We’ve all heard the great garage start-up stories – the awe-inspiring tales of entrepreneurial derring-do that leave many of us inspired and even a little envious. But it’s worth noting that most of these stories are about men’s start-ups, not women’s, and that the very system that acts as the gateway to choosing and funding the Next Big Thing, can stop a lot of great ideas (like comfortable shoes for women), dead in their tracks. That’s why Kickstarter is so important to women-owned businesses like mine and why I’ll be launching a campaign in October on this platform to raise money for our awesomazng O.M.G. women’s street shoe that you see here.
Kickstarter, the best-known of the online crowd-funding communities, helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. It has democratized new-venture finance by turning the funding controls over to the crowd (you). It has leveled the playing field for new ideas – creating a space where women like me can raise money for the new products, like our comfortable OMG shoes, that traditional financial institutions won’t touch. It’s going to allow me to show you why O.M.G. is something you’re going to want (you are), explain how I’m going to produce and deliver it to you, and persuade you to come on board to support it with a pledge. You and I are going to enter into a direct dialogue about this product’s merits and you will decide if it should see the light of day, not some banker, who can’t begin to comprehend the relationship between a woman and her shoes – and her desperate desire for comfortable footwear.
Although a higher percentage of backers on Kickstarter are men, women’s projects have demonstrated a higher likelihood of meeting their funding goals. Thirteen percent higher. Especially when women are designing for women. As consumers, women make 85% of the purchasing decisions in most households, but control a tiny fraction of the products they buy. Which brings me to my next story, the stuff of entrepreneurial legend – one that features a very determined woman.
In 1998, alternative funding sources like Kickstarter didn’t exist for women like Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and had it not been for the $5,000 in savings she’d squirreled away and later used to develop her product, there’d be a lot of unsightly panty lines in the land today. It’s called self-funding and is what women like Sara and me do all the time, when the ideas we develop don’t excite the folks that hold the purse strings.
It’s no cliché that good ideas often go unrecognized. It’s why billion-dollar ideas like Spanx get missed and why crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter are vitally important to women entrepreneurs who are designing products for women.
Becoming a member of the Kickstarter community is a way for you to support the creative process – to pledge financial support to someone who’s designing comfortable shoes for the way you work and play. There’s a special place in heaven for women who support other women and I’m going to ask for your help when the campaign begins. You’ll get a newsletter from me just before the launch, with simple instructions for pledging. It can be as little as $1 or as much as you want. (I won’t say no.) The important thing is to show the world what woman-power looks like when we band together, support innovation, and kick some serious ass doing it.
PLEASE COME AND PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT!