I began my crowd funding effort on Indiegogo.com a few weeks ago, and the clock is ticking away, and I thought I’d take a moment and update you on this holiday-straddling fund raising effort. While it seeks to launch a new product, the reach of this effort goes beyond just the launch. It opens a studio that has had more new designs coming out of it than ever before, and has been limited by the ups and downs of the economics of this past year. There was a furnace door that literally fell apart in January of this past year that forced the closure of the studio, and then the loss of some courses I normally teach each semester at the local University set me back financially such that I never fully recovered enough to fund the re-opening of the studio at the busiest time of the year. Lots of people have been asking when will they be able to come blow glass again? “It was so fun! We can’t wait to bring more of our friends when you reopen!” has been the refrain from many people. But what to do? If I could not do it, could my fans and friends help? Could the power of the crowd, the village, the grass roots do it? Could there be enough people out there who think this is a cool enough thing that they’d be moved to get behind it…even if it meant only sharing it on Facebook?
The result was to reach out and make this a community effort. Opening the studio will also mean that locals will get to come and learn about glassblowing by blowing glass themselves. I have had many poeple ask about this yearly tradition. I have been putting them off and also suggesting they support the campaign so that their donation might do double-duty; helping open the studio AND allowing them to take their donation and apply it to a mini class or workshop. For those who do not want to blow glass themselves, just having the furnaces running means you can watch as objects of beauty take shape before your eyes.
My campaign, which is on Indiegogo.com has a number of analytics that lets me see where my donations are coming from. I have had just under $400.00 worth of donations come from this blog platform. Facebook has thus far been heads and shoulders above the rest with about 1K in donations coming from my business page and personal page. My own contribution to gathering donations seems to have gotten first place. These are sources that came to Indiegogo by way of an email from my friends or family. I have had about a thousand visits of the campaign since it began. I get to see where page views are coming from, and the most is from the U.S., but Ireland and Great Britain is in line, with France, Italy, and then a long tumble of other views from all over the world. A handful have been from Russia. It has been interesting and educational. People are looking for the next big things to fund, obviously.
Currently I am at 60% funding. I have 40% yet to go. the campaign ends on the 7th of January and honestly, the campaign has surprised me every step of the way. I have been bewildered, mystified, frustrated, and elated, all at different times.
Frustration has come in the form of people not understanding how it is that I am not wanting their money bu their willingness to show that they think the campaign is worthwhile. Really. With 30 people all thinking this is worthwhile, they are all sharing the news and helping to build a network of interested people. Do the math; 30 people with an average of 350-450 people on their facebook friend list all seeing news of the campaign = 10,500-13,500 people . You can see how quickly the numbers add up. And the donations come in. With numbers like these, you don’t need BIG donations, you just need smaller ones when the reach gets this big. I have been nudging and asking and cajoling people who want to do a story on this work, but so far, there have been no takers. But as my advice was given, I am not taking anything personally. I am on to the next opportunity to find what will work. And its working. This is truly a community effort, although the community has emerged as being all across the world, all over our nation and into Canada. I have been sending out press releases, I have been on the local news (links to the story below). It has been very educational. If nothing else, I have expanded my reach, done a lot of networking, and done a kind of marketing I have never done before.
There is more to go. Will you share news of this on your social media? Check out my Facebook. I have shared a few pictures of glass that has been made by members in my local community. Its been fun. I do a lot of outreach. I offer classes at an affordable level that are fun and educational. I have had every size kid there is from the youngest being 5 years old to the oldest being 91.
So here is the campaign link to see the perks you can still order from the campaign! Check me out on Facebook, too!
Thanks to everyone who has made the campaign what it is so far. I could not have done it without you! <3