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Friday, March 30, 2012

Crowdfunding for fashion talk a big success

Ben Hamilton talking to Alison Lewy
Last night’s talk on crowdfunding with Ben Hamilton from PleaseFund.Us was a great success. Most of the audience weren't really aware of it, so he gave an overview of the concept and then gave us his tips on how to create a successful campaign.

This model of raising finance uses an online platform that allows you to ask friends, family and a wider community to pledge money to help you raise funding for a particular project for your business.

In return, depending on how much money is pledged, you offer a reward. You set a funding target and typically you would offer 5-6 levels that contributors can pledge eg £5, £10, £25, £50 and perhaps a tier for the whole amount required., in case you strike really lucky!  PleaseFund.Us has run campaigns ranging from £300 - £19,000.

Crowdfunding first started in the US around four years ago with a site called Kickstarter.com – they now run thousands of campaigns and raise millions every month. Currently there are around 35 UK based platforms including PleaseFund.Us which has over 40,000 followers.

Fashion labels Enya Patricia and Hatastic have run successful campaigns on the PleaseFund.Us site. Both brands wanted to raise funds to pay for stands at trade shows. As a result both labels had the opportunity to participant in something they wouldn’t have been able to finance without this external support.

Ben’s top tips for a successful campaign were:-

Create an interesting video – if you already have a  video of a show/exhibition,  you can use that, otherwise you should make one that will excite potential contributors. It shouldn’t be more than 2-3 minutes long.
Upload good product images that reflect your brand.
Include information about you and your business – people like to know who they are investing in.
Once you have set your funding target – be transparent and outline exactly what you want the money for and the associated costs.
Set a few different tiers offering different rewards to widen the appeal.
Think careful about the rewards you offer – remember your campaign may attract many small pledges so you have to be able to fulfil them rewards and if it costs you to much to produce them then it defeats the object.
Actively promote your campaign – it requires effort as you need to spread the word to as many of your connections as possible, they won’t come to you!

This method of raising money is set to grow quickly in 2012. For designers, and small businesses in general, I believe this method offers a genuine alternative to the traditional bank loan/overdraft route which has become very difficult to access.

If you have raised finance through crowdfunding I'd love to hear about it so please let me know.

For more information on how you can get involved feel free to email ben@pleasefund.us or go to PleaseFund.Us.

Author Alison Lewy

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Alison! Right now crowdfunding is a viable financing option for many startups, and it's picking up momentum in the fashion industry as well. We are working on a new kind of platform specifically targeted at independent fashion designers. Check it out and let us know what you think! http://luevo.com/


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