Kickstarter, Big Boy Boots & Guangzhou

Released On 17th Jun 2017

Wow - that was a crazy busy week - when we launched our Kickstarter project, I don't think we realised how much it showcases you up to the global marketplace and as with everything, there are ups and downs to that !! 

Because Kickstarter is the worlds largest platform for designers, artisans and  innovators to reveal, showcase & launch new designs, concepts and products to the world, it is ""obviously"" a window that is studied very carefully by a whole different group of people and industries , far more diverse to the kind of businesses that we would normally encounter in our working week.

I say ""obviously"" because until last Tuesday, when we went live, I had NO idea, how much interest there was out there for ""new stuff!"".  

Yes I know, it's obvious now, but you have to appreciate that when we are designing, developing and launching  our usual ""stuff"" I.e. handbags, coats, lifestyle gear, we are only showing it to customers, potential customers, agents, industry experts and, if you're lucky, an odd journalist, one person at a time. 

And frankly, they are a pretty tough audience, they are busy, market savvy and think they have seen it all before.

Even when we go to trade shows, twice a year, if you see 100 potential customers, you'd  think your boat had come in and 100 enthusiastic customers, you'd think you had been transported to some parallel universe.

Now counter that with Kickstarter - 4 days in and our video has been viewed well over 20,000 times. I don't like to think about that too much, because whilst I could never be called vain about my looks or my personality for that matter, the thought of 20,000 people judging you is a little disconcerting. 

Interesting for me anyway, is where the video has proven most popular - Australia and New Zealand outweigh other countries, they outstrip the U.K. and surprisingly America.  

However, balance that with opportunities, sales people and fanatics,  then,   of course the USA outshines everybody by a country mile. 

But, of course as all good business guru's will tell you, quick response, answers and enthusiastic engagement is key to building opportunities, so my little email fingers have been rattling away,  like dancing chipolatas , answering questions.

That brings me to another question, why don't people use the telephone and speak nowadays? That said you wouldn't want to speak to some of these sales people, I get the feeling they never give up, which is a little worrying in itself. 

So one week in, what has Kickstarter taught us, A LOT, but I guess the biggest thing would be when a 70 year old artisan company, from laid back Somerset, put a ""nice"" idea out there to test the market you start playing with the big boys, and you need your big boy boots on.

There are a lot of opportunities (2 really exciting ones, but I can't enlarge on that - sorry!)  but also a lot of opportunists, sadly it would seem a fair bit of corporate control and off course a lot of rip off artists.

But, to be honest, my heart sunk the lowest on Wednesday (barely 24 hours in) when I got the email from ""Lucy"" from Guangzhou, saying her very nice company could make very nice sheepskin covers for us for very cheap - she send me a sample?!  I guess she could, do all those things, but I wanted to find work and secure a future for my 36 skilled artisan staff who have been with me forever, making British products from British Sheepskin, NOT give work & ideas to Lucy, for her to flog it around the world. 

Hey Ho, there you go.

 If you haven't seen it yet become number 20,001 and click thru below. Please, let me know what you think, even if it is a critique, everybody else is a designer, advisor or expert, why not you too? 

Wonder what next week will bring?  blocked roads for sure - the beauty of living 2 miles from Glastonbury on the main rat run from the M5. 

Ahhh well as long as it stays dry for the festival - Somerset in the sunshine with an odd glass of cider,  ""Lucy from Guangzhou"" can never match that !! 

​LINK TO KICKSTARTER PROJECT PAGE & INFO