How Two Women Used a Blog to Beat Their Kickstarter Campaign Goal by 227%

  • December 15, 2011 by Caleb Wojcik
  • 29 Comments

In the past few months on Think Traffic we have interviewed bloggers about how they’ve built up 100,000 readers, made a living off their blog in just six months, and how they’ve re-launched their blog to double their readership.  Today, you’re in for something a little different.

Just a few weeks ago, Shannon Whitehead and Kristin Glenn from Revolution Apparel started a Kickstarter campaign to launch their brand new line of clothing. (If you haven’t heard of Kickstarter before it is the world’s largest online funding platform for creative projects.) The original goal for their fundraising was $20,000. After just 4 weeks, they are already have over $46,849 pledged by 583 different backers

That’s over 215% of their goal with a full week left to go. (Update: Their Kickstarter campaign is now closed and fully funded at $64,246. 321% of their goal!)

How did they have so much success? Keep reading to find out how having a blog was a major reason for their success.

Why did you start blogging? 

Shannon & Kristin: We decided to start a blog two summers ago. We had been talking about starting a business, and knew that we wanted to share that process with other people, who were thinking of doing the same thing. Especially after the financial debacles of 2008, we knew that we weren’t the only ones trying to live on our own terms.

The blog launched in September 2010 — before we even had a firm business idea in our minds. We wanted to share the whole process, from early concept to success. The entire summer before launch, we hashed out details of our blog (What’s the focus? What’s our mission?). It turned out to be a great way to hold ourselves accountable to our ideas and connect with like-minds.

Why did you choose apparel as your business idea?

Shannon & Kristin: Two summers ago, when we were tossing ideas back and forth, fashion kept coming to the forefront in different ways. Jewelry. Clothes. Bags. It seemed like a natural fit for us, to pursue travel and fashion. When the idea to design a versatile apparel line began to form, it just felt right. We were desperately seeking an idea that would allow us passion, purpose, and adventure, and this idea seemed to fit the bill!

How did having a blog in place help you accomplish business goals throughout the past year?

Shannon & Kristin: Accountability. We blogged about everything. The highs, the lows, the mistakes, the successes, the fights, the solutions. Because we were divulging every decision, big and small, we had no other choice than to stay committed to the business goals we set out to accomplish. It’s very possible that we wouldn’t have gotten this far without the accountability of the blog — not to mention, the constant support we got through it from our readers.

How big of an audience did you have on your blog and social media before your Kickstarter campaign?

Shannon & Kristin: We don’t keep track of numbers, especially on the blog! We did in the beginning, but honestly forgot about it after awhile.

Facebook counts hovered around 500, and we counted about 800 Twitter followers.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but what’s more important is the interest of that small following. Those few hundred core people helped us spread the word — and they’re ultimately responsible for our success with Kickstarter. We like to think the kind of people we attract is far more important than the number of people.

What have been the most important things you’ve done to reach your funding goal on Kickstarter?

Shannon & Kristin: Pre-launch networking and post-launch PR. Through our blog and social media, we built a pretty committed (but small) following in the year after writing our first post. Those relationships are what set us off on a blazing path towards our Kickstarter goal. Fellow bloggers, Twitter followers, and readers were incredible about spreading the word, and it made a tremendous impact on reaching our funding goal so quickly.

Post-launch PR made a big impact as well. We had mapped out in our Kickstarter strategy, leading up to launch, the various media outlets that we planned to seek out. We really pushed ourselves to get as many interviews, guest posts, podcasts, etc. as we possibly could. We knew how important it would be to get our message out to a large group of people as quickly as possible.

Do you feel like you can launch a big project or movement with just a small tribe of followers?

Shannon & Kristin: Absolutely. Our small tribe got us to $10k on Kickstarter in less than 72 hours and then they got us over $40k (double our goal) by spreading our story through word-of-mouth. It’s all about a committed group of supporters (big or small) and your ability to create something that resonates with them. Passion for a cause, a product or an idea is more important than simply a number.

How important do you think being passionate about what you do online is? Could you give as much effort if you didn’t care as much about your cause?

Shannon & Kristin: Not a chance! First of all, keeping up with blogging, week after week, isn’t easy. If we didn’t believe that our ideas could have a truly important impact, then we would have given up during the rough patches. Our passion has developed over the past year, too — I think blogging, and constantly learning about fashion and the environment has given us even more reason to continue pushing through.

The people whose blogs we follow are completely committed to their mission. Every single one of them. That seems like a crucial aspect of “success.”

Why did you decide to stop blogging at allofusrevolution.com?

Shannon & Kristin: We decided to do a brand revamp and really focus on {r}evolution apparel. We wanted our clothing line to have a blog, but we knew we couldn’t keep up with running two. The {r}evolution apparel blog is essentially the same thing as the All of Us Revolution blog — it just has a different look.

You’ve been working on this project non-stop for 16 months straight. How do you find energy to keep going each day?

Shannon & Kristin: It’s not easy! But we have each other. At the end of the day it’s each other and the passion for our project that keeps us going. We know that {r}evolution apparel is bigger than just us — it’s a small part in a movement that we feel so lucky to be a part of.

We sieze some days with a fervor, and others are certainly more lacking in energy. But ultimately, we really think that we can “make the world a better place” (as cliche as it sounds). And that’s what keeps this project moving forward.

Kristin Glenn and Shannon Whitehead are the co-founders and designers of {r}evolution apparel. They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of their first piece, the Versalette. You can check our their Kickstarter profile, follow them on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

Written by . Caleb Wojcik is one of the 3 C's at Think Traffic and Fizzle.co. He writes at CalebWojcik.com and hosts the Cubicle Renegade Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @CalebWojcik.


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Gregory Ciotti December 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

Great case study and just wanted to say that this is an excellent example of using content marketing for Kickstarter, something I don’t see that many Kickstarter do (or at least, more should be doing it).

What’s the main expense that the money raised is going to?

Shannon December 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks so much for the kind words!

To answer your question, we used Kickstarter as a way to initiate pre-sales of the Versalette. So while some of the money will go towards funding production of our first batch of pieces, we’ll use the rest of the money mainly for marketing, growing the business and funding a summer project we have up our sleeves!

Susana Nakatani December 15, 2011 at 7:23 am

This kind of interviews are really inspiring. Especially for people like me. I just launched my blog and I’m considering joining the Million Dollar Blog Project :D

Thanks,

Shannon December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Happy to inspire, Susana! Good luck with your blog! It’s a really fun world to become a part of : )

Mars Dorian December 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

Man, I followed your campaign and tweeted and shared the message – it’s really awe-some. You two have accomplished so much, and I can already smell a great brand in the making. iF you keep that fire burning and the momentum going, you’re going to create some epic shit.

Shannon December 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm

You’ve been such an incredible supporter from the start, Mars. We’re eternally grateful to people like you.

Yamile Yemoonyah December 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

I have question for Kristin and Shannon and I would really love to hear an answer:

I’ve been following your campaign for a while now because I love the idea and how you went about promoting it. You girls are really rocking it!

However, yesterday I read about your decision to not ship internationally and I really wonder about this. I know you say it’s because of sustainability and environmental reasons and I get that.

But didn’t you get the idea for this whole project while you were traveling the world ? Now I really wonder why it is okay to fly around in planes yourselves but not okay to ship internationally. Plus, you had no problem accepting backers (aka people giving you money) from outside the U.S, but now they can’t buy the product?

All this does not really make sense to me. And, as I already stated on your own blog, it sounds a bit U.S. centric and not very well thought through.

Just my 2 cents, don’t take it personally!

Kristin December 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Hey Yamile!

I’m glad you brought this up – all good questions and comments!

We have definitely done our fair share of “shipping ourselves around the world” — and I’ve even written a blog post about the environmental impact of travel versus the value of exchanging cultures. Travel has been a big part of my life, although, I will be doing much more slow travel after all I’ve learned about sustainability in the past year.

We did explicitly say, in our note to international backers at the bottom of our Kickstarter, that we would NOT be planning on shipping world-wide after the Kickstarter. So, while this shouldn’t have been news to our friends abroad, our latest post attempted to explain the reasons why! We have many backers from overseas who wanted to support us before our launch, and we wanted to give them an avenue to do so. As we said, we’ll be purchasing offset carbon credits, because we know that shipping overseas isn’t ideal.

This is most definitely a US-centric operation – we explored many fair trade options and ultimately decided that the best thing for the world as a whole was to attempt to reduce our impact by being a US-based company that serves a local market.

I’d definitely encourage you to check out our post about travel and sustainability, and we’re always here if you want to chat more! Hope this clears things up for you and thanks for sending over your thoughts!

Yamile Yemoonyah December 16, 2011 at 3:51 am

Hi Kristin,

thanks for the answer. I really appreciate the clarification!

Now I understand your decision a bit better and I guess I missed that note to international backers on the Kickstarter page in the first place. I’m still not sure to go local is the best solution but that’s of course your decision to make.

I’m a traveler myself and am therefore very concerned about how to help make planes and other transportation more sustainable. I’ve had many discussions with my dad about this who thinks we shouldn’t be flying at all. I on the other hand hope that by flying with airlines like Virgin America we can fund research that eventually leads to new and more sustainable technology: http://bit.ly/ukhpAG

Now I’m off to read your post about travel :-)

Benny December 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm

It’s been exciting to see what has happened to your Kickstarter project! Very happy for you both!

How did you come up with the name of your company, and especially the {r} in the world revolution. I think that’s really creative.

Thanks!

Kristin December 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

Thanks, Benny!

We were going over our logo options (self designed – this was over a year ago!) while laying on the carpet in Shannon’s room. We originally wanted to be, “All of Us Exchange” but realized that allofusexchange.com could be read “all – of – u – sex – change” and that wasn’t ideal.

So, revolution came to the forefront, and I think Shannon added the squiggley’s to indicate the revolution + evolution connection.

And that’s the story! {r}evolution apparel just seemed like the natural extension. Now if only we could figure out what the { }’s are called…

Stuart December 16, 2011 at 7:43 am

Hi Kristin & Shannon,

I’m highly impressed with both of your efforts here – you’ve ploughed ahead and realised your ambitions whilst ensuring that you saw the immense benefits of blogging. Well done to you both!

I must ask, what is the ultimate goal here? Is there a long-term target in place or is the goal (if there is one) more in line with your values or beliefs?

Thank you to you, and Corbett, for a wonderful interview!

Shannon December 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hi Stuart,

Thank you so much for all the nice things you had to say : )

As far as our goals go… we have lots of them! We’ve said all along that the objective is not to make millions — we would much rather make people think, spark conversations about consumption and bring awareness to how our purchases affect the rest of the world.

We hope to grow our business steadily and slowly, be able to support ourselves financially, and create jobs based on freedom, passion and purpose.

We also have some fun summer goals that we’ll be announcing soon, so stay tuned for that! : )

Thanks again!

marianney (darling blogs) December 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

What a great piece! My husband and I have a passion project we’ve been dreaming up for a while and while we know we need to start a blog about it, I never thought to use the blog and Kickstarter together.

Your story is inspirational and I wish you much success in the future!

Kristin December 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

Thanks so much Marianney – and best of luck to you guys, we’d love to hear more about your project!

Michael Richeson December 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

What a fantastic story! The example set by Kristin and Shannon is encouraging because my friend and I are working on a similar approach. We each have our own businesses that we’re trying to launch, and we’ve started a podcast where we talk about what we’re doing, why and how, and we include the failures as well as the successes. Sometimes we sit there and wonder if what we’re doing will ever matter, but Kristin and Shannon are great examples of what drive and authenticity can accomplish. Good luck with Revolution Apparel!

Michael Richeson

Shannon December 19, 2011 at 8:57 am

Thank you so much, Michael! Best of luck with your launch — drive and authenticity definitely do matter!

Justice Wordlaw IV December 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

This is a really nice story to tell and these two entrepreneurs are going to go far in their business the route that their going now. They were very smart to do as many post launch actions because a lot of people forget to do that. They focus more on the pre launch and then wonder why their numbers drop after the first three weeks.

The route their going now their going to have a really successful 2012 year. Congrats to both of them.

Shannon December 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

Really appreciate the kind words and encouragement, Justice. We’re definitely excited for 2012 and the things to come!

Emily December 19, 2011 at 9:05 am

Great ideas and inspiration! Thanks for sharing that interview. :)

Sheyi January 25, 2012 at 1:24 am

Shannon and Kristin, its great reading this interview and to see that you guys did well during pre launch and also at the launching phrase. It will also be good to continue blogging and giving the great free information to your readers too.

Broaden your horizon.

Kristin December 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

Yamile,

Yes, definite hopes for better solutions in the future : ) Baby steps! And, someone who’s inspired me in the past year in terms of sustainable travel: Nate Damm (whereisnate.com) who just finished an 8-month trek across the US. I also like Bekka Scott (bekkascott.com) who is traveling by bicycle. I’m hoping to do more “slow travel” like these guys in the near future!

I’ll have to look into Virgin America’s programs, too – let’s please stay in touch and let me know about these kinds of things! I’ll do the same!

Michael Richeson December 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

I just showed my girlfriend your Kickstarter video. She went crazy over the Versalette! Pretty sure she’ll one of your many customers.

Benny December 21, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the backstory! Allofusexchange.com might be a hot niche! :)

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