Crowdfunding in the furniture industry
Often creative ideas do not fail because they are useless or nobody wants them. Funding is the keyword here. It seems to be an insurmountable obstacle for many of these concepts. However, crowdfunding can be a way for creators to realise their projects.
From zombie survival kits to bacon museums to pioneering and progressive design, the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is an interesting pool of people with very different exciting projects.
(Photo: Misen, Click & Grow)
By December 2019, the Brooklyn-based company had already mobilised 17.2 million backers to support an extremely broad spectrum of projects with a total of US Dollar 4.6 billion as of that date. This money has financed more than 445,000 projects in fields such as film and music, but also design and interiors.
But how does Kickstarter work? To put it simply, some people have an idea; other people provide the financial backing. A reward system aims to attract as many backers as possible to finance the project. In exchange for a particular amount, backers might receive the finished product, for instance, or some other form of compensation if the project successfully secures funding. However, if the funding round fails because the goal set is not reached, all the backers are refunded.
An injection of capital for innovative projects
The major advantage of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter is that people who want to bring a creative project to life no longer have to attract large amounts of equity capital from a network of professional investors. Instead, they can turn to a crowd of interested private individuals.
A successful crowdfunding campaign can have a significant influence on whether and how a project moves forward and often determines whether it succeeds or fails. In this way, it is possible to develop exciting and pioneering products that may have otherwise never seen the light of day.
But these crowdfunding platforms can also be of great interest to larger brands and manufacturers and should not be dismissed too hastily. After all, Kickstarter and Co. present a huge pool of talented, creative designers and projects that are waiting to be discovered. But anyone can get their own idea off the ground thanks to these platforms.
A Kickstarter success story: Click & Grow 25
The garden for everybody who is short on space or lacks the green fingers. (Photo: Click & Grow)
An especially interesting Estonian project addresses a problem that many people are sure to be familiar with. Already today, 55% of the world’s population lives in cities. The shortage of living space is intensifying – not to mention the dwindling space for growing crops in a garden of one’s own. The start-up Click & Grow has made it its mission to tackle this very problem.
Click & Grow 25 measures just 75.5 x 43 x 51 cm, and according to the company, it is “the most space- and energy-efficient indoor garden ever made”.
Thanks to the integrated light and a simple watering system, the garden is virtually self-sufficient – green fingers are not required.
The team of developers led by CEO Mattias Lepp put out a call on Kickstarter for just under Euro 29,000 to bring the indoor garden to life. As it happens, more than 1,000 backers pledged an incredible Euro 485,000 before the deadline expired.
Several reward tiers were set for the project. The Click & Grow team plant a tree for every nine Euros they receive. Backers giving Euro 328 or more received a Click & Grow 25 plus three months’ supplies of seeds.
A Kickstarter success story: the Misen Oven Steel
When a crowdfunded project takes off: The Misen Oven Steel has reaped rewards because it solves an everyday problem for many people. (Photo: Misen)
An even bigger Kickstarter success is the Misen Oven Steel. Behind the project is the brand Misen, a kitchen utensils manufacturer from Brooklyn. The developers were frustrated by the temperature fluctuations in conventional ovens, which make it difficult to achieve consistent browning when baking. Their solution: a steel plate.
The Misen Oven Steel is a six-millimetre-thick carbon-steel plate.
It is designed to function like a thermal battery that keeps the heat in the oven consistent and maintains the required baking temperature.
The project attracted immense attention on Kickstarter. Eleven days before the deadline expired, more than 13,000 backers had already come together to pledge a total of Euro 1.1 million to the company. All it needed was Euro 20,500.
Crowdfunding – a path to success
The unstoppable DIY trend could see crowdfunding become even more important in the future. For the furniture industry in particular, it is worth considering this type of finance. The Misen success story demonstrates that crowdfunding is not an option just for as-yet-unknown one-man bands. Provided you have an innovative project, ideally one that solves an everyday problem, crowdfunding can be a path to success for anyone – and a means to find out along the way how much interest there is in a product idea, too.
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