May 2016
Living the Organic Lifestyle By Sam Ujvary

How one garden center customer took his hobby and sprouted it into an urban gardening movement your store might want to get behind.

Successfully Kickstarting

UrbanAgriculture_5707By now, just about everyone is familiar with Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding campaign for companies to creatively gain investors. We asked Chad Corzine, founder of Urban Agriculture, about using Kickstarter to develop his company:

“When we were doing the Kickstarter, we had been at farmers markets for a few months and we knew [our product] was working. We knew people would like it, but I had originally built out this company with the premise that it was going to be all people like myself who were going to use it.

“It ended up I was wrong — and that’s a good thing — but originally that was my thought process. So I figured I didn’t have enough contact with people my own age at farmers markets.

“We tried to do a Kickstarter to see if the Internet would respond well to the project. We had a working budget of about $350. We [used that money to pay] for a videographer, some lighting effects and about $100 in gas. We wrote it on a notepad and shot it in one day. I learned a lot about what not to do when trying to craft one.

“We really just wanted to take our idea and see how well people would receive it if they weren’t hearing the spiel in person. Could someone see the idea without meeting me and say, ‘Hey, this is a good idea, I’d like to do this.’

“The first week of the Kickstarter was the most demoralizing week I’ve ever had. I had a big ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality of: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ So we spent all this time, rewrote it four times, shot it twice, spent all night editing and here I am thinking we’re going to make a million dollars because I love my idea so much.

“My mom bought some; my dad bought some, and then, nothing. The deal with Kickstarter is you get an email every time someone has contributed to your campaign. You have no idea how emotionally taxing it is to look at your phone and have no control over how much you’re selling.

“We found we needed to go out and get a personality to help us get the word out. We ended up getting picked up by a YouTube lifestyle blogger who made us the product of the month. That gave us a big push.

“All in all it was a great learning experience, and I hope I never have to do it again.”

Sam Ujvary

Sam Ujvary is an editor with Gift Shop magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]


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