Kickstart Yourself

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Aug 14, 2013 | By Barrett Purdum

Ignore the skeptics; we’ve got some insider advice—there’s no better time in history to start a company.  That’s Taylor Stitch co-founder Barrett Purdum, who just launched a Kickstarter campaign for OLIVERS, a men's athletic brand (get in now before the perks sell out).

He walks us through the five stages of entrepreneurial success—how, in 60 days, you can go from idea to execution. It all starts here...

Let’s first outline the five steps to an effective Kickstarter campaign. Overview is important, then we’ll get to the details:

1.  Research

2.  Solve a Problem

3.  Create an Angle

4.  Launch and Funding

5.  Follow Through

The idea for OLIVERS started with a desire to create a men’s athletic brand that’s as much about design as being technically sound. It was a gap in men’s apparel, and we set out to fill it.

1. Research

When you dive into Kickstarter, you’re strapped to the jetpack and there’s no turning back. So start with some know-how before you take the plunge.

We researched successful Kickstarter campaigns in the our product category, took notes, and applied their best practices to our own. Learn from your neighbors, and endear yourself to the community.

2. Solve a Problem

We noticed a hole in performance apparel with a design sensibility. So, we set out to create an exceptional athletic short—a moisture wicking, durable short with a tailored fit and refined aesthetic.

At Outdoor Retailer, we met with 20-30 material suppliers to sample fabrics and components. Next, we went through multiple iterations of the short with our pattern maker, eventually landing on something distinct, and a product we could get behind.

3. Create an Angle

Your story’s as important as your product (trust us). So, we gathered a team of creatives to do product shots and craft an engaging message to the community. If you’re proud of what you’ve made, make sure you put the prettiest bow on it possible. Your product deserves it.

4. Launch and Funding

Kickstarter is a fascinating labyrinth, and it helps to have a roadmap. Here are our most helpful tips:

-  Set a realistic goal. Reaching your amount gets community and press attention, and it’s always better to surpass expectations than to not make your mark.

-  Hit your goal as fast as possible. This means building relationships, being active in your community and marketing—before you launch.

-  Be honest about delivery time. Kickstarter gets that it takes some time to execute the project, but don’t make promises you can’t keep.

5. Follow Through

Build something amazing—the hype is needed, but it’s the product that sells. Don’t be a disappointment. Your customers have not only believed in you, they’ve invested.

So make sure to execute your commitment with class. If done right, the end of your Kickstarter campaign should be the beginning of a long-term relationship with your customers.

Nice work. In two months, you’ve hatched an idea, built a product, launched a campaign, and funded a business. You’re now an entrepreneur—welcome to the club.

For more details on our project, check out OLIVERS on Kickstarter.

To be the first to get OLIVERS shorts, visit Kickstarter.

All images by Taylor Stitch.