Chipping in for creators
LAKE GENEVA — After she and her husband plowed a chunk of their own money into a greenhouse on Tiny Tempest Farm, their five-acre Lake Geneva property that included vegetable gardens, goats and a flock of chickens, Sheri Doyel remembered feeling they'd “bitten off more than we could fund.”
Their savings waning, the couple still needed to get potting supplies, plus items like a used van or trailer, a tent, tables and a banner, all for planned farmers market sales for their produce.
Doyel heard about Kickstarter — an online program that asks for collaborative public funding for creative projects — from a musician friend who'd used it to raise money to create a CD.
Initially, Doyel wasn't sure the platform was appropriate for her venture, but while researching the website, she found other farmers around the country using it for projects ranging from special storage areas to a commercial kitchen for making jams.
As a farmer, Doyel was more used to traditional financing, such as bank loans. She was a little uncomfortable about “putting yourself out there” in making a public appeal for money, but she and her husband, Blair Thomas, gave Kickstarter a try.
In 28 days during the spring of 2012, the couple raised $6,382 in pledges for their project, well exceeding their goal of $4,800.
“It was nerve-wracking for about a month. You become a bit obsessive at first, constantly checking into your site to see how you're doing,” Doyel said.
The New York-based Kickstarter got its start in 2009 to help fund creative projects ranging from art films and books to role-playing games and technological devices.
It is a crowdfunding platform, meaning creators like Doyel set a financial goal and make an online appeal to potential backers, describing a project and asking for funds to make it happen.
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