The Challenge Of Crowd Funding

Owner and founder, Parker Stafford

Owner and founder, Parker Stafford

The Challenge of Crowdfunding is in building an expanded community of supporters all interested in your common goal of raising funds for a new project. If you are new to the concept of crowdfunding, the process is one where pledges are made by a large number of people in order to help fund a business or individual in a worthwhile cause. To date hundreds of billions of dollars have been raised using this model for businesses both big and small.

The idea of crowdfunding has its roots in individuals, such as musicians, who had fans willing to pledge support for making the next new CD when the musician did not have the funds for the project. Using word of mouth and via the internet, artists were able to leverage their base in order to make a new project a reality. Its an amazing development, and has been a way for cash strapped individuals to bring great ideas to the marketplace. It has opened up doors of possibility to millions of people to date.

A few months ago I began to get a stream of inquiries from people in and around my area asking me if I was going to offer the BYOB event that I normally hold each year. This moniker stand for “Blow Your Ornament Ball” and has been an exciting event held during the winter months that have allowed hundreds of people to come design and make their own ornament or suncatcher. For those who might not know, I am a glassblower.  I also teach glass a lot.  Its loads of fun! Anyway…. Spread entirely by word of mouth, this opportunity has really caught on. This year, however, the studio was shut down after a door on one of the furnaces came apart and there were not funds to make the fix. Then after classes I normally teach at the local university did not “make” due to unusually low enrollment, I was unable to afford keeping the studio open during this time. In the midst of this, I was working on making a new lamp for a client that has caused a stir and some excitement. People who saw my pictures of this piece were asking how they could get one. I had to explain that I didn’t have the studio running. How could I make more of these? The question became would people be willing to pledge their support and thus make opening the studio an option? The answer to this challenge was crowd funding.

By building a campaign with lots of goodies for those who pledge support, it will be possible to reopen the studio for people who want to blow glass but also to bring this next innovation in lighting to the market. It is a win-win! But to do this means I need to broaden my base of support, to get the word out to everyone who has participated in the past as well as those who have a vested interest in carrying the work in the future such as galleries of art and fine craft. I am appealing to all of these people and more to give this effort a run for its money!

 

What Will It Cost?

 

The budget for this effort is $5,600.00. Some of this goes to Indiegogo for administrative and marketing costs. The rest goes to the project itself which includes repairing the furnace door, buying propane, electricity, colored glass, base glass both for the lamp project as well as for anyone who pledges support and wants an ornament or suncatcher, a Gaia lamp, a Gaia Lamp Coffee Mug  and a few other “perks.”. It will also pay for a production run of the lamps that includes the lighting hardware which will all be compliant with U.S. electrical codes. It is a significant effort to be sure, but one with lots of rewards! The premiums like the mugs, ornaments, lamps, and others will begin once I reach the $5,600.00 goal.

I am here asking for your support.  Come be a part of an exciting process!  Share this, make it go viral and see goodness bloom!

What Goodies Are There To Pledge For?

There are a number of tasty premiums available for people interested in having their own glass creation, or to make one of their own that are part of the donation process!  Once I go live with the effort, I will share the link where you can see all of the perks

 

  • $26 pledge – get your very own limited edition blown ornament.  Signed, numbered and dated by the artist. Available for pick up from the studio.  Comes gift boxed. Unable to pick it up?  You can choose the same perk with shipping included (further down the list)! Once we launch, you will be able to see this new ornament unveiled on Indiegogo.  Check back here to learn more.  I am CLOSE!
  • $35.00 pledge – the official campaign mug.  Has a full color image of the vase tastefully designed with “I Helped Light The Lamp!” emblazoned across it.  Design is based on our poster for this effort.  15 o.z. ceramic, black background.  Available for shipping anywhere in the U.S. Make your donation go further and arrange to pick up locally.
  • $40.00 pledge – blow your own ornament/suncatcher in the studio. For local pickup.  Want to make two and send one as a gift anywhere in the U.S.?  See us for shipping.
  • $50.00 pledge – special limited edition blown ornament shipped anywhere in the Continental U.S. Signed and dated by the artist.
  • $95.00 pledge – Small Gaia Lamp standing approximately 8” tall, this is a scaled down version of the large lamp in our campaign ad. Call it the Gaia night light! Lit using a smaller 40 watt bulb. Available for pickup. Add $20.00 for shipping. For delivery to the address you choose anywhere in the Continental U.S. Signed and dated by the artist.
  • $195.00 pledge – Large Gaia lamp as shown in our campaign poster, standing approximately inches tall available for pickup from the studio, add $20.00 for shipping to send it to the address you choose anywhere within the Continental U.S.
  • $500.00 pledge – Glass blowing extravaganza! You and any number of friends you would like to invite gets one-on-one instruction in making as much glass as possible in a five hour period! Don’t want to blow glass? Come with your ideas and let us make the work under your direction as you help choreograph the show! The studio is your oyster! Work is available for pick up once it has been finished in the studio.
  • $1,000.00 pledge – Designers Delight! Bring your ideas for new glass forms and we make your pledge’s value in glass! Would you like a sink made? Done! Would you like to make your own set of custom made drinking glasses? Done! Would you like a centerpiece, suncatchers, ornaments, and a lighting fixture? Maybe a Gaia lamp while we are at it? Whatever you choose that we can make is possible as long as it adds up to your pledge amount! Don’t just order it, you can be actively involved! Unable to come to the studio? No problem! Lunch is on us when you come on the weekend! We can use a part of your pledge to ship the glass to you! Feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities prior to donating! Includes free consultations to work out the details of your designing dream.

 

For larger pledges you can design your own glass creations and have us make them for you after we have discussed your projects with you. If you are local, you will be able to arrange a time to come to the studio to work with me to develop your ideas, enjoy lunch or dinner out at our local “green” restaurant, and make some cool stuff! You will have broad latitude in making as much work as your pledge offers. Would you like to make a sink for your home? Done! Maybe a center piece would be nice along with some matching drinking glasses. Would you like some large suncatchers for your bay window, or some gifts to give to a newly married couple? The possibilities are endless! Another pledge allows you to come and blow as much glass as can be made over a five hour period in the studio. Come alone or bring your friends, it is all good! Can’t afford a five hour block of time? No problem! We can break the sessions up over two weekends if you prefer! I will be on hand to assist you in making your own dreams a reality! Make them yourself, or direct me if you wish, the studio is your oyster! To learn about all of these exciting pledge opportunities, go to our campaign site on Indiegogo HERE!

 

What You Can Do

 

First, you can start by sharing news of the campaign with a simple click of the “share” button on Facebook. Find Stafford Art Glass and share the news with your friends. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can send an email to your friends telling them about the campaign and what it means to you to see a local business achieve this goal. This helps to inform people about what is going on in or world and gives them the opportunity to consider supporting a good cause that gives as much as it receives! I have a poster that is optimized for the web that is easy to share with your friends that gives your friends all the details. Go HERE for our campaign site on Indiegogo!

You are free to share any pictures of my work on Facebook and if you aren’t on Facebook, you can contact me directly and I will send you a collection of images that you have permission to share. I can also provide you with an informative email that gives all the details which you can forward to your friends if you would like. I have a twitter account where I will be posting updates as well as updates on this blog, facebook and my blogging account on tumblr at www.staffordartglass.tumblr.com.

What Happens If You Don’t Meet Your Goal?

Good question! The budget is arranged in a tiered system that takes the most important parts of the project first. That means that certain goals will be met before others. The furnace door will be repaired, propane will be purchased along with the electricity. The glass for the full project will be ordered and then printing and shipping come last. Let’s say that only enough funds are raised to pay for the repair, propane and electricity. What happens then? Currently I have supplies in the studio to blow ornaments and I can make a short run of Gaia lamps including samples, but not a full first production run of two dozen, which the budget is for. Even if we do not meet our full goal, the funds raised will go to the effort to get the studio operational and work made. If the campaign falls short of the full goal, what is raised will bring the studio that much closer to making this project a reality.

The truth is, each crowd funding effort is a journey to discovering what we are capable of. Each of us. That includes you, too! What I need more now than ever are people who are interested in helping make this effort a reality!

In the days to come I will be sending out press releases to newspapers and online news sources about my project. I will be contacting WDBJ in Roanoke who has shown a great deal of interest in my work and my efforts in the past.   Will be talking with radio show hosts about interviews and I will be putting up posters throughout our area and encouraging you and others to help make this effort go “viral” to get the support needed for a worthwhile cause. I wont be able to make it without you! For galleries who are interested in the work, you can get in on the action, too, by posting images and links to my effort and be the first in line to receive these works in your place of business for the 2015 buying season! This is a unique opportunity to give a new spin to helping artists you are interested in bring a new product to market. Have you ever, as a gallery owner, ever partnered with a glass artist or ANY artist in spreading the word in this way? Your customers will likely find this approach novel, engaging, and exciting! I urge you to consider the possibilities when it comes to your supporting the arts in this way and I look forward to speaking with you about any and all questions you might have.

For anyone with questions, you can contact me directly at info@staffordartglass.com or via my mobile at (540) 605-0034. Until then, I wish you the very best! ~Parker Stafford

 

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