The world of crowdfunding has opened unprecedented doors for aspiring independent fashion designers. From Kickstarter to Indiegogo to the recently launched Crowd Supply, designers all over the world have a chance to raise capital for production and debut entire collections with the help of strangers.
Sisters Betsy and Emily Nunez are the latest success story for this model. (And by success, I mean they hit it out of the park). This month, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce a line of repurposed products (iPhone sleeves, iPad cases, tote bags) under their new label Sword & Plough.
Within 24 hours of launch, they had surpassed their goal of $20,000 - by three times.
According to the Kickstarter profile page, Sword & Plough is a quadruple bottom line bag company that works with veterans to repurpose military surplus fabric into stylish bags. I spoke to Betsy about their campaign, and she shared the prep work and strategy that resulted in their massive success.
Shannon: What do you attribute to the success of your project?
Betsy: We are overwhelmed with gratitude right now. We attribute the success of our project to our wonderful supporters and backers' excitement. There has been an amazing and immediate response of people genuinely identifying and connecting with our mission on one or more of it's bottom lines -- people, purpose, planet, profit. Our supporters paired with our hard-working, dedicated team have been the driving momentum behind our campaign. Our entire Sword & Plough team is family in more ways than just Emily and I being sisters. We've all built this from the ground up in this past year, really focused on our pre-launch efforts and with the press of the button on Kickstarter, a year’s work of worth went live and is now a reality.
S: What steps did you take to ensure a successful campaign?
B: In order to ensure a successful campaign we took a very personal but also large-scale approach in regards to building our brand, marketing and pre-launch efforts. We did a soft launch back in November and from that point on took a very personal, yet tactical, approach to building momentum and a community behind our venture, mission and launch. In the most basic steps, we thought about our marketing efforts in terms of building blocks - start with one person or your team, and then build out from there getting as many people behind your idea as possible.
S: What were the key elements you focused on before launching your campaign?
1. Creating a strategic pre-launch, launch and post-launch plan
2. Getting the word out (conversations, meetups, events, conferences, etc.)
3. Preparing our network and community of fans with all of the information they needed about the facts (who, what, where, when, why)
4. Developing brand evangelists
5. Thanking people and asking for real-time feedback every step of the way! **You can never say thank you enough**
6. Branding / Building a brand presence (social media, media packet, press release, text, emails, photos, videos)
7. Securing help from press in order to amplify our mission, story and voice
S: What has surprised you (or were you not prepared for) about your crowdfunding experience?
B: The emails, messages, texts, calls and support of so many people. We have loved hearing from every single person. We've received so many heartfelt comments from veterans, military spouses, family members of those who have served, and global supporters.
S: What was most challenging about creating your Kickstarter project?
B: The most challenging part about creating our Kickstarter project was gauging how much pre-launch prep would yield a successful result. The best way I can describe it is that, you feel as though you're studying for a final and there isn't a clear cut answer as to how many hours you need to prepare in order to pass the test.