Podcast Ep. 12: The 3 Essentials of a Successful Fashion Crowdfunding Campaign

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One of my favorite ways for fashion startups to launch is by pre-selling. This means you’re selling your product before you create any inventory. It also means your customers are paying for the product upfront so you have money in the bank to pay for production. One of the most popular pre-selling platforms for fashion brands is Kickstarter. And it’s the 3 Must-Do’s for a successful Kickstarter campaign that we’re talking about today.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Pre-Sales Goal Calculator


One of my favorite ways for fashion startups to launch is by pre-selling. This means you’re selling your product before you create any inventory. It also means your customers are paying for the product upfront so you have money in the bank to pay for production. One of the most popular pre-selling platforms for fashion brands is Kickstarter. And it’s the 3 Must-Do’s for a successful Kickstarter campaign that we’re talking about today.

Okay, so what makes pre-selling on Kickstarter successful for fashion startups? It starts with the 3 V’s: Value, Visuals and Visibility. And in this episode, I’m going to go through each of these in much more detail. Let’s start with Value.


Remember that a Kickstarter campaign isn’t based on “charity” or donation. 

In many cases, the only reason a backer is giving you their money is because they want the product you’re offering.

The number one thing to remember when figuring out your rewards system is: value.

Your rewards are centered around your project — so from the $5 level to the $5,000 level, they need to relate to your product at large. 

This is how Kickstarter defines a reward: “Every project’s primary rewards should be things made by the project itself. If the project is to record a new album, then rewards should include a copy of the CD when it’s finished.”

From here, the rewards are divided up into levels by monetary value. You can set these tiers as far apart or as close together as you want — $5 intervals, $20, $100, etc. Whatever you think makes sense for your project. 

If for one of your lower reward tiers, you want to offer someone else’s product, you can do that. But you must make sure it’s branded so that it’s unique to your project. 

For example, I had a past Factory45’er who offered Moleskine notebooks as one of her lower-level rewards. When she went to upload the image onto her profile page in the rewards section, she accidentally used the image that didn’t have her logo photoshopped onto the notebooks. 

It looked like she was offering generic Moleskine notebooks and it cost her the chance at being featured as the Kickstarter Staff’s “Projects We Love.” It also violated their guidelines, but they went easy on her. Don’t make this mistake! It could cost you from getting approved or getting your campaign taken down. 

This is your chance to use strategy and sales to make the most enticing offer for your project as possible. 

It’s imperative to add the personality of your brand into the descriptions of your rewards and to accurately convey their value. Capitalize the first letters in your sentences, use proper grammar, and again, don’t ignore spell-check!

A note on price-points: The monetary amount of your rewards should be competitive with a similar product available for retail in a store. You can raise it by a few dollars, because it’s Kickstarter and people want to support you, but not by much more than that!

So, if you have a t-shirt as a reward, it needs to be priced similarly to a t-shirt someone could find in a store. A $60 t-shirt will just look like charity, so don’t forget that first rule about value.

How many rewards should you have?

Less is more and I would encourage you to simplify your reward levels as much as possible. People can get overwhelmed when they have too many options and you don’t want to put them into decision paralysis because they can’t decide which level to back you at.

That said, you do want to have a nice range of rewards so that people who would only back you for say, $20 at most, have the option to do so. 

Pricing your rewards correctly

The pricing of your rewards should be entirely based on your cost of producing each product. You want to make sure there is at least 2-3x in the markup between your cost and what your reward price is. Your campaign is funding your production run, so you need to make sure you allow plenty of margin to make the campaign worthwhile.

At this point, people are pretty familiar with Kickstarter. Potential customers who come to your page to back your project are probably going to expect a discount from retail price as a perk for being an original supporter. Determine your retail price and set your rewards at about 15% off. Make sure that this discount is very clear in your rewards section as another incentive to back your project rather than wait until your shop is open for business. 

We actually have an awesome free resource called the Pre-Sales Goal Calculator that will help you determine your Kickstarter goal and the rewards. I’ll link to that freebie in the description below so if you’re considering a pre-sales campaign make sure to grab it – it will be really helpful in setting your goal amount.

Okay, so the second Must Do for a successful Kickstarter campaign is 


Kickstarter doesn’t require a video, but I strongly recommend it. The success rate is 50% versus 30% between projects that have a video and don’t.

The video should not be taken lightly. It is essentially the first impression of your project, and you have eight seconds to pull a backer in.

I started writing the script for our {r}evolution apparel Kickstarter video nine months before launch. We had an overall vision of what we wanted it to look like, as well as the feel, story and message.

We researched small production companies in each of our cities (Austin and Denver) and shopped around for estimates. In the end, we made the mistake of hiring the company with the lowest price tag.

Don’t make our mistake. Your video is worth the investment. This cheap decision resulted in us having to “fire” them after rounds of edits that went nowhere, and we lost our 50% deposit.

Start looking at other Kickstarter (and non-Kickstarter) videos you like and use them as examples when pitching your project to production teams.

Write a script. You’re the only person who knows what you want to say to your audience and how to most effectively say it. Be open to edits and tweaks.

Start gathering footage or be prepared to shoot footage. If you’re getting in front of the camera, then make sure you practice.

Your video should be emotional, snappy and engaging — with high-quality footage. It should clearly identify the following:

  • Who you are
  • The story behind your project
  • What you’re pre-selling
  • What they’ll get out of backing your project
  • (with a “thank you” and CTA at the end!)

Remember, don’t use the word donate!

You have a lot to offer: personality, a unique voice, and a radical idea or project. In the first eight seconds, the viewer needs to fall in love with one of those things. They need to connect in some way, and that means you’ll have to really think outside the box to create a great video. Here are some tips:

The second part of your visuals is your project page, which is essentially the face of your campaign. 

When a potential backer views your page they’re immediately wanting to know two things right away.

1.) Who your project is for.

2.) What you’re pre-selling.

I suggest this general outline for the content on your project page:

          Teaser page 

Before you launch your Kickstarter campaign, you will put up a teaser page. A teaser page will have your company name, project title and description, and your featured picture with a coming soon banner. People have the opportunity to click ‘notify me on launch’ to follow your campaign before it begins. 

Upcoming projects can receive ‘Projects We Love’ status before they even launch. 

          1.) Introduction

Explain who you are, what your project is, and your general mission. Go on to explain why it’s important why someone would need it, and what problem you’re solving. 

          2.) Contribution

If fully-funded, where will the money go, in other words, why is this money needed? How will you achieve your goal?

          3.) Rewards

What are you pre-selling? This is the time to specifically outline the rewards system with detailed descriptions and images. As the rewards get higher, the descriptions should get more detailed.

          4.) Your Mission

This is your chance for the “big sell.” If your rewards didn’t convince them, then this is your last chance to get them on board. Tug at the heartstrings. Get passionate. Explain why your project matters. Ask yourself what people may wonder about your project and take the opportunity to answer those questions.

          5.) Share

Now that you’ve got a backer on board, don’t forget to give them an opportunity to share your project. Link to your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook page, Pinterest boards, etc. Make it easy for them to share by providing the exact text you want them to copy and paste.

          6.) A Note to International Backers

If you don’t factor shipping into your rewards, make sure to tell international backers to add overseas shipping costs. Go to the USPS website, estimate the weight of your rewards, and ask backers to make an additional pledge to cover the cost of shipping. Don’t forget about this or you’re going to be really sad when the time for shipping comes around!

Tip: Feel free to make your profile page as photo, GIF or video heavy as possible. It’s imperative to have photos of your rewards — even a digital mock-up will work. And of course, make sure you get someone to proofread (no spelling mistakes or grammar errors!).



And now, onto the fun part. Go ahead and kiss all other productivity goodbye, because your crowdfunding campaign now owns you until it ends 30 days from now.

Your day-to-day existence is run by your campaign. In the next month, you will eat, sleep and breathe your project (do I sound like a drill sergeant?). You’ll talk about it in line at the grocery store. Over beers with friends. In yoga class. And anywhere and everywhere online.

A tip: I recommend printing out business cards with the name of your Kickstarter campaign and the link to your project page. It’s also smart to include the username or link to your most-used social media channel. When you talk to people about your campaign, in person, you can hand them a card with the URL instead of counting on them to remember it.

Talking about your project face-to-face is relatively straightforward. Talking about it online is a whole different beast.

Here’s what you need to remember about online marketing: Generally, It’s not until you think you’re annoying people that anyone is even starting to listen. I see people make this mistake all of the time. They’re so afraid of annoying people that they limit their emails to once a week — during a launch! — when most brands would be emailing their list 1-2 times per day. 

The time during your crowdfunding campaign is not a time to hold back. If someone unsubscribes from your list, then they were never going to buy anyway. Here’s how to promote your project on a variety of different platforms… 

Social media:

Choose the social media platforms where you’re most engaged and have built up the biggest following over the past months / years. Plan to post at least 1-2 times per day and change up the format.

Try Stories, try regular posts, try polls, try video, try live streaming — by the time you launch, you should have a pretty good idea of what your audience likes to see and what they don’t tend to engage with. Now is the time to try it all and then double down on what’s working the best without getting stagnant.

Guest Content & Interviews:

This is the best way to promote your project — by getting other people to promote it. From the email you send out to business contacts, you should receive some interest from writers, influencers, entrepreneurs or complementary brands wanting to share your story.

No guest opportunity is too small. If Sandy Sue wants to interview you for her blog of four followers, then you respond with, “I’d love to! Thank you SO much!” It only takes one reader (maybe Sandy Sue’s mom) to become your backer…

Also, don’t wait for them to come to you. There’s a lot of information circling around in cyberspace. Offer to write a guest post so they don’t have to come up with interview questions. Put yourself out there, build relationships, and continue giving value.

A tip: If you anticipate getting a lot of media coverage in advance, it’s smart to put together a press kit of high-resolution photos. Use a service like DropBox or Google Drive and upload a file of photos. Then just include the link to the folder when you need to share photos for posts and interviews.

Your Blog:

If you started a blog in your pre-launch prep, this is another opportunity to keep your project in the forefront. Share updates with your readers, be transparent, and make them feel a part of your journey.

Don’t only write about your crowdfunding campaign. Continue to provide information, insight and original opinions as you’ve done all along. Again, giving value to the people within your niche.

People may want to read about how your campaign is going, but they probably won’t be inclined to share it. If you write a compelling essay on why your project is crucial for a better world or a more awesome lifestyle, people will latch on and spread the word. Remember: connection is king.

Always include a CTA linking out to your campaign! 

Using the Backer Updates:

Kickstarter provides “Backer Updates” so you can email people who have already pledged to your project. In other words, you have a front row seat in the inbox of your #1 supporters.

Keep these people informed and updated, but don’t spam or overwhelm them. Once per week is a good time-frame for sending out short notes of thanks with a brief progress report. They already believe in you, so make it a no-brainer for them to forward your project update to a friend. Thus resulting in… another backer!

Get Creative & Get Noticed:

All of these avenues of “spreading the word” (from social media to guest posting to updates) have infinite potential. Your Kickstarter campaign is a time to be different, showcase your value, and give people something they’ve never seen before. Following the run-of-the-mill updates aren’t going to get you noticed. 

Doing something crazy, unique, and value-adding will create buzz and increase your shares and re-tweets exponentially.

Okay, so my big announcement – on March 14th I’m hosting a free four-day workshop that will teach you the essential building blocks of starting a sustainable fashion brand in 2022. But here’s the thing, this year I’m hosting it as a private, invite-only event for a select group of people who are serious about starting their brands this year. The good news is, if that sounds like you, you can request an invite by going to the link in the description below. So make sure to check that out, see if it looks like something that could help you take action this year and request your invite to join me from March 14th to 17th!