In Defense Of Kickstarter...
In case you haven't seen today's Columbia Tribune, Jacob Barker has a great write-up about our Kickstarter endeavors in today's Street Talk column in the Business section. Here is the direct link: http://www.columbiatribune.com/business/saturday_business/peggy-jean-s-pies-looks-to-donations-to-re-open/article_6622f558-32df-11e3-8a2f-10604b9f6eda.html. I thought the piece did a great job of neatly summing up the shop's past and our plans for the future. My only wish is that the direct link to the Kickstarter campaign had been included, but because I lack all shame and am less objective than Jacob Barker, I'll post it for you here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1576929042/bring-back-peggy-jeans?ref=live. I'm helpful that way:) I hopped out of bed and read the article at 6:30 this morning while standing in our driveway, because while lacking shame, I also lack patience. I didn't happen to look at it online until mid-morning and was surprised to see we already had comments on the piece...and then I was totally shocked to find two comments that were negative about our Kickstarter approach. Personally (and I realize I'm biased), I think the Kickstarter component of our plausible return is one of the very best aspects of this endeavor! I've been a long-time proponent of Kickstarter and watched as it has helped fund some exceptionally creative and cool projects. We certainly aren't the first in Columbia to fund from Kickstarter...the artist Paul Jackson funded a Kickstarter project at 127% for $31,658 to create a book collection of his watercolor paintings. Nathan Fleischmann raised over $7,000 to create "Stadium Shoes" - a mobile shoe store than will open shortly in the Columbia area. A quick visit to the site will show hundreds of well-written, well-considered creative projects and it makes me very proud to see "Bring Back Peggy Jean's" among those.
Surprisingly both commenters lamented our lack of "business acumen" by not getting a proper bank loan and putting our "own skin" in the game. Suffice it to say, $10,000 will not fund opening a new bakery. We will have plenty of our own equity in this game, without even considering the physical labor and mental exhaustion that goes along with launching a new small business. Not getting a bank loan is an enormous positive for Peggy Jean's. We are not tied to bank oversight, interest rates, or a "payment due" date. And even if I wanted all those things, I can't even get a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan right now because who knows if that is an essential government employee kind of job, or if the SBA employees are furloughed until Congress and The White House can come to some sort of budget agreement. Now, am I saying that Peggy Jean's will NEVER get a business loan? Nope. I've learned to never say never about anything. Justin Bieber taught me that:) In all seriousness, who knows what our future will hold. I only know what works for us right now.
I loved that one of the supportive commenters appreciated our non-traditional approach to starting our business via Kickstarter. We are both creative individuals and we completely know that Peggy Jean's V. 2.0 is going to be awesome. I don't want to be in a box...if you stop by the shop and it is a total mess and one of us has a huge smudge of flour on our forehead, that is the reality of pie-making. If it comes down to we are standing on ladders and painting our own walls on November 18th while crying tears of exhaustion because we don't have the cash to pay a painter...well, that too is part of it and we accept that.
Part of the goal of this blog is to document this experience, all the good and all of the bad as well. We invited you to be a part of Kickstarter just like we invite you to be a part of our story in this space and will invite you to be a part of our success when you enjoy our pie. That sentiment isn't about business acumen or business plans or long-term strategies, it is about authenticity and transparency. What makes a small business work in America in 2013? I hope I find out and I hope I can share it here with our supporters.
Someone we don't know actually backed us with $500 today. It is a crazy amount of emotion when people you don't even know pledges to support you because they believe in your idea. It somehow makes the world seem smaller and large-scale success more obtainable. We've had backings of a dollar, of five, of ten and all the way up to today's $500 and every single one has warmed us and encouraged us in a way that you can't even imagine. I get a phone notification when there is a new pledge and that second between the notification and when the data about the pledge loads is an experience like no other. And regardless of whether it says $1 or $100, I feel so tremendously excited about what the future for Peggy Jean's holds. And I'm completely certain that I've never had that feeling while searching for my 2004 tax returns and my social security card for a bank loan application. Just saying.
So, one more time, I ask you to at least visit our Kickstarter campaign and consider backing us with a dollar or more. It is believing in us and it is believing in the idea that not all ideas start and end the same. Find it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1576929042/bring-back-peggy-jeans?ref=live.
In closing, we are now 31% funded and all of the credit goes to our backers. THANK YOU!