LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is easier when a few thousand people give you a boost.
That’s what D.C. entrepreneurs who have successfully funded businesses and projects with the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter have learned.
Baker Yael Krigman’s month-long Kickstarter campaign ended on June 9. She now has $74,341, contributed by 669 strangers, acquaintances and friends alike, that she will use to fulfill her dream of opening a brick-and-mortar bakery.
The site allows individuals and groups to collect money from backers to produce films, games, music, art, technology and other endeavors. In the D.C. area, recently successful projects include music albums, books, plays, a war memorial and, if you can believe it, more than one company entirely dedicated to making socks. Those are just a few examples.
Krigman’s campaign got a lot of local attention, in part because she plans to specialize in a trendy treat — cakepops. She attributes some of the success to her loyal customers from a catering business she already operates.
“I would love to be open by the end of the year, but it’s really just a question of finding that perfect location so I can move forward,” the former law firm associate said Thursday. She hopes to find a storefront in Northwest D.C.
Not every Kickstarter user is like Krigman, though.
Crystal Hudson, for example, has a full time marketing job that has nothing to do with the LGBT-centric greeting card line that she hopes will be widely available in stores one day.
“It’s completely different from my professional background,” she said.
Her campaign was a bit more modest than Krigman’s, too, raising $12,540 between March 8 and April 7.
Juggling a budding company and her day job isn’t easy, but her Kickstarter funds have allowed her to hire a graphic designer and produce some actual “GAYgreetings” product. She has more than 100 future cards conceptualized.
While Hudson is still on the clock, looking forward to the day where she can work for herself, Samuel Paley and Aaron Laniewicz are already living the dream.
Their company, CritSuccess, specializes in DiceRings. The rings are essentially spinner rings with numbers around them that can be used in place of dice in board games, including games with specialized dice like Dungeons & Dragons. (See the video below if you’re still confused.)
Their two-month campaign in late 2012 raised $344,069. They used the bulk of those funds to have the rings made, and they are now working to get CritSuccess off the ground. That includes building a website, traveling to gaming conventions to get the word out, and getting their products in stores.
Paley advises that, if they can do it, anyone can do it.
“We are very simple,” he said. “We filmed [the Kickstarter video] in my backyard with a small little handheld flipcam, practically our cell phones. You don’t have to be a corporation, you can do it yourself.”
If you’ve ever had an idea you’ve thought about turning into a company, he advises, “Just do it.”
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