Kickstarter crowdfunding project.
An article a year ago highlighted the possibilities of Crowdfunding and we thought you might be interested in this follow up on the subject: Richard Baxter’s report on how it went is shown below:
“In early 2015 my old electric kiln died. I had bought it new in 1981 when I set up my first studio upon graduation. It was 12cu feet oval and cheap. Over the years I must have fired it many hundreds of times and changed the elements, added a controller etc to keep it going. 33 years of hard work and it could no longer reach even a good bisque temperature. I looked at replacements and decided that I wanted a good quality kiln that would last another 33 years (hopefully) which would take me up to the age of 88 (again, hopefully). The one recommended by my kiln engineer Roger Watts of Clay Cellar in Kent was from Kittec, and a bit over £4000. I couldn’t suddenly find this amount of money, but stumbled upon two helpful solutions.
1. My local council business officer let me know that government money was available for things that helped to sustain employment, and whilst I don’t employ anyone, it was still going to keep me in business. I ticked all their boxes and got 30% of the cost of my kiln so long as the cost without VAT was over £3000. This actually meant buying a more expensive and highter spec kiln than I would have considered otherwise.
2. The second source was to look at crowdfunding via Kickstarter. In a time when public/ charitable funding is hard, almost impossible to obtain, ‘crowdfunding’ is a possibility to be considered.
Kickstarter works by you setting up a ‘project’ with aims and objectives that can be seen to be achieved within a certain time.
- My project: was for a new kiln to develop new glazes, and in return those pledging funds would receive some of the first fruits of this new kiln. The snag is that if you set the amount you want to raise too high and not enough pledges are made, you get nothing.
- How Much: So I decided on trying to raise a third of the kiln price, leaving me to find the final third out of savings that I could afford. I set up the project, then announced it on my social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter and asked people to share it far and wide. I am always putting pictures of latest work online and have built up a full compliment of 5000 Facebook ‘friends’ and this is where the vast majority of my pledges came from.
- Timescale: I set the project to last 4 weeks
- Results: within a very few days had reached my £1500 target. It didn’t stop there….you can carry on getting pledges until the finish date arrives, by which time I had got 150% of my target at £2250! Built into this amount was Kickstarter’s commission of 5% plus another 2-3% for card transaction fees, and also I allowed for the cost of posting out the finished pots as far as the USA and Australia.
- Completion: The kiln arrived in early April, then I did a good batch of 30 something new glaze tests, several of which are now in use as new colours, and eventually my pledgers have now got their bowls and sent me emails saying how much they like them. I had 78 items to make and deliver- but in a way this was like having orders for pots, bought in advance.
- Conclusion: It was a win-win thing to do, and I recommend other makers going down this route. For people who already like your work it is knocking at an open door. I have a shiny new kiln and hopefully a rosy next few years production.
There are costs, kickstarter have 5% admin, there is a credit card charge of a few per cent etc, but if you are looking for some funding for a new project to develop new work, this seems a good approach”
This was very successful for Richard and shows the merit of a) considering carefully the amount requested and b) building up a wide circle of ‘friends’ on social media.