Nathan Coleman: We reached out to different elephant organizations, one of which was the African Wildlife Foundation. We wanted to find a way to help these elephants. I don’t think they thought we could do much about it.
When we sent them a check for $1,500, that’s when we they realized we were serious. Our core product is the harem pants. They sell it all over Southeast Asia and Asia in general. We brought a whole bunch of pairs back for friends and family and everybody loved them.
Sramana Mitra: What are these?
Nathan Coleman: They’re called harem pants. They’re baggy and have pockets on the outside. That’s our core product. That’s what we started with. We started with six different colors and that was it. That product is from Thailand. Everybody loved it but we could’t buy any more. We looked at Alibaba and went back to look for suppliers and got samples.
We ended up bringing in a handful of products to do the Kickstarter. We ran a Kickstarter starting in September 15, 2014. We ran it for 30 days. We set a low target. We had already invested in the inventory. We just wanted to prove out the concept a little bit more. That was our validation. We overfunded it by a couple of grand. We ended up raising $8,000. It was great to prove that there was an existing demand.
Sramana Mitra: I have a few questions on this Kickstarter campaign. First and foremost, how did you market the Kickstarter campaign?
At this point, it’s known that you have to bring your own lists and market to your own list. The Kickstarter community also gives you some lists. What did you do to seed your list?
Nathan Coleman: That was a great learning experience for us because we went into it thinking we’re just going to start a Kickstarter and everybody will see it automatically. We hustled. We didn’t run any display ads but we just did that organic social grind all day everyday.
We had a couple of interns come and help us to try and create that authentic connection with customers. There was a lot of community engagement. We made a video for Kickstarter. It was funny. It was a trailer for a movie – very dramatic and silly. It was a lot of fun.
Sramana Mitra: What was the denomination at which people contributed and how many people contributed? I assume you were promising them a product, right?
Nathan Coleman: Yes. We set it up at a couple of bucks. That was just a poster or a thank you. The rest of it was products. We were selling the product. They could get one pair, three pairs, or six pairs. We had six total SKU’s that we started with. We sold them in packages and gave them different names. We name everything after an elephant out there somewhere. Usually, it’s something that highlights the mission.