Kickstarter Tips & Advice

by | SLIMDESIGN | Last updated : Oct 6, 2020

For small start-ups and entrepreneurs bringing a product to market can be a daunting and complicated endeavor, however it doesn’t need to be.  SLIMDESIGN assists its clients big or small to bring their ideas to the consumer and the markets. Over the years, our team has helped bring dozens of products to market, and in the process we have learned and collected many insights, which we are more than willing to share with you. The ways in which we can potentially assist the development of your project include; design validation, design for mass production, engineering and mechanical solutions, design ideation and concept generation, prototyping, and more. Click here for more information about our design services.

We also have experience in the world of crowdfunding so we would be more than happy to share with you our experience on how to make your Kickstarter/Indiegogo project reach more people and increase your chances of getting funded. Our most recent example of a Kickstarter project that we helped bring to market is Circa, a smart, internet of things alarm clock. With our dedicated and experienced design team, we can quickly identify some of the potential product development problems that may arise further down the line and then work together on efficiency fixing them.

Going from a working prototype to mass production is a huge step, especially when it’s your first time doing so. Just one mistake in the design or manufacturing process can result in huge extra expenses not to mention increasing time to market. SLIMDESIGN aims to make this transition as smooth as possible thereby lowering costs, time spent, and of course decreasing the time that your customers have to wait for your product.

If you need advice, information or just a chat about how we can help you bring your product to market please get in touch!

Tips & Advice

1. Budget and Profit

If you want to do a complex hardware project, a covering development budget is needed. Kickstarter is a great platform to generate free publicity for a start-up and to attract funding from investors. Before you spend a lot of time and money on the campaign, It is worthwhile to make a cost and budget estimation to see if the figures add up (if you do not have the knowledge, ask an expert ? ):

  • Product
    • Bill of Materials (BOM) list (includes all components in the product)
    • Packaging, user manual, batteries, etc.
    • Production, assembly, quality and dropout costs
    • Transport and storage
  • Development
    • Time and salary of the designer, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer.
    • Prototyping
    • Testing procedures
    • Injection molding or stamping tooling
    • Certification
    • Travel
    • Facilities
  • Advertisement budget
  • Distribution to backer and client
  • Stock
  • Profit margin

We also wrote about How to develop and produce your electronic product, which has some additional advice also suitable for startups.

Mass produced products tend to generate profit after 10.000 being sold. This is why a lot of Kickstarter campaigns often need additional funding.

2. Kickstarter Campaign Preparation

The goal is to become trending (% reached in the first day(s))

  • Start collecting e-mails (500+) of people that might be interested.
  • Create a simple website with a sign-up option and start a small Facebook campaign.
  • Social advertisement and newsletters before and during the campaign (2K).
  • Use Uncrate, The Verge, and others.
  • Contact Kickstarter, they give support and might add you to their “project we love”.
  • Start low (early bird) and make small steps to give people an incentive so they do not wait to the end.
  • Chose a relatively low funding amount  (below 100K).
  • Launch on Thursday and check the best period.

3. Kickstarter Prototype and Video

  • The video is key. Make a nice one, make it personal and show the benefits.
  • Images and renders are not enough (there have been some problems in the past).
  • You can make a working prototype to show the function and a visual prototype to show how its appearance.
  • Show the design process and prototyping.
  • The campaign will be validated by Kickstarter.

4. Post-Kickstarter Campaign

There are two ways main ways to get it into production.
A: Select a production partner and ask them to help develop it.
B: Use an independent expert to help develop it and select the production partner when it is finished.
Option A can be cheaper in the beginning but the focus of a production partner is production. They are not eager to improve the product and lose interest when the forecast is not met. Another downside is that it creates a lock-in (you cannot leave) You do not get to know all the details and you end up with a lot of vague discussions about increased prices.

When we are asked to help, we create a project team that sticks with the project from start to finish. The team consists of a Product Designer, UX (if needed), Mechanical Engineer, and Electrical Engineer all working in conjunction. This way we can develop the project in an efficeint manner resulting in a reduction of time between concept and production. We advise our clients to own the tooling and create and test the first batch without a production partner. This way you are still flexible and save time because there is less communication needed. When the product is ready and validated the production price is lower because everything is clear.
If needed, we have expert partners that can help with the sourcing and production contract negotiations.

Interested in the ins and outs of crowdfunding projects? See top failures in successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns.