Both of the Kickstarter fashion success stories we spoke with spent a lot of time preparing their kickstarter pages before launching them, just as one might spend a good chunk of time preparing a proposal to investors or, say, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund panel. Having the video, rewards, title, visuals, copy, and even overall attitude can make make all the difference. Here are some key pointers:
Have a good, unique, well thought-out product. MoS’s Apollo dress shirt uses NASA technology to regulate your body temperature so you’re comfortable in all climates. It also wicks away moisture and controls odor. The four founders all went to MIT, so that’s how that happened. Revolution Apparel’s founders didn’t go to MIT, but still managed to design The Versalette: a stylish, sustainably-produced garment that can be worn over 15 different ways.
Make the rewards attractive and well-priced. “When it came time to price the reward we tried to price everything so that it would be the same as when you would buy something from a store, so it was more like a pre-sale model than a donation model,” Glenn explained. MoS’ most popular reward was at the $95 level and was one of their featured product, the Apollo shirt. Likewise, RA’s most popular reward was a Versalette for $75.
Tell a story. Successful Kickstarter pages all seem to tell the story of the creators’ journey to come up with this perfect product that can solve everyone’s life problems. Or at the very least, it’s an appealing product that the founders seem to genuinely care about and be truly invested in in a relatable way. “The most important part about Kickstarter, is [presenting] the product as part of a story – the quest to solve a problem,” Amarasiriwardena asserted.
A big part of telling that story is the video–and these certainly aren’t your janky homemade YouTube videos. These are produced and edited and professional. “Working on the video was really important,” said Whitehead. “It really gets your message across in the most easy-to-watch way possible.” For MoS it was the hardest part. “Creating the video was extremely difficult, and we actually completely redid our video midway to better communicate our product,” said Amarasiriwardena.
Promote and update. Kickstarter pages can be updated daily to keep backers posted on progress and production and new developments. That way, the people giving you money feel like they know what’s going on and are engaged and a part of the process. They can also message you. MoS dedicated a 9-person staff full-time to promoting, updating and engaging. It was still a challenge to keep up. “Backer engagement is really fun but it takes commitment to responding to the over 1000 inbound messages we got,” Amarasiriwardena explained. Glenn and Whitehead did not update as much, but started a blog a year and a half before they launched on Kickstarter and built a small community of people interested in their ideas and that helped a lot.
Promoting is also important. In addition to social media, Glenn and Whitehead did every interview they could, even if the blog only had five followers. MoS did a really strong PR push and it worked. They’ve already been featured in Tech Crunch, Forbes and HuffPo (and now Fashionista!) and raised $50k in the 48 hours following their Tech Crunch article.