I have a love for crowd funding, the idea where we can all be investors or show our support for projects we care about, are interested in or simply intrigued by.
I think that crowd funding is an absolutely brilliant way for craft businesses to get projects off the ground. In fact, if it had been more accepted when I was working on Planet Handmade we might have been able to get the funding we needed to become advocates for small makers, but ho hum.
In our industry they can be supremely successful. I know that Jen Best funds all her books about Dorset buttons this way, keeping this heritage craft alive and increasing it’s profile today. The lovely Susan Crawford’s project was so successful that she exceeded her target and was able to spend more time on research which benefits all of us who have invested. The book The Vintage Shetland Project will be out soon and I just can’t wait.
I have coughed up a few pennies in the last couple of years in other sectors with mixed results. Philippe Starck’s Wistiki delivered on time and now means I can track my dog if she runs off. The product is beautifully designed, as you would expect from a name like his, and reasonable priced.
But two other projects Kerv (contactless payments enabled by a ring) and Lix (a 3D drawing pen) are proving less satisfying. I expect there to be teething problems along the way with the inevitable delays. I don’t get bent out of shape by that – it is just part of the R & D process. What really gets my goat is the lack of communication.
Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean you know a)how to run a business, and b) understand how to deal with your customers/investors. For heaven’s sake factor in some budget to retain a communications professional to help you otherwise your brand is in danger of being damaged before you have even delivered one item.
Entrepreneurs on Kickstarter could learn an awful lot about how to keep in touch and keep us all on board by looking at the craft industry. Nice to know a heritage industry can teach the new young guns a thing or two.