Sunday, July 28, 2013

In Business: Crowd-Funding by Hairy Jayne

Hairy Jayne is a hairdresser from Brixton. She also makes her own range of handmade, natural haircare products. She’s not actually hairy.

Earlier this year new legislation in the cosmetics industry meant Jayne had to find £3200 to get her entire range retested.   Jayne decided to run a crowd-funding project via Indiegogo. We asked her to share her story.

Goal - will I hit it?
My goal was £3200 to cover the costs of retesting and re-packaging.  I thought to myself, do I have a network of 320 people who could contribute about £10 each?  I went for a fixed campaign where I didn’t receive anything unless I hit my target. In a non-fixed campaign you keep all pledged funds in return for greater commission from Indiegogo. Money aside, the marketing you get from crowdfunding is incredible.

Perks - what's in it for the funder?
Be transparent and as detailed as possible in setting out what your funds will be used for. I mentioned that by helping me, the products will get into shops and be easier to buy. I offered a range of perks from £5 to £250. The most popular perk was a £25 voucher to use on my website which I sold for £20.

Getting attention – make a video

A video really helps. We kept it to the point – remember people are busy.  We found that adding some humour and a visual theme gave us something to refer to when talking to people. Be prepared to talk about it a LOT.  We used My Little Pony in the video (I keep one in my salon to entertain bored children) and it fitted with the hair theme.  She came in very useful as a model for last minute Instagram reminders!

People really do need reminding.
Use social networking and your email lists A LOT. I tweeted individuals/other businesses/magazines who have a lot of followers directly, asking them for retweets. I tweeted and facebooked about the perks individually.

Keep up the momentum throughout.
Make sure you start off strong and get your closest friends/family/fans to fund early to give your campaign credibility. I read that if you achieved around 25% in the first week you would probably hit your target. This I did.

But prepare for it to slump in the middle.

I could see that people were looking at my campaign page and sharing it with others but the funds weren't flooding in. But I stuck at it, and in the last week mustered all of my marketing strength – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. I made old-skool photocopied fliers and handed them out to clients and neighbours who weren't in my cyber-networks.   In the last week the trickle got steadier and more intense. I hit the target on the second-to-last day.

Last minute tip.

My brother-in-law (Leon – he'd just gone over his target onKickstarter ) suggested that I introduce some last minute exclusive perks as a final push. I added beeswax candles made with my perfume fragrance and hand printed tote bags.   This brought in extra funds including from people who had already contributed once but really wanted me to reach the goal.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and not only did I fulfill my financial goal, I actually got a lot more serious about marketing myself and my products. Knowing that I have so many people backing me is such a great feeling and worth more than the funding itself.

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