Is KickStarter worth it for Ethical Shoe Brands?

Since April 2009, almost 13 million people got together to fund 127 685 different projects on Kickstarter, raising over 3.1 billion dollars to encourage the creation of new albums, movies, books or fashion collections. Impressive, right?

For the past few months, we have seen more Ethical Shoe Brand Creators on the platform, launching their crowdfunding campaign to spread their message and grow. But how does it work? Let’s review 3 successful campaigns!

1- Juta Shoes 

Juta ShoesJuta Shoes produces espadrilles from sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials (upcycled reclaimed leather from local London factories, jute soles from a family-run factory in southern Spain). The shoes are handmade in London, where the company creates work opportunities for marginalised women.  

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  • Purpose of the crowdfunding: to boost their presence among distribution canals in UK (ethical fashion boutiques, online retailers, pop-up stores) and to reduce waste across their supply chain. The company detailed where the kickstarter money will go: 50%: Wages, training and support; 20%: Reinvesting in the social enterprise; 10%: Equipment and supplies; 10%: Website hosting and marketing services; 10%: Kickstarter and processing fees.
  • Time: 25 oct 2016 – 29 nov 2016 (35 days)
  • Target: 2000£
  • Money raised: 4201£
  • # of contributors: 85
  • Rewards: warm thanks, postcards, keychains, wallets, slippers, shoes, bespoke shoes and 1/2 day workshop to learn how to make your own shoes – from 1£ to 100£.

2- Olli

Olli flip flops

Olli creates flip flops with natural rubber in Sri Lanka. As part of the Fair Rubber Association, Olli “purchases rubber from audited plantations that maintain Fair Trade standards that include safe working conditions, medical care, and a fair wage”.

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  • Purpose of the crowdfunding: to raise money for starting the first round of production.
  • Time:  –  (30 days)
  • Target: 10 000$
  • Money raised: 13 392$
  • # of contributors: 339
  • Rewards: warm thanks, 1/2/3/4/5 pair(s) of flip flops, – from 5$ to 70$ and more

3- Saola Shoes

Saola Shoes

Saola’s mission is to create eco-friendly shoes made of recycled materials such as plastic bottles, polyester, foam or canvas and organic/sustainable products like cotton or cork. The company plans on donating 5% of sales of each pair to an environmental conservation project when available at retail in Spring 2018.

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  • Purpose of the crowdfunding: to fund their first round of production.
  • Time:  –  (36 days)
  • Target: 25 000€
  • Money raised: 33 790€
  • # of contributors: 363
  • Rewards: good vibes, 1-4 pairs of socks, 1/2/4 pairs of ladies or gentlemen shoes – from 15€ to 260€ and more.

Crowdfunding tips for Shoe Brand Creators

By launching crowdfunding campaigns like these, shoe brands raise funds (sometimes more than expected), reach out their market, communicate about their products and federate their potential customers around common values. However, crowdfunding is also a risk: the campaign can fail, it is time/energy/money consuming and the company can be victim of its own success by having too many rewards to deal with!

In order to lower the risks, here is a list of handy tips to prepare a good kickstarter campaign:

Before

  • Foresee between 6 months and 1 year of set up to get ready for the campaign
  • Estimate the cost of the rewards (and the production costs if the campaign aims to fund it)
  • Create a community around your project
  • Prepare a press kit and a PR strategy
  • Establish your brand content

During

  • Create remarkable content people can read, watch, share! Be precise and exhaustive.
  • Seduce targeted medias and potential customers with the right storytelling
  • Use a short video (2 min maximum)
  • Be available, stay positive and respond to all interactions.

After

  • Take good care of your contributors
  • Deal with your production (be on time)
  • Organise the deliveries !

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