Highlights of 2019: My First Kickstarter Campaign

In the Summer I ran my first ever Kickstarter campaign to produce my first ever enamel pin. I had never used Kickstarter before but had attended a free information evening ran by the website at Site Gallery in Sheffield earlier in the year. 


The Big Launch

 I think I started off with a grandiose idea of an intensive and detailed strategy. Spreadsheets and plans reviewed again and again before launch day. In reality, I found myself with an overflow of energy and enthusiasm on an afternoon I was free and feeling brave. Off the cuff, emotional and optimistic, my campaign was born.

I had used the tips I learnt at the Kickstarter advice evening. I set my campaign for 4 weeks and made sure to have pledge rewards at range of price points. Specifically I ensured there was a £20 tier, the most popular Kickstarter pledge amount.

The Stressful Bit

Trying not to constantly survey the campaign is a challenge in itself. Watching the amount rise and sink was surprisingly stressful. Luckily for me I had very few cancelled pledges, and I reached my target goal within a timeframe that meant the pressure wasn’t onme for longer than I could handle. It meant that I could review my goals. Hope for higher amounts and add additional rewards. When the campaign hit 100% funded after just one week of being live, I was grateful, surprised and humbled.

Lessons Learned

Some kickstarters add rewards that are only available to claim once they are unlocked when the campaign reaches a certain target. I was far too giddy and excited for that, all my rewards unlocks were free gifts for all physical backers. This could have been something in which to monetize and encourage higher pledges, but I was happy just to offer rewards and share the love with my amazing backers. 

I also didn’t realise that the shipping costs registered to your target. This is only a problem if your minimum is really the very minimum you need to produce and you only hit that. In future I would factor these costs in too.

The bestest most wonderful lesson was what fab folk are out there supporting my work, and what wonderful new people found me on Kickstarter and took a chance on my art. The success of my first ever Kickstarter campaign reaching £1000 pledged was the nicest compliment in the whole of 2019. Thankyou! 

This piece is part of a three part blog series on my highlights from 2019. 

Kickstarting my Kickstarter Campaign

A few weeks ago I wrote a review of a Kickstarter information event held at Site Gallery Sheffield. Fast forward a couple of months and I’ve taken the plunge. I’m running my first ever Kickstarter Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise £300 towards the production costs of 200 enamel pin badges of my always ever popular Skeptics design.

Making an enamel pin is my dream come true!

The great thing about as I’m writing this is that I’m just over a week into my 30 day campaign and I am 192% funded! Woohoo! If I’d have written this a week ago I’d be talking about just how stressed I was. It’s that weird, adrenaline fuelled addictive stress though. Obsessively checking your total stress. I kinda thrive on it, whilst I think it’s simultaneously horrible. All in all, it’s enough for me to be glad it’s over, but enough that I’d do it again.

The all or nothing Kickstarter approach is what feeds the fear. Even upon being funded the fear of mass cancellations remains, but it feels great to get this far.

Its amazing, you’re amazing, thankyou!

What has been especially interesting is the backers. The supporters who you’ve known who really step up to get behind you. Reminding you how awesome your supporters are! Then there are the new supporters. A great deal of traffic comes from Kickstarter  itself, but also it encourages you to find new audiences.

I turned to new reddit threads to promote my campaign. The product itself, an enamel pin, opens new audiences to enamel pin fans. The big new thing I tried though was working with influencers.

Like, Kardashian size influencers?

Well, micro influencers. Niche influencers. Whatever you call folk with good followings of fellow folk who like creepy stuff! My aim was to avoid being spammy at all costs but try and engage with accounts that felt synergetic with mine. I offered praise and thanks and packages of goodies. I won’t name an shame those who didn’t reply, I’ll just say this is to of course be expected. There was some excellent support though, so as well as gaining pledges to my campaign, I was getting new social media followers too.

My goal is funded but I am still accepting pledges until my rewards are sold out. The pin production will be totally funded, but it helps me to book stalls and promote the designs across the country too.

You can check our my kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thisissianellis/skeptical-ghost-hard-enamel-pin

Thankyou to you beautiful folk that have backed me on this, it really means the world!

Kickstarter x Site Gallery

Recently I attended a Kickstarter event at the newly(ish) revamped Site Gallery. It was such a positive use of an evening that I want to share it with you all. The event was free and the subject was intriguing. As was the chance to look in the gallery which I haven’t visited since the renovations, and so I signed myself up upon first discovering the event.

 

The idea of doing a Kickstarter has been in the back of the front of my mind for some time now. There are several projects that I’d love to explore and think that the Kickstarter format would suit really well. I just haven’t chosen which one. Or when to do it. Or started to out a plan in place. This event seems perfect for the stage of thinking I was at.

 

Straight away the Kickstarter representative told us that the evening wasn’t a sales pitch. If it wasn’t then I’m not sure what it must have been exactly, either way I didn’t mind. Sell it to me!

 

And sell it to me they did!

 

For a start, I didn’t even realise that there was such a strong Kickstarter scene in the UK that it warranted a UK arm of the website. To then learn that Sheffield is one of the UK’s largest hubs of activity with regards to the kickstarter site was a revelation too. I guess I shouldn’t have been suprised. Knowing how much entrepreneurial skills, creativity and digital strengths lie in the city, but nonetheless I was.

 

Throughout the session we listened to local artists who had used the Kickstarter platform. It was valuable insight and brought the platform to life. It helped that one of the speakers was the ceramicist Meghan Downs whose story seems to resonate with me the most as her practise is so similar to my own. The free wine and food softened me up so I could start to begin dream of my kickstarter funded art.

 

The main thing I wanted to know was about how much traffic Kickstarter generated. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that 40% of donations come from within the site itself. It’s always hard to tell if you are just promoting each strand of activity to the same loyal supporters or if you are finding new ways to engage new audiences so it was positive to learn that Kickstarter seems to have the latter.

 

We learnt about average donations and a little insight into the mind of a Kickstarter backer. All good help for designing a campaign too.

 

What I took away from the session was the belief that Kickstarter could be the right thing for me and all that’s left is for me to pick the right project, plan the right campaign and take the plunge!