Product Manufacturer Update
I am excited to share some good news today about my product manufacturer and crowdfunding decision! I am 90% sure that I have FINALLY landed a manufacturer. If you have beenfollowing along, you already know that this has been my biggest challenge. We do not yet have all of the details or the pricing, so sure, there’s still a chance that this may not work, but we both want this to work, and this is key.
I will not yet announce the name of the manufacturer, but I’ll let you know what has happened over the last month. While pondering the frustration of trying to get manufacturers to respond to my inquiries, I decided that I needed some advice. It just so happens that I have had a friend who is a cabinet maker. His name came to mind several times. I decided to call him to seek his advice. Since I didn’t want interruptions, I called him one morning right after I dropped of my boys at school. I had not spoken to him in a couple of years since I had moved out of state. So after we caught up on family and work, we began talking about the Double Desk. I had shown it to him several years ago and, although he liked it, he did not have the equipment to manufacture it. As soon as I told him that I was working on the Double Desk again, and that I was struggling to find a manufacturer, he quickly got excited. He told me that he recently upgraded his CNC router and would be very interested.
It turns out that he purchased a large Thermwood router. In addition, he has support from thermwood which includes advice, technical support and maintenance. He went on to say that he wants to keep the router running and today, it is not running as much as it should be. Excellent. He just invested tons of money in this machine, and right now, it’s not paying off. He needs to shorten his ROI on it. He has motivation to make this work. This is what I need!
I gave him some background to let him know my marketing approach, my advertising plans, my crowdfunding approach for preorders and my long-term goal. I wanted him to know that I am thinking big and swinging big and since I will use kickstarter, we will have virtually zero risk.
My friend recommended that I send my CAD drawings to Thermwood for their review. I did and, for about $357, they spent a couple of hours tweaking the drawing and adding machine-specific commands to make tool paths, flip operations and some minor improvements. The updated drawing is customized and tailored for the machine that will run the job. In addition,my friend ordered some specific tool bits for the job and will make a couple of the desk as soon as possible. He also called around to several suppliers to find the best pricing on the materials.
Over the past month, I have struggled with my decision about which of the top two crowdfunding platforms I should utilize. I had spent several hours reading articles which compared and contrasted kickstarter vs Indiegogo. Kickstarter has a larger audience, but mostly young males and gadget geeks. Indiegogo is smaller, but has more females, more domestic products and people who tend to appreciate the arts. I tossed around various arguments in my head for weeks until I found an answer.
I used the free edition of BuzzSumo and needed to create a login ID. Within a few minutes of entering my email, I received an email from Matthew at BuzzSumo. In his email, he asked me a question. When you want to engage your audience, asking a question is a great method! He asked, “Out of interest, what was it you were looking to get out of BuzzSumo? Hopefully, I can help point you in the right direction.” I shared with him my dilemma, making a decision between kickstarter and Indiegogo. About 20 minutes later he had responded with the data and the decision was clear.
Here’s what he said
A good idea would be to first take a look at the kind of popular content each of them are sharing.
For example Kickstarters content seems to publish a lot of popular content on more male dominated topics such as video games, Star Trek documentaries and hoverboards. He then shared a lengthy URL to show this data.
Indiegogo’s content that is popular focuses more on emotional subjects such as campaigns for charity, which you could argue are more likely to be shared by a female audience. He then shared another lengthy URL to show this data.
I would think that Indiegogo probably has a larger female audience ratio but it appears kickstarter has a larger audience altogether with their top article having more than four times the shares of Indiegogo’s.
This would clarify what you have read already on other articles but when you do a BuzzSumo domain comparison you can see that kickstarter has 21 times the shares of indiegogo, meaning that it has a far greater audience around 21 times the size:
He then shared another URL link to support this.
It seems that Kickstarter would be your preferred option.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you need anything else.
Well that solidifies my decision; Kickstarter it is! He didn’t have to do that. He could have said, “Just use our tool” or “Sign up for the premium edition of Buzzsumo” or just ignored my email, but he took the time to help me out. Maybe this is something so trivial to him that he has already forgotten about it, but not to me. This is something that I have been trying to figure out off and on for weeks. I don’t want to run a 45 day crowdfunding campaign only to figure out the hard way that I should have chosen the other platform. Matthew’s kindness will not be forgotten. If I need the BuzzSumo tool down the road and I can afford it, you can be certain that I will be their customer.
A key necessary factor is my ability to garner a large audience. With Christmas quickly approaching, it only makes sense that I try to ride the huge wave of online Christmas shoppers. If I miss that wave, my potential audience will be significantly smaller. Josh from SloanTech.com showed me the spike in online searches for the words “Kids Desk”.
As you can see, the two big spikes correlate with the beginning of school, and the Christmas shopping season. If I can not take pre-orders during one of those waves, getting off the ground will be much more challenging.
At the recommendation of another entrepreneur, I picked up a copy of Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson. It has been updated over the years to include some discussions of online advantages. Even if much of it is older material, I figure that human nature doesn’t change so the concepts and strategies all still apply today. And I find that, when I listen to a business podcast, sometimes the discussion will not apply at all to my current challenges, but oftentimes, just taking the time to really think about my dilemma, and listen to what the host or guest has to say, it is at those times that I come up with an answer. The book is not small or a quick read. There has to be some golden nuggets in several chapters. But even if nothing is directly beneficial, it is still bound to be helpful in indirect ways.
I look forward to working out the finer details with my manufacturer; along with logistics, packaging and the crowdfunding campaign. I see a lot of work ahead for me, but at this point, I am only motivated to continue.