Kickstarting Loving Lion Books
How we successfully Kickstarted Loving Lion Books.
When we started our Kickstarter campaign, none of us had much of a presence on social media. We believed in Loving Lion Books and its importance for our kids, for our friends' kids and for our world, and we needed money to start it! We knew that crowdfunding through social media was our best first chance, so we dug in.
We read article after article about Kickstarter. We watched lots of successful videos. We combed through campaigns. We read the Kickstarter guides and took books about Kickstarter Campaigns out from the library. Then we made it all our own.
It reminded us of becoming parents - researching, reading, and watching great parents to learn what we could, and then making our own choices - parenting as who we are, but informed by our research.
Our video was challenging. None of us are natural actors; each of us is more introverted than extroverted, and seeing ourselves on camera was weird. But, our friends and families kindly brought their sweet, delightful children to support us, and it made the whole day magical and perfect. Watching them play together, try to yell “Roar” together and all around be the happy, fantastic kids we know and love was hysterical and reminded us of why we were sitting in front of a camera trying to remember the words we wrote for ourselves. The end result was an honest expression of why we created Loving Lion Books.
In the end, we surpassed our Kickstarter goals and had a joyful month of hard work. It was an experience in gratitude. Our parents gave, siblings gave, cousins gave, former colleagues gave, high school classmates gave, our friends gave, people we’ve never met gave, families who really want children’s books that reflect their worlds gave. Our children ran around yelling “ROAR” as we strategized in phone conversations about our next posts or why interest had dwelled or spiked.
We often say that our Kickstarter campaign was like a wedding and the company the marriage. Both are important, but the wedding shouldn’t eclipse its purpose for existence. So we ensured our work on Kickstarter aligned with our goals as a company - creating beautiful books featuring characters of all shades and a clean, simple and fun web shopping experience.
Kickstarter helped us to have challenging conversations earlier than we may have had if we had just gotten a loan - we talked through sausage making details - discussing our brand and what it should look like and sound like and what designs best represent us. It also let us meet our customer family earlier to understand their needs and wants.
We are so glad we used Kickstarter to truly kickstart our work. Below are some tips for anyone who has a project that will make an impact and needs funding to get it going. As we said above, read them and then make them yours:
- Because Kickstarter is the wedding and not the marriage, ensure your rewards are A. linked to your actual product and/or B. marketing for the product you are creating.
- We studied the reaction to our posts on social media and email to help us refine our messaging. If a post was shared or liked a lot we knew it had legs and tried to learn from it. If a post was ignored or had a lukewarm response, we knew it wasn’t as strong and learned from that as well.
- Take a deep breath. It’s really awkward to email every person you’ve ever met and ask for money, but it’s effective and can start conversations that make you think differently about your work.
- Express gratitude immediately. We were surprised that a number of times people increased their contribution after we sent immediate thank-you notes. Also, the notes reflected our heartfelt gratitude for our contributors’ kindness and excitement for our idea, and that further cemented a strong Kickstarter base.
- Have as much prepped beforehand as possible. We had drafts of updates for key milestones, drafts of likely FAQs and responses and drafts of emails and social media content a month before we launched, and it was a tremendous help once we were in the day-to-day of the campaign. We did tweak some of our messaging based on the actual campaign but leaned heavily on what we had pre-written when we were less sleep deprived!
If you decide to Kickstart your idea, we hope you have as much fun and luck as we did!