On Tea and Kickstarters

(12 comments)

I see a lot of tea Kickstarters and back about half of them. I have been thinking a lot about the ones I back versus the ones I don’t, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Maybe there are other people who think like me, and maybe if you had listened to this advice/listen to it in the future, you’ll have a successful Kickstarter.

 Here’s the bottom line, people. If you aren’t truly some sort of non-profit organization, you shouldn’t expect people to just donate out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a business transaction!

 Do you fit into one of these categories?

  • You represent a home for cats or starving children, or similar

  • I am your relative and regularly send you canned greeting cards with $20 stuck inside

  • You are near me and I will be able to enjoy something about your venture in the future (i.e. a local teahouse)

 If the answer is no, then your Kickstarter needs to have something in it for the person whose money you want. Virtual hugs and mentions on websites only go so far. When you put yourself out there with people who you are likely never going to meet, you need some way to entice those people to support you. This isn’t you having a bake sale with people you know. This is a bake sale with the world. Give me a cookie!

 Think of it this way. The people who fund your Kickstarter are like your shareholders. But, you only have to pay a dividend ONCE. Make your shareholders happy with your venture and it’s likely that they will continue to support you in the future.

If you only receive 75% of what was pledged by random people out there, and you have to use the other 25% to send them back something, you are still in the positive, see? Even if those numbers are 50/50, you can still make it work because you are the one setting your Kickstarter goals up and you know going in what it will take to fund your venture and what you will be kicking back (see what I did there?) And if your offer is really appealing, you may be funded many times over and then you have LOTS of capital to start with and LOTS of happy people who are looking forward to seeing what you do next.

Let’s look at some examples.

Winterwoods Tea Company

Status: Funded! Original goal $13,450, raised $30,294

Did I fund it: YES, at the $15 level.

Why or why not? I funded this Kickstarter the first time I saw it. Their page was really well done and contains photos of them, information about their process, every ingredient of every tea they are offering as part of the campaign, and more.  At the $15 level I will receive a 30 serving bag of one of their teas and I get to choose which tea (this is key unless your concept is a subscription box). The sticker and shout out are fun but weren’t a deciding factor for me.

What would have made me bid more? This was really personal preference. I didn’t see another blend that I wanted. They have a lot of herbal blends and I really don’t drink tisanes much. I also love that they had a bid option that was just tea, keep the mug. I have a lot of mugs!

 

Tea Sensations

Status: Still open as of 9/21/15, 5 days left. $25 of $15,000 funded.

Did I fund it: No

Why or why not? With some work this one could have made it, I think. The $25 level offers some tea, but doesn’t say how much (1 teaspoon each? 1 oz. each? I don’t know). There is no information on the page about the teas – do you do your own blends? Resell stuff from one of the big wholesalers? Do you blend your teas in your cat’s food bowl? I have no idea from this page. Since the company’s website is under construction I can’t go there either. I am also not sure what this funding is for – equipment? General stock? Put some more thought into this business plan and try again. Post pictures. And no one wants your tea without knowing what is in it.

 

Rosali Tea

Status: Still open as of 9/21/15, 18 days to go. $11,451 of $20,000 pledged.

Did I fund it: Yes, at the $15 level.

Why or why not? The $15 level includes around an ounce of tea, made up of 3 different kinds. That’s a great intro price level and enough tea to introduce me to their company without burying me in tea. The page has loads of information and the video is very well done and compelling. “Help us provide a distribution channel for small farmers who don’t have one?” They’re singing a song right there that I like a lot. After watching the video I was sold on the proprietor. Also, you know I have to try every subscription box that I see and I need a new teaspoon.

What would have made me bid more? I almost did. The $20 level is more tea, but I went with the smaller one in case I don’t like the teas. I have a feeling I will be kicking myself though.

 

Alexander’s Rinky Dinky Tea Shop

Status: A few hours from closing, $120 of $10,000 pledged.

Did I fund it: Nope

Why or why not? This one might get the award for the least effort put into a page ever. What am I funding? Some vague ramblings about creating a safe place to drink tea in NJ. Cool idea. But show me something! The first pledge level is $100 and gives back “3 free samples of tea” – (news flash, they weren’t free). But hey, you can spend $250 if you want 2 oz. of tea. Yep. Also nice photo, too bad it's just clip art.

 

Honestly I want to fund every tea Kickstarter that I see. I love the concept, I love getting a little something in the mail later, and I have the disposable income to do it. But, if you want my money you need to put some effort into selling me on your concept.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Nicole Martin 3 years ago

All of this! You've cited some great examples. There are awesome tea Kickstarters out there but more often than not they seem to mostly be asking for handouts. I get so many emailed to me that I no longer write about them unless it's a company that I already have a relationship with. Hopefully the future crop of tea businesses will take some of your advice :)

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Anne Downen 3 years ago

I enjoyed this article - and I do thank you for backing our Kickstarter when we had ours! As someone who has now created two Kickstarter campaigns and is in the middle of crafting a third, I can say that it's not an easy process to think of everything that needs to be said and then also say it as concise and edited as possible so that it doesn't fall under the TL;DR category. I tend to fall under that category as I tend to be rather wordy.

But you did give some excellent advice. Thank you for a well-written piece!

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Christina 3 years ago

I might check out that Rosali tea one.

As for the funding behind a Kickstarter campaign, it's not quite that simple. There's a really excellent post about Kickstarter budgeting and fundraising from the perspective of a self-publisher, but I think a lot of the info in it applies to other industries: http://mariancall.com/kickstarter-math-is-weird/

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Geoff 3 years ago

This was seriously awesome. I've backed two tea-related Kickstarters and they were bot (a) people I knew, and (b) relatively near me.

The "blending in a cat bowl" line made me snort. Luckily, I wasn't drinking anything, yet.

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Marzipan 3 years ago

I forgot to add the "not responsible for snort related tea injuries" disclaimer - shoot!

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Amanda, Soggyenderman 3 years ago

Excellent take on tea themed kickstarters! So far I have backed two...though they were on Indiegogo which doesn't really count, and the Kickstarters I have backed so far have been miniature gaming related.

I first started following Kickstarters in real detail (other than just 'oh hey that is an interesting thing') after two big gaming related ones got my attention for promising WAYYYY more then they ever could give. (Gaming ones tend to get funded super quick and end up with a million stretch goals) At least one of them now has a website where you can order the minis and a 'some of the games have shipped' announcement, no one I know who backed it has had the pleasure of getting their stuff yet though. Poor them.

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Marzipan 3 years ago

There is a new tea one that popped up on Indiegogo this morning, it's about tea grown in Vietnam.

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Amanda, Soggyenderman 2 years, 12 months ago

Oh yeah! They totally sent me a note on Tumblr about it! I had forgotten, so thanks for the reminder :D

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Notes on Tea | Georgia 3 years ago

I will check out the two campaigns you funded. I've never thought to look at Kickstarter as a place to discover new teas and tea companies. Thank you.

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