they love ...Read More

Featured Articles

Resolutions for a Better Utah

Head of the Class

Sections

Features
2014 Economic Forecast

Legal Briefs
E-Verify Errors

Money Talk
Little Shop on Main

Economic Insight
My Holiday Wish

Lessons Learned
The Road Less Traveled

TechKnowledge
Word of Mouth

EntrepreneurEdge
Fund Your Dream

Business Trends
Bargain Shoppers

Spotlight
Brad Petersen: Outdoor Enthusiast Responds to Call from Governor

Spotlight
Teresa Whitehead: Helping People Live the American Dream

By the Books
Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love, By David Sturt

Reader's Choice
Readers' Choice: Boothe Brothers Music

Players
Players

Around Utah
Salt Lake Area

Around Utah
Utah Valley

Around Utah
Northern Utah Area

Around Utah
Wasatch/Summit Area

Around Utah
Southern Utah

Industry Outlook
Healthcare

Article

Fund Your Dream

Harnessing the Power of the Crowd

By Spencer Sutherland

December 6, 2013

The folks at Caravan Shoppe just want to share their art. So rather than spend time and effort manufacturing products or maintaining inventory, the Utah design shop sells digital downloads of its pieces. After its customers download the designs, they can use them however they want to make their own art.

In the fall of 2012, a toy company approached Caravan about turning its Mixmates designs—colorful mix-and-match characters for kids—into actual toy blocks under a new brand called Attatoy. Though it was a great opportunity, the three founders of Caravan weren’t sure if they wanted to take on the debt to fund the production.

That’s when they turned to Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is an online funding platform for creative projects like movies, albums, books and technology. Individuals can pledge money at various levels to receive the end product as well as a reward of the campaign creators’ choice. Since its launch in 2009, more than 48,000 Kickstarter projects have been successfully funded. Nearly five million people have donated more than $773 million through the service.

Over a 22-day Kickstarter campaign, more than 800 backers helped Caravan Shoppe raise $33,000 for its Mixmates project. Co-founder Alma Loveland offers up some advice to other companies thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign of their own.

Tell Your Story

Loveland didn’t just wake up one morning and start a Kickstarter account. She and her co-founders, Mike Loveland and Melanie Burk, had been following Kickstarter for some time. “We realized that a campaign needed two things to be successful,” Loveland explains. “A really great video [for the Kickstarter site] and an existing fanbase that can be mobilized.”

Caravan had already built a strong following with its newsletter base and social media efforts, so inviting existing clients to pledge to the campaign was a relatively easy task. Telling its story to a wider, unfamiliar audience was a bit harder.

Luckily, Loveland says, they received a lot of help from a great filmmaker, Jenner Brown. “With the video, we were able to show our product and the personal side of ourselves—our personalities and design sense—and really communicate who we are and what we do.”

Keep it Simple

Though Loveland and her partners felt confident they could meet their Kickstarter goal, they didn’t realize how much work it would take. In addition to the video, Caravan Shoppe had to spend a lot of time determining what prizes to offer to incentivize backers.

The company came up with 13 different rewards for various pledge amounts ranging from $10 to $5,000. Many of the rewards consisted of digital versions of various Mixmates characters. “At first, we were going to let everyone pick their own characters,” Loveland recalls. “But then we realized we didn’t want 700 backers all choosing their own pictures. That would be a logistical nightmare. We decided to just keep it simple.”

Not surprisingly, Caravan Shoppe received most of its backing at the lower pledge levels. “Coming up with ideas for all of the rewards was a lot of work. Next time, I’ll put more focus on incentivizing the basic level [of backers] and spend less time on the higher-level rewards.”

Don’t Forget to Deliver

When it comes to a Kickstarter campaign, raising money is just the beginning. Now that Loveland and her partners have funding for Mixmates, they’re tasked with producing the building block characters for the 800 individuals who backed the project.

“There’s a lot of pressure to deliver,” Loveland admits. “Especially because there are so many aspects of the production that we don’t control.” To keep an eye on the quality of the end product, Loveland plans to use some of the campaign’s extra funding—the company exceeded its Kickstarter goal by more than $13,000—to fly to the overseas production factory. She’s confident the toys will be created and delivered before Christmas.

Though plenty of uncertainty comes with taking a digital product like Mixmates into the physical world, Loveland is glad that Kickstarter made it a possibility. She says she and her partners are already looking forward to their next campaign. 

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Health Care HeroesUtah Business Event
Oct 21, 2014
Please join us, along with our sponsors, MountainStar Healthcare, and Roseman University in honor...
Content Marketing BootcampUtah Business Event
Oct 28, 2014
Please join Utah Business Magazine and Adobe, along with our other sponsors: Boostability, Right ...
Sustainable Business Awards 2014Utah Business Event
Nov 13, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with presenting sponsor Big D Construction, is pleased to announce t...
Community Events View All
Leadership Excellence Course
Oct 1, 2014
Leadership Excellence Course coming to Salt Lake City. Course graduates qualify for continuing ed...
BOMA Fall Education Summit
Oct 2, 2014
We are excited to host our first annual Education Summit. This year, we have twelve (12) session...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel