This is an interview with Factory45’er Whitney Sokol about the launch of her brand SproutFit. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Whitney is raising money for the production run of her first collection. (She’s already reached her goal but is still taking pre-orders!)
Please give us a brief overview of your brand and the pieces you’re pre-selling.
Hey there! I’m Whitney, the working mom behind SproutFit. And as a mom, I can tell you one thing for sure: babies outgrow clothes fast! Every parent experiences those pangs of guilt from wasting time and money buying and replacing adorable clothes (that may, or may not, ever be worn!). This simple fact inspired me to create a smarter approach to clothing babies.
SproutFit is a size-adjustable, eco-friendly collection of better baby basics — thoughtfully designed with growth spurts in mind, and responsibly cut-and-sewn in America.
Sustainable in both design and fabric composition, our bodysuits and reversible leggings fit up to a year through growth spurts – 4x longer than most baby clothing brands! These pieces come in two simple sizes: 0-12 months and 12-24 months. Gone are the days of sifting through baby’s closet trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t, mourning the adorable outfit that never got worn! Also included in the flagship collection is our stylish, functional bandana bib in one-size-fits-all through 24 months, and our essential blanket that works overtime as a swaddle, car seat cover or nursing cover.
Bodysuits, leggings and essential blankets are made from 100% bamboo jersey knit, and the bandana bibs use the same bamboo fabric on the front, with a super-absorbent and anti-microbial recycled polyester fabric on the back.
Why did you choose to launch your brand through Kickstarter?
While sustainable fashion has made incredible strides in educating the general public the past 7+ years, being a startup fighting for mindshare proves difficult on a national scale! But, that’s where Kickstarter was a perfect fit. Committed to lifting up the creative entrepreneur, this platform has been a jump off point for countless sustainable brands. There was no question in my mind that SproutFit would have the best chance for success by utilizing Kickstarter.
What was the most challenging aspect of creating your campaign?
I started building my Kickstarter page in October 2016, about 2 months before my F45 class ended. From October to December, December to January, and even from January to mid-February, the scope of my campaign changed as I adapted to the challenges that came with developing the collection. So, my biggest challenge was staying true to my core message, while discerning what I could be flexible on.
You’ve done months of prep. What helped you keep up your momentum and motivation?
Factory45 taught me to talk about the campaign well before it launched, and that worked out to be a self-perpetuating motivator! Getting constant emails from moms asking when the collection is launching, and if they could be brand ambassadors with “prototypes, I don’t care, I just want to be the first to rep this brand!” were exciting moments pre-Kickstarter that helped keep me motivated.
Can you give us a little insight into your campaign strategy? What has been working and what hasn’t worked as well?
Building rapport with bloggers/influencers prior to Kickstarter has been great from a credibility and reach standpoint. I’m also glad I took the time to create social media content to align with when interviews, spotlights, and guest blog post were set to go live. I’ve learned that it’s much better to be over prepared and pull back when you need to adjust, versus reacting to every little bump in the road.
I’ve been experimenting with giveaways, so from an ROI standpoint, it’s hard to quantify those right now. But it’s been a blast to tinker with Facebook ads, Google Analytics and the Kickstarter analytics page to see what moves the needle.
What do you do when self-doubt starts to creep up?
Having a supportive tribe early on was key for me. I don’t have a fashion or design background, so my F45 class has been an immeasurable source of support. Beyond support, having the tools to build myself back up when need be has also been crucial. Early on in my corporate career, I built a folder that I store personal and professional “wins” in. Some wins are huge, some are microscopic. Now, that folder is an evolving reminder of where I’ve been and how I’m making a positive impact in my own life, or someone else’s. I’ve even taken screen shots of texts and sent them to that folder! It may seem a little cheesy, but I’m telling you, it comes in handy when you need to read something positive and re-set.
What’s your favorite reward being offered in your campaign?
I love the Mini-Capsule Collection. Just 8 pieces can create 60 unique outfits, truly bringing to life a less-is-more approach for that time in life that desperately needs simplification. Parenthood is taxing enough without sitting in a closet sifting through baby’s clothes kicking yourself for buying too much in one size and not enough in another.
If you had one piece advice for someone considering launching a Kickstarter, what would it be?
Don’t take the planning part lightly! Bounce 10 versions off a trusted group of people in your target market before hitting that submit button.