In late 2013 I completed my first crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. I invested in some good quality video production to highlight my ambitions for Marlo’s Bakeshop and the momentous step of printing thousands of branded boxes, for which I was raising the money. I had a modest $15,000 goal, had spent hours detailing out my business plans, writing the video script and planning the campaign’s content and then just pressed SUBMIT. I hadn’t done much planning or marketing of the campaign in advance (old habits die hard) and so I reactively emailed my network, implored them to share the link and regularly posted the opportunity to donate on Facebook, hoping enough people would want the free cookies offered as a reward to amass the minimum for the campaign to be deemed successful.
We closed the Kicktstarter at the 30 day mark with $15,500 and that experience taught me a lot:
- People whom you would never expect can be so incredibly generous it renders you speechless
- The collective enthusiasm for Marlo’s Bakeshop’s launch and belief in my ability to build a successful business was sufficient ammunition for many of the professional setbacks I’ve faced since
- I could use a crowdfunding campaign to drive awareness and trial of new products and to foster a Marlo’s Bakeshop community of avid fans
- Crowdfunding can be a tremendously powerful way to do grassroots marketing and help you achieve your business’s financial goals, but most importantly, it allows you to celebrate your biggest supporters by rewarding them for that support
The latter-most reason is why I decided, 5 years later, to forego the traditional fundraising approaches of private equity and venture capital and to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign on WeFunder.
One of my very wise and very savvy advisers was the first president of Annie’s Homegrown, before it was acquired by General Mills. She fondly remembers when the company did a Direct Public Offering (DPO) and advertised the opportunity for consumers to own a piece of the brand by printing it right on the packaging!
This was an inspired idea back in ‘90s, and our WeFunder campaign allows us to adopt the best tactics of that effort:
- We are democratizing the investment opportunity: it doesn’t matter what your annual income is or your net worth- for $125 you can own a piece of a fast-growing, emerging brand that you care about….and then make some money off of it when we
- Our customers are our fans are our lifeblood: we do not exist without you. It’s only natural to more officially and formally make you part of the Marlo’s Bakeshop family so that you can spread the word and tell others about a brand you love that loves you back
- We want you to be able to invest in our growth and then partner in our success. Marlo’s Bakeshop’s success will collectively become ‘OUR’ success.
- We want a means to engage you as investors in the business- to look to you for new product ideas, taste test feedback and support.
So won’t you join us on this incredible journey? Take Me to the Campaign.