Until recently, my crowdfunding campaign was online at Startnext. The weeks of funding were accompanied by a feeling of insecurity and a fear that my project will turn out to be an absolute failure and nobody will like or support it.
The idea of doing crowdfunding at all was honestly born out of necessity. I started my label last year and since then have been building it, reading tons of "how to"- articles, watching YouTube videos, using the great trial and error method and looking for a manufacturer who fit my needs (biggest nightmare of all), admitting I had little to no idea where to start or what I am actually doing.
The year was full of disappointments, mistakes, financial losses, but I was also able to learn an incredible amount. Pulling up a label yourself without no clue is probably considered “stupid” or "naive" by most. I've questioned it myself more than once. As an autodidact, I figured I'd muddle through and learn from all the mistakes I make along the way. During that time, I learned how to design a webpage and code parts of it myself, improved my sewing skills, dealt with fabrics and their different compositions, read marketing books (at least I started them), read millions of articles on various topics, asked for help (which I'm absolutely not good at) and cried a lot and always tried not to let the pressure I put on myself affect my mental health too much. Spoiler alter: it did not go too well sometimes, well let´s say often.
The more time passed and the more I had the feeling that I was stuck with my label, I thought to myself, I would send my label to undergo it´s ordeal by fire and thus send it into the crowdfunding, to somehow get things moving again.
Preparing the campaign was already a lot of work. No matter where I had read about it, everyone agreed that it would take weeks to get the campaign off the ground. At first, I thought, nonsense, I'll do it faster (LOL). Nonsense, it also took me a few weeks of preparatory work before the pictures were shot, the video was shot, the texts were written and revised thousands of times (not that I have an issue with my perfectionism), and all the gifts were searched and prepared. Every day I questioned why I was doing this to myself, adding some extra stress, although I guess that was just the voice of my little inner critic telling me I can't do that, I am not good enough and he reminded me over and over again, that the campaign is never going to be “perfect” and if its not perfect it will not be successful.
On May 20th, 2022, before the start of the actual campaign, I took part in the so-called “Pitchday” at Startnext. There I pitched my Label, my vision and what to expect from baj. in future. After winning and getting some wonderful feedback (which I hoped but never thought) I felt like my campaign was actually ready to go public against any inner voice.
On June 3rd, 2022 the time had come. In the beginning it went quite well, quickly some money came together (guess what, my friends are my greatest supporters), and I also benefited from the pitch day price of 1000 Euros. Then there was stagnation. I did press refresh on the campaign couple of times a day hoping it will change anything and I will get closer to my goal. I was so stressed and anxious, wrote thousands of people about the campaign, uploaded a text on PR pages, jumped over my own shadow and reminded people to support me over and over again, tried to use all these “social media hacks” I was reading about (another spoiler alert: not so successful though). Well, as time passed and the campaign got closer to the end, somehow money started to flowing in and a week before the actual end of the campaign I reached my funding goal. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, somehow proud, but also very empty. It was a classic reminder that after a lot of pressure and work rarely comes pure joy.
In summary though, I can say it was a great experience. It was a great test run to see if a brand/product was somehow popular, it was good for getting more reach and the best thing was overcoming your own fears and worries and growing from them. But it was also an important reminder, to not forget my mental health and taking breaks in a period of stress.