Making our own T-Shirt, Part 5 – Crowdfunding

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Hopefully you’ve been following along as I have been chronicling You and Who‘s quest to make “The Goodest T-Shirt Ever.” Here are parts One, Two, Three, and Four. Go read them if you haven’t, I’ll wait.

Part 5 is about our Crowdfunding campaign that we started planning in July, put everything together mostly in September, and it launched in October and ran through November.

It started with a trip back to Monalisa, our cut and sew factory that I had visited in July, and we also went to the dye factory, Wolfe, that is about 40 minutes away from Allentown, to record some video. It was great to visit the Dye factory and learn about how that process works – we now know everything that goes into making T-Shirts. Of course we did this a few weeks before we wanted to launch the campaign. Jason Jurewicz, Erin Gaddi, Joe Peluso and I made the trip. Erin shot the video and Jason did a lot of the directing. The next week we shot footage of me in our office speaking the script that Joe and I had wrote and Jason helped with.  Everyone did an amazing job, I’m really proud of the video. When we were finished with both video shoots, Jason did all of the video editing and we used a song by Monk Turner that Joe found – it was a great fit and we reached to him to use it and worked out a deal(we sent him a shirt!) Jason did such a great job piecing together all of the footage and cutting up Monk’s song in the video. Well, enough talking about it, here’s the video:

We submitted our project on Kickstarter and… they rejected it. We were bummed at first. We got a canned rejection response (we modified based on instructions from the denial email) and got another canned response. I found a twitter account for someone at Kickstarter and tweeted at her and to her credit she responded with a better reason. Turns out they have a strict rule about perks that include a donation. We could have removed the wording about how we donate a matching shirt for every shirt we sell and we could have focused on the shirts being made in USA. But we couldn’t do that! The fact we donate a shirt for every shirt sold is the very core of You and Who. I joke that we were too good for Kickstater.

So we turned to Indiegogo. Joe came up with a great name for the campaign that we use a lot now – “Making the Goodest T-Shirt Ever”. We did debate using the grammatically incorrect “goodest” but decided that’s what made it great. I love it. I have to say, Joe is really great at coming up with clever slogans and copy.

We added the perks – which really were just our shirts – 1 for $40, a discount over the price we were changing to – $42, and a two for $75 deal. We also created some Indiegogo exclusive shirts that we only sold during the campaign and priced those at $50. Really our campaign was a presale – we weren’t looking for donations to accomplish something and giving shirts as a perk which a lot of campaigns do.

We set the goal at $25,000 though we really wanted to exceed that and get to $64,000 based on the minimums we were looking at for garment dyeing the shirts. We put a lot of time before launching the campaign on lining up enough orders to get to $25,000 on day 1. We planned a launch party at Pearl Street and used Thunderclap – a cool service that allows people to sign up with twitter or facebook and then sends the same message from everyone at the same time. We had a great first day, almost $10,000, but didn’t hit the goal on day 1 like we wanted.

We slowly got close to our goal over the 30 days and then rallied on the last day ending up at $25,081. Phew!

It was a lot of work during the whole campaign.I learned a lot about things to do and not do when running a crowdfunding campaign. If you plan one in the future I’d be glad to offer my advice – just tweet me.

Here’s the campaign – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/you-and-who-making-the-goodest-t-shirt-ever

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