It's hard to believe that just over a month ago we embarked on the journey to ask friends, family and perfect strangers to pledge their hard-earned dollars on our budding product idea.
37 days later, RingSafe is $17,296 better funded by more than 400 backers, has garnered 4 great product reviews and is well on its way to becoming a solution for thousands of people who might not lose their ring ever again!
We wanted to share a few of the cool moments and lessons learned from our crowdfunding journey.
Why Crowdfund RingSafe?
John invented RingSafe after losing his ring just three days after our honeymoon. I agreed that it was an amazing idea - especially since I figured many husbands and wives alike had misplaced their rings once or twice. We got lots of positive feedback on our prototypes from friends and family, but wanted to know if the idea had merit. Though we could have funded production ourselves, we thought it would be smarter to validate that there was a real market.
Kickstarter was a way to test and gather market insights while reducing the risk of putting in the entire investment before we had enough information. It didn't hurt that the many clever ideas we've seen get funded via Kickstarter also get early press and publicity through the community - helping them accelerate their launches down the road.
Unexpected Kickstarter Surprises & Lessons
Kickstarter is pretty amazing and has been a true disruptor in the area of SMB financing and user testing. There's never been a method to get insight and seed funding as fundamentally easy as this - and as fundamentally validating. Along the way we learned a ton and had a few surprises, both positive and educational (wink, wink):
- Galvanized community: backers are often activist backers helping multiple projects, sharing feedback, ideas, best practices and more ... we had a number of backers who I can name by memory who gave us little tips and tidbits every few days and have been super helpful. We went from having 'anonymous customers' to friendly clients who we were truly engaged with ... and who cared a lot about whether we succeeded or failed.
- Global reach: our first 11 backers came from people we'd never met, many from all over the globe, extending far beyond the reach we might have gotten organically through our own network or basic advertising.
- Effort vs. spend: you don't need to spend much to succeed on Kickstarter - which is great! But you do need to invest your personal time, network and creativity to become a hit. We should have started sooner and done more to be able to truly exceed our goals - the tips and tricks out there are good, but nothing beats building up your social following and network before you 'go live'.
- Early momentum: this seems to mimic what we've heard about building a brand in general. Early momentum is a vote of confidence that continues to add fuel to your fire ... the more votes of confidence you get early in your campaign, the more visibility you get. We are extrapolating this concept to our move into the full retail market with efforts to get into some major channels early, so we can build a brand that is known, before a fast follower arises.
- Giving thanks: like anywhere, any community, being open to ideas, learning, sharing and thanking your backers and supporters is huge. Genuinely seeking and accepting help begets great support.
Great Product Feedback Incorporated into RingSafe
Along the way, we had a number of requests and insights that made it into our product. Here are a few changes that happened due to our backers' excellent questions and advice:
- Added an 11mm wide version
- Added chains and learned that choices are valuable
- Added engraving options (this will eventually be offered online)
- Modified part of the clasp for even greater security
What's next for RingSafe?
Now that we have confirmed our confidence in the market for RingSafe and secured additional funding, we're deep in the throes of packaging design and production ordering for QA. In the meantime, we're having conversations with some cool e-tailers and looking for partnerships with more mainstream jewelry and industry specific retailers. Any friends of RingSafe who know buyers at gyms, medical or culinary uniform suppliers and most importantly jewelers, we'd love to hear from you. Now is the time for RingSafe to expand fast - before someone follows in our footsteps!
Thank You Backers!
What an amazing roller coaster we have had over our RingSafe crowdfunding campaign - thrills and all! More than anything else, we've been amazed by the outpouring of help and support for the idea that is RingSafe and cannot thank you all enough for your backing, votes of confidence and the many good vibes you've sent our way.