Kickstarting The Belll: episode #4 NOW!

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Kickstarting The Belll is a series of blog posts that documents the process of crowdfunding a product design project by Dutch product design firm Veeel. This fourth and final post is all about “Now!” and tells you about behind the scenes insights and our plans, now that the project is successfully funded.

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We made it!

After 40 days in our 45 day campaigning period we reached our funding goal of 25000 GBP. What an amazing feeling! You feel so grateful towards all those people who you don’t actually know, but believe in your product. So, first thing you do is thanks them from the bottom of your heart. Next thing you do, is set up a meeting with the manufacturer, because it just got real.

Now what?

This is the moment when you realize that you now have to start living up to the dream. Of course, we planned out everything before launching the campaign, but there are always some details of which you thought “we’ll figure that out later”. Well, later is now! And a good meeting with your manufacturer helps smooth out the remaining wrinkles. Final decisions and advise on the material, the planning, the finishing. It’s really important to have discussed this before production starts, because changes now are a lot faster (and cheaper) than changes later.

Behind the scenes insights

Kickstarter is a great platform. As a project creator it is highly addictive. I’m not exaggerating if the entire Belll team got more addicted to ‘checking’ Kickstarter than let’s say, Facebook. They provide nice stats and charts and even better, they share this data. So, next to their own visualizations, other parties can chart it out in different formats and views. Here are some of the stats of our campaign.

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Some more fun facts & figures

  • Of the current 29K (=117% funding!) 17K originated directly from Kickstarter and the other 12K from external referrers, so spreading the word is very important!
  • We now have 719 Backers and our average pledge per person is 40 GBP, although the most popular reward (see chart above) is “the entry model”
  • Looking at were people that pledged came from (not Kickstarter or external referrers)
    • Google scored best (2,86% of traffic)
    • Our own website http://www.thebelll.com is next (1,96%)
    • Closely followed by our Facebook fan page (1,62%)
    • Combined blogs that wrote about us (0,48%)
    • We’re not very effective on Twitter (0,26%)
    • And neither on LinkedIn (0,05%)

The Belll is successfully funded and will go into production soon, but every form of support is still always welcomed!

Kickstarting The Belll: episode #3 HOW?

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Kickstarting The Belll is a series of blog posts that documents the process of crowdfunding a product design project by Dutch product design firm Veeel. This third post is all about “How?” we were  able to launch this project.

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The start

In order to be successful we knew we had to reach a lot of people, so promotion and building a community were our first steps. We shot a cool video to tell our story, created a websitesocial media accounts and actively went out into the world to tell our story. We approached the media and the people who had already indicated that they liked the product and we started preparing them for what was coming. By creating a buzz before launching our crowdfunding campaign we were off to a rolling start. Definitely recommended to start this way!

The secret

Since we are one of the first companies in The Netherlands to launch a project on Kickstarter we got and still get a lot of emails, messages and phone calls on how we managed to get on it. Because Kickstarter is only open for people that have a permanent address, bank account, and government-issued ID from either the US or the UK. Most of the people that contacted us thought that we found a way around these requirements. We had to disappoint them, we didn’t. The secret (and a lousy one at that) is that the only way to launch on Kickstarter is to have someone on your team that fulfills the requirements… How’s that for an anti-climax?

The actual secret

Campaigning for Kickstarter is a lot of work. There is no such thing as a free ride or a guarantee for success. Up to the launch you already did the hard work. At least that is what you think. But once your project is reviewed and approved by the Kickstarter staff and you press that nice green launch button in your email, you unleash a beast. First of all you have to get it out into the world. Here is where your pre-build community comes in. But then the world starts asking questions. And giving comments. And providing suggestions. That’s were you really start interacting with your future customers. You learn about their doubts, concerns and needs. So valuable that this alone is worth launching a crowdfunding project! How to manage this? Put in all the time and effort you can, because there is nothing as important as these people who believe in your product. No Oscar-contending video or picture perfect brochure can match a direct and personal relation with your backers.

The Belll is currently over 70% on its way, so things are looking good, but every form of support is always welcomed!

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Links

Our project on Kickstarter to support us directly by pre-ordering The Belll.

Our page on Facebook to support us by sharing it with your friends.

The next post in this series will be #4 NOW? and will show you some insightful behind-the-scenes facts & figures of our project.

Kickstarting The Belll: episode #2 WHAT?

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Kickstarting The Belll is a series of blog posts that documents the process of crowdfunding a product design project by Dutch product design firm Veeel. This second post is all about “What?” 

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Since we launched our product – The Belll – on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter we have been getting a lot of attention. People from all around the world contacted us to get to know more. Most of them had specific questions about our product itself, but we also received a load of requests to explain what choices we made up to the point of launching.

At Veeel we start each and every project by asking “Why?”. And we keep on asking this simple question until we are at the very core of the situation. So, for The Belll we started with “Why?” as well. See my previous post for the answers to that question. Next up is setting the “What?” of our project.

What do we need to know?

What are the most important aspects of The Belll? Our main goal was to see if people who said that they liked The Belll would actually like it enough to pre-order it. We realized that by asking people to support us, we should be able to turn their trust into satisfaction as fast as possible. A perfect production of The Belll would therefor be our first priority after successful funding. So before launching our campaign on Kickstarter we already put everything into place with our Dutch manufacturing partner. We also wanted it to sound superb. We talked to experts in the field and came to the conclusion that brass would be the only suitable material for the inside. What did we wanted The Belll to be? High quality in the first place.

What will be the USP?

What was the unique feature of our product that we wanted to highlight? We had to finalize the proposition for our product. Our product is a bicycle bell. And we had to be honest: it would not save our planet. It would keep you safe(r) in traffic, but every bike bell does that. The Belll caters to a different need. In urban areas around the world people start to see more and more advantages for cycling. For instance New York showed an increase of 289% of people riding bicycles and that makes sense. Cycling is healthy, it’s fun, and it makes you feel free. And, people started to care for their bike because it became increasingly important part of their life. We wanted The Belll to ooze that same feeling. It wasn’t just a bell; it was The Belll. With an extra L to celebrate your fun and healthy life!

What will be the market?

What would be the ideal customer for The Belll? We knew there was interest from different industries, like the bicycle and fashion industry. Even before actually thinking about it, the gadget people were knocking on our doors. We were honoured, but decided that this was not the way we wanted to go at the moment. We were starting a company in the celebrating life business, not a hype. Of course, the numbers in this industry are appealing, but we wanted to make a product that made a connection with people. A product they would anticipate and would feel connected to. So what was important to us? That The Belll could be customized to anyone’s wish.

The Belll is currently over 50% on its way to making people celebrate life from Australia to the USA, so things are looking good, but every form of support is always welcomed!

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Links

Our project on Kickstarter to support us directly by pre-ordering The Belll.

Our page on Facebook to support us by sharing it with your friends.

The next post in this series will be #3 HOW? and will tell you how we turned the WHY and WHAT into essential parts of our campaign.

Kickstarting The Belll: episode #1 WHY?

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Kickstarting The Belll is a series of blog posts that documents the process of crowdfunding a product design project by Dutch product design firm Veeel. This first post gives answers to our reasons “Why?”

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Having been in the product design business for years we have seen a fair share of designs leave our office in the hands of others. That is what we do. We provide our clients with a blueprint of everything they need to fulfil their vision or solve their problem. Not only beautiful visuals and detailed production files, but also essential market knowledge and suitable business strategies. Fully prepared our clients head out to put their newly designed product on the market. That is what they do.

However, as entrepreneurs we have always had the urge to take that next step as well. We had the desire to be our own client and bring our own products to the market. Over the years we learned that if you are going to do something, you should better do it good. So, to be able to put our design –The Belll – on the market we had to make a solid start.

We decided that crowdfunding platform Kickstarter would be the perfect place to launch The Belll and give us that solid start. For those who haven’t heard about crowdfunding here is the concept in a nutshell: instead of convincing a single investor to invest a large amount in your project, you look for a large group of investors who each invest a small amount.

So why crowdfunding?

Over the years we have followed the development of the crowdfunding industry with interest. We attended multiple seminars and meetings and researched the possibilities of the different platforms with forerunners in the industry. The funny thing was that the main message conveyed on these events was mostly about how much work it would be to successfully fund your project. All attendees should be warned! There is no such thing as easy money. That didn’t surprise us.

What we missed in all these seminars and meet-ups was the notion that crowdfunding is an ideal tool to do preliminary market research. You can reach your future customers before your product is available in stores. You get confronted with their questions, preferences and needs before you even produced a single product. It basically tells you whether the product you came up with actually has a market.

For us, this formed the great advantage of crowdfunding over more traditional forms of funding. It was something that – next to launching our product – provided a way to see whether this product would fulfil our company’s mission and people would actually love The Belll.

Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is currently the biggest and most well-known crowdfunding platform. There are many other forms, but I don’t have the time and space to go into those now. If you want to know more about the many forms of crowdfunding than www.douwenkoren.nl is a great place to start. (Fun fact: Gijsbert, one of the founders of that company was actually one of the first designers in the Veeel community.)

We figured that we would need the biggest platform available since we were looking to launch a relatively small and low-cost product. In order to achieve our funding goal of 25K we decided we would need the platform with a global reach. The more people we could reach, the bigger the chance of success. Simple as that.

Second reason to choose Kickstarter is that it is reward-based. That means that you allow people to make a reservation on one of your future products and you make a reservation on some of their money. If enough people make a reservation, these reservations turn into orders and the exchange of products and money takes place. That provides an ideal set-up for a product design project. You could say that you are looking for people to pre-order your product.

Other platforms provided (a lot less) administrative hassle and – geographically speaking – a much more centralized target audience, but we chose to follow our calculation, intuition and ambition to launch on this global juggernaut of crowdfunding platforms. The Belll is currently over 30% on its way to world domination, so things are looking good, but every form of support is always welcomed!

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Links

Our project on Kickstarter to support us directly by pre-ordering The Belll.

Our page on Facebook to support us by sharing it with your friends.

The next post in this series will be #2 WHAT? and will tell you what we did to be able to launch our project.

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