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How I got my Kickstarter funded

The Relic Wowflute - Funding till this Saturday!


Many people dream of creating something awesome but think they do not have the resources to do it.  I am one of those people.  I dream of creating all sorts of awesome products – and now I have the resources to do it every time.

I was introduced to Kickstarter back in 2012 in a marketing class that I took from Ellen Treanor at SUU.  We surfed Kickstarter in class and found lots of cool products that were not yet on the market.  This is when I decided that I would use Kickstarter as a marketing tool to spread the word about my product the Wowflute.

While attending SUU I also decided I no longer wanted to get a specific degree that I had to jump through hoops for.  I was on course for a general studies degree with a focus on Engineering Technology.  When I started taking classes in what I wanted it was eye opening and such a better way to go through college.  As a capstone project I chose to design a 3D printed version of my popular Wowflute.  I designed a makeshift one and got it 3D printed and it worked quite well.  I got a good grade and graduated in the spring of 2012.

In early 2013, I finally decided to pursue my Wowflutes on a full-time basis and decided to kick-start my first manufactured product on Kickstarter.  I spent many long hours describing the product and the process and figuring out rewards levels.  I had my brother-in-law make a short video and I posted the Kickstarter and then went on family vacation to Disneyland.  I was somewhat naive when it cam to crowdfunding and I figured once the content was up that was that.  Needless to say my project did really well the first three days and the last three days but was completely dead in terms of backers in the middle of a 30 day project.  I came only halfway to reaching my goal of $4,500.

I was somewhat perplexed as to why I didn’t reach the goal so I decided to relaunch the project for only one week.   I also lowered the goal to $2,000.  I still had access to all the backers of the original campaign, so after the relaunch I asked them all to come back and back the project again.  They did and to my amazement, my project was funded within two days.  This put the project on the radar of more backers because it landed in the popular section and was easy to find throughout the campaign.  I ended up getting it funded at about 172% of the goal of $2,000 which was very close to my original project goal.  During the week of the relaunch I also spent every waking moment pushing the link everywhere on facebook, twitter, instagram, and other social media sites.  That is how I got my Kickstarter funded the first time.

Since this learning experience I have tried to look at Kickstarter as a great marketing tool for projects rather than a crowdfunding platform.  Having a Kickstarter really pushes you to get the word out and to spread links everywhere for your project.  It really is a lot of work, but it’s very beneficial especially when your project is a success.  But even if your project draws only a small audience do not dismiss that audience!  Those backers are interested in your project and you should keep them in the loop.

My most recent Kickstarter Project for the Relic Wowflute has been very similar to my first campaign I ever did.  I pushed and pushed links everywhere and attempted to write blog entries and create some good content outside of kickstarter to point back to the project.  The funding went really well for about two weeks and then the curve flatlined.  It was odd because I had been getting a lot of traffic and the flatline was sudden at around 54% funded.  I had a loyal backer that suggested making a mokume-gane swirl Relic out of Gold and Iron but I had not done a whole lot of research with gold and was reluctant to work with such an expensive material.

After much deliberation I decided to cancel the project three days before it ended.  I had done some research and found I could save quite a bit of money on the project by making some of the needed equipment myself.  So I relaunched almost immediately with the goal cut by half to $2,500 and offered the Gold version as a much anticipated new reward.  I also went with a shortened project time of one week.  The response was phenomenal and the project was funded by one backer who went for the gold.  I was taken aback.  I learned to listen and apply suggestions from backers especially when they are very specific ones.

My Kickstarter project this time around is currently at around 225% funded with a good four days remaining.  I am grateful for the loyal backers that came back even though I canceled the first time around.  Is Kickstarter easy? No.  Does it take tons of work? Yes. Anyone whom thinks that Kickstarter is a way for people to get handouts is kidding themselves – it is not a money grab.  I plan on launching every new Wowflute Designs project on Kickstarter in the future, mainly because it works and pushes me to build an audience for each and every product.  That is how I got my Kickstarter funded.

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Mokume-Gane – Wood Grain Metal


This morning I have been researching the art of Japanese Mokume-Gane, pronounced moe-koo-may gah-nay.  Mokume-Gane literally translates to Wood Eye-Metal.  This represents it’s similarities to wood grain.  While doing research I came across an extensive history of Mokume-Gane by James E. Binnion who has mastered the art in his jewelry pieces.

The Mokume-Gane process was invented by a Denbei Shoami (1651-1728) who was a master smith from Akita prefecture Japan.

Mokume-Gane Ring by James Binnion Metal Arts

I have been making many Mokume-Gane style Swirl Wowflutes by mixing many different colors of polymer clay such as Sculpey III, Fimo, and Premo brands.  I take four or so different colors of clay and roll them out into “snakes” which I then twist together to form what looks like a giant candycane.  I then divide this cane in half, into fourths, eighths, and sixteenth equal segments.  Each segment is then rolled and twisted into itself until a desired design is achieved.  I then proceed to take each ball and make it into a pinchpot bowl with a bit of extra clay left at the bottom.  Since I have been making these Swirl Wowflutes for almost 10 years, my fingers are accustomed to the required thickness to make the chamber the right size.  The top rim of the mini-bowl is then carefully closed off and is shaped into the mouthpiece.  I then shape this hollow form into the kidney shape the produces the best tone.  At this stage I stamp the flute and tune each one in relation to the inner chamber size.  I almost enjoy making the different colors as much as I do making and tuning the flute.  If the color mixture isn’t right I will smash a perfectly tuned flute.  I am also quite reluctant to smash a nice swirl design even if the sound of the flute isn’t the greatest.

I am really excited to pursue metalwork and I feel this is the direction that Wowflute Designs is headed.  Clay is very versatile, but metal has intrinsic value where clay does not.  I have always been a coin collector and have been interested in the minting process since I was a child.  I still have my original coin collection which includes tons of wheat pennies, and drummer back quarters (bicentennial).  I think this fascination with coins and making something that lasts more than a lifetime is the drive that keeps me pursuing metalwork and combining it with my popular Wowflutes!

Mokume-Gane has so many similarities to my current flutes made out of clay.  I can’t wait to learn more about this Japanese method while creating awesome Relic Wowflutes!

I will keep this blog updated as I delve deeper into the art and science of Metalwork!  Thanks for following.