As most of you will know, our debut collection launched a few weeks ago on Kickstarter but sadly, had to be cancelled due to lack of pledges.
It was very clear, even from day one, that we were unlikely to reach the target, which would not have looked to good to any future prospective investors. So, I felt it would be less damaging to the brand to cancel it, than let it run it's course. The campaign was a test of the market and should have been proof of a good concept, but it showed that something was clearly not right. The vast majority of pledges were from friends and family, which of course we are very appreciative of, but don't go to show there is a wider market for our products. Most pledges were also for low amounts suggesting people weren't prepared to spend too much.
The launch was a culmination of a dream, and of course years of research, hard work and significant financial investment, so it was extremely disappointing. However, I have learnt a lot from it and hope to still be able to move on somehow. The brand and collection themselves have been really well received and since promoting it our mailing list subscribers have increased by 25% and our Instagram followers by 16%. So, I still firmly believe that they are strong products and that there is a demand for them.
Having done further research and sought advice from industry experts, as well as feedback from our followers on social media, it is clear that the prices were the main problem. If the costs I was paying to have the garments made had been lower giving me a higher mark-up, I would have been able to have offered special early bird discounts, bundled gift packs, and other incentives to backers that I couldn't do with the costs I had. I naively hoped that being able to pre-order the garments before they were available through the retail site would have been tempting enough.
Ethical and sustainable products, such as ours, will always command higher prices as workers are paid fairly and the highest quality materials used. Despite difficult times in the retail industry the ethical market is rapidly increasing, so I felt confident that we would find customers. But perhaps I was pitching the product too high in aiming for designer level? I must add here that this was not the reason for the high prices, rather that my costs dictated the prices and therefore the high market level.
Having gained over 34,000 unique readers on this blogsite (thanks everyone!) which currently equates to over 2,500 visitors a month, I was expecting much more of a turn-out with the campaign as this is my main audience. However, having looked at the analytics, I can see that I didn't advertise the campaign well enough and sadly it didn't get as much press attention as I had would have liked. As I am being to realise all too well, PR, marketing and social media management are jobs in themselves, which as a I am running this show single-handedly is maybe just too much. I was also unsure of how much of the product to reveal before launch which may not have helped, so it is much easier now to market the product in all it's glory, rather than a concept that people have to imagine.
Some people have suggested that I wasn't running the campaign for long enough, though actually this wouldn't have made any difference in reaching the target anyway for the reasons stated above. According to Kickstarter statistics, successful campaigns get a lot of pledges in the first couple of days as the buzz drives visitors to the site, then the pledges will dip right down in the middle of the campaign and pick up again at the end as people rush to pledge before it finishes. Their statistics also show that a "shorter duration better positions a project for success", so with that in mind I also had to consider being able to deliver the duffle coats within the best selling period of 'back to school' in September which within the long production schedule didn't give me any longer than two weeks to run the campaign.
So, what's next? I am determined not to give up and to relaunch again soon, with an aim to be delivering in time for Christmas. I am currently negotiating with new manufacturers and working to bring my costs down further in the hope of being able to provide lower price points. The campaign did show which products people were most interested in, namely the t-shirts, which is what I will focus on for relaunch. (I am even considering adding in a new Christmas print) I am also looking into involving outside agencies to help me with PR and marketing too as I know now that I cannot do it all!
So please stick with us and sign up to our mailing list so you can be the first to know when pre-orders will be available again. And thanks again for all your support and feedback x
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