The 2015 Girl Scout cookie season is underway across the country. Earlier today, my daughter and I tallied her sales and emailed them to our cookie manager. This year, my fourth grader approached many customers herself, went knocking on neighbors’ doors and called relatives. She wrote down the orders herself, gave totals, and is currently planning her thank you notes for delivery. Watching her take a vested interest in this annual project adds even more value to this experience. Read More It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!
This week’s Kickstartable spoke to me because HELLO WINTER. As soon as the air turns cold, my skin turns dry and cracked. I am always looking for quality skin products that can up my moisture retention rate. Element Botanicals seems to have products that will fit that bill. Their Project Make. More. Grow. will help get their products onto more skin that needs it.
I was able to ask Amber Haase*, of Element Botanicals a few questions about the project. It struck me as different because they are already producing products and selling them in stores. See what she has to say:
Your business is established, so what made you choose crowdsourcing over pursuing individual investors?
Crowdsourcing gives us the opportunity to reach a wider audience in addition to raising funds. Our current marketing strategy consists mainly of social media, retail shows, and word of mouth, so combining an interactive platform like Kickstarter with a fundraising goal feels like a great idea. We also see it as a chance to give a bit of a background story to our business; I think a growing number of people prefer a more direct connection with their products. It’s nice to know exactly where the stuff you buy is coming from. We aren’t a faceless factory making endless amounts of the same junk; we’re a small family making honest products. Everything we make comes from our workshop, and if your label is on slightly crooked, you can blame it on my husband because that’s his job! So, basically, we are ready to give Kickstarter a go because we see it as a great opportunity to grow our business. Why not?
Your goal is to be able to make bulk purchases. What’s your production like now/how will bulk
purchasing change this?
Our products are totally handmade. We keep as much stock on hand as we can, but with our current situation, our batch sizes are pretty limited. We order a few things in larger amounts, but many of our supplies come in bags of several dozen or so, which don’t last very long! We have run into situations where we have to wait on supplies to arrive. It’s funny when people say: “It’s a good problem to have…” that we can’t keep up with demand. It’s not a good thing when you are waiting for deliveries. If we had more of our key supplies in large quantities, it would make things much more efficient. We wouldn’t be dealing with backorders or waiting on a handful of containers to arrive before we can ship out a wholesale order. It would make a huge difference to us to be able to smooth out the production end of our business so we could focus on more important things like developing new, innovative skin treatments, harvesting more wild ingredients, and growing our business.
What was the most challenging part of getting this Kickstarter off the ground?
The video was the only real challenge we faced. We put it off. We got everything else ready first until we had to do it. We did a lot of research, and the one resounding bit of advice was always: “Make a video, make sure it’s catchy and awesome, your campaign depends on it!” No pressure.
My husband and business partner, Hardy, and I have always incorporated our (ahem) unique sense of humor into our company in product names and promotional material, so we decided to go with that. We made this quirky, silly video using some of our vintage toys and rather than allow us the chance to change our minds, we launched as soon as it was done. No going back now! And whaddaya know, people seem to really like it! We were chosen as a Staff Pick and New+Notable by Kickstarter the first day we launched, so I guess it worked out!
What’s been the most pleasant surprise?
We were absolutely blown away by the immediate support, gratitude and kind words we received from our loving fans, friends, and family. When you put so much into a business (and subsequently a project like this), it’s easy to get caught up in the millions of details that can sometimes overshadow the big picture. Our main objective is to make beautiful, natural skin care products that are accessible to everyone and to keep customer service top priority. When we launched our campaign worrying about all the tiny details, it was incredibly touching to get all this unexpected, positive feedback to remind us that people really do appreciate what we do.
*Amber Haase is the founder of Element Botanicals hand made skin care based out of British Columbia,Canada. Element Botanicals uses botanical extracts, essential oils, and natural ingredients to create unique, effective, and affordable skin care.
Element Botanicals: Project Grow. Make. More is available for funding through December 10, 2015.
Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.
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