Jewelry Designer Makes Magic On Etsy

The Moon Lab’s Laser Cut Creations Combine Science + Pop With A Side Of Quirk

the-moon-lab-stainless-steel-jewelry

What happens when spirituality, science and pop culture combine forces in the universe? A little magic is made.

The Moon Lab is a unique Etsy shop with a style and flair all its own. “When starting with jewelry design, my challenge (and also my desire) was trying to create pieces that I personally had always wanted; things that don’t exist; things you can’t find anywhere,” founder Aeryn explains.

And she has succeeded at creating a collection of stainless steel pieces that have become her signature style. What’s interesting: Stainless steel wasn’t her first material of choice.

“When considering what type of material to use, I first thought about using colored acrylics,” she says. “I did some searching online, and that’s when I came across Ponoko and saw the laser cut acrylics, wood and also stainless steel. There are a lot of people selling acrylic necklaces, but I hadn’t seen the type of things I had in mind done in stainless steel.”

Aeryn thought it seemed like a great idea, so she chose stainless steel for her designs. “My first run of stainless steel pieces from Ponoko came out so wonderfully that I kept submitting designs and ordering more,” she says. “The look and thickness of the stainless steel is absolutely perfect for my products. They came out beautifully and very unique.”

An Eclectic, Artistic Mix

A graphic artist living in Burbank, California, Aeryn says her Etsy shop has an eclectic mix of themes unified by consistent design aesthetic. The inventory rotates because the things she loves varies so much, but right now the collection features a little bit of spirituality, science, old school gaming, movies and anime.

You can see her spiritual side in the Flower Of Life (left) and the Hamsa (right) necklaces.

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The Flower Of Life is a geometrical shape composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles arranged in a flower like pattern with six fold symmetry like a hexagon. According to Token Rock, the perfect form, proportion and harmony of the FOL has been known to philosophers, architects and artist around the world.

In New Age thought, the Flower Of Life has provided what is considered to be deep spiritual meaning and forms of enlightenment to those who have studied it as sacred geometry. “The patterns recurring in nature depict space and time,” Aeryn explains. “It’s a template from which all life flows.”

The Hamsa—a symbol of an eye embedded in the palm of an open hand—has been variously interpreted by scholars as a Jewish, Christian or Islamic amulet, according to My Jewish Learning, and its magical form continues to be shrouded in mystery.

While scholars debate nearly every aspect of the Hamsa’s emergence, it is recognized today as a kabbalistic amulet and as an important symbol in Jewish art. “The Hamsa is known to protect against the evil eye,” Aeryn explains. “A powerful amulet indeed!”

Inspired By Science

Science is another theme Aeryn explores, and there’s no shortage of inspiration. She recently added three new pieces to the collection to pay tribute to the works of Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Carl Sagan.

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What attracted Aeryn to these scientific greats? “Einstein is one of the greatest minds of our time. Tesla, the inventor of free energy, is a man ahead of his time. And Sagan will take you on a trip through the cosmos,” she says. “I was tired of seeing names like ‘Jessica’ on these necklaces, so I switched it up with something a hell of a lot cooler!”

She has also tapped into some scientific symbols that serious mathematicians, chemists and fans of The Big Bang Theory will fall in love with.

the-moon-lab-science-symbols

Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, seems a simple enough concept. But as Live Science explains, it turns out to be an “irrational number,” meaning its exact value is inherently unknowable.

“Computer scientists have calculated billions of digits of pi, starting with 3.14159265358979323…, but because no recognizable pattern emerges in the succession of its digits, we could continue calculating the next digit, and the next, and the next, for millennia, and we’d still have no idea which digit might emerge next. The digits of pi continue their senseless procession all the way to infinity.”

Wearing 3.14 around your neck sounds like the ultimate expression of number love. For even more fun, Aeryn says to make sure you wear the necklace on March 14th while eating pie. Or wear it backwards because, coincidentally, it spells PIE!

If that doesn’t make you smile, then perhaps you need more serotonin—the molecule associated with making you feel good—in your life. If you’re feeling a little down, this necklace (middle) that details the molecular structure of serotonin will certainly cheer you up.

Alchemy, the precursor to today’s chemistry, is a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy that aims to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life. Perhaps wearing this necklace (right) will begin the process of transforming something common into something special.

Fantastic Pieces For Entertainment Fans

The worlds of gaming and anime are full of characters that are ideal for being turned into jewelry pieces for fans, and Aeryn has tapped into this appeal to add a whimsical element to her collection.

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For the retro game lover, the Lakitu Cloud (left) pays tribute to Super Mario Brothers. “This is the special item you always saved for World 8!” Areyn says. “Gotta get past those pesky air ships, and this little cloud made it possible.”

For Final Fantasy fans, the Cait Sith (middle)—everyone’s favorite moogle-riding, crown wearing cat—is a must-have accessory.

Kodama—spirits in Japanese folklore that inhabit trees—are “the cutest characters from Princess Mononoke,” according to Aeryn. They are signs that a forest is healthy, so wear it in good health.

A Childhood Dream Comes To Life

Aeryn has created a lot of original designs as well as ones inspired by movies or TV shows she loves. But her favorite piece is something she has wanted ever since she was a little girl: A necklace inspired by the film The Secret of NIMH.

the-moon-lab-secret-of-nimh-necklace

“It’s this amazing red medallion with an inscription on the back,” she says. “I had to hunt around for the perfect cabochon to use for the red stone, and when I finally finished the piece it really felt like an accomplishment to me.”

Magic In The Making

Aeryn says she wanted to create unique items with a touch of magic, so she started her Etsy shop to share that magic with everyone. “I feel a connection to the moon and stars, basically just the heavens at night, and I wanted the shop name to reflect that,” she explains. “I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember. I’ve always loved the ability to just create something I want to own whether it’s a shirt, a plush toy, a drawing or a necklace. To be able to craft and create things brings me joy, and I’m grateful for this gift I was given.”

What can we expect from The Moon Lab in the future? “My shop will always be an eclectic mix, because the things I love vary so much,” Aeryn says. “But right now, a little bit of science, a little bit of quirk, a little bit of pop culture, and a little bit of magic is what you’ll find at The Moon Lab!”

 

Material Feature: Laser Cut Cardboard

Five Reasons Why The Cheapest Material Is Often The Best

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Have you ever stopped to wonder where we would be without cardboard? For designers and makers using the Ponoko Personal Factory, cardboard is a miracle material that is not only one of the most versatile in terms of its physical properties; it is also one of the most cost-effective ways to turn ideas into laser cut reality.

Here are five reasons why we think laser cut cardboard is really, really cool.

1. Material Choice: The Cardboard Range

The versatility of cardboard owes much to its actual construction, and to make the most of these physical properties it helps to choose the right cardboard for the job. The range on offer from Ponoko varies from 6.7mm double-layer corrugated cardboard for serious structural applications through to single layer natural cardboard that is just 0.5mm thick. So whether your project involves stacked layers, slotted construction, curves, bends or folds… chances are there is something in the Ponoko Materials Library that will be just what you are looking for.

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2. Disposable or Distinguished: Cheap Enough For Prototypes, Slick Enough For Art Objects

Laser cut cardboard can be used as a low-cost prototype option before moving to more expensive materials, or as many designers choose to do, the distinctive visual qualities of cardboard can be openly embraced as features of the final product.

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3. Design Flexibility: 2D or 3D

Designing for laser cut cardboard can be as easy as sketching out a shape or pattern to be cut as a simple 2d object. Or if you prefer, complex 3D forms can be created using slotted construction, tabs and folds, and even stacking layers to create the form through progressive topographical variation.

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4. Low Price: Material Cost and Laser Cutting Time

We keep going on about it, and for good reason. Cardboard is cheap, in the best possible way. As a raw material, it has a low cost price thanks to the huge amounts that are used in the packaging industry across the globe. Cardboard is lightweight, which makes it faster and more economical to ship. When it comes to laser cutting, the unique internal structure of corrugated cardboard means it is fast to cut – and that makes cardboard one of the lowest priced of all the materials in terms of laser cutting time.

cardboard-laser-cut-rocket

5. Brownie Points: Recycled and Recyclable

A lot of people feel good when they use cardboard products. Not only is there a high proportion of recycled content in the cardboard itself, there are systems in place in most urban centers for cardboard recycling that make it one of the easiest materials to reuse, once your own needs for the cardboard product have concluded. So whether it’s the warm fuzzy feeling you get personally or if you’re setting an example for others with a bold ‘eco’ statement, cardboard gives your design a certain credibility that is instantly recognised across the globe.

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Cardboard deserves its reputation amongst the most popular materials for laser cutting, being well suited to both laser cutting and laser etching. Thanks to the versatility of cardboard in terms of price, appearance and structural properties, we continue to see designers find new and exciting ways to explore their creativity.

What will you make using cardboard for your next laser cut project? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credits (in order of appearance) 
3D Skull, Cardboard Safari; Cardboard, Ponoko Materials; Lady in Fur laser etched cardboard art; Airplane Costume, Aidan Chopra; Thumbs Up, UMBC Prototyping and Design; Laser Cut Rocket, Ponoko; Laser Cut Bin, Ponoko Line Optimisation Guide.

Successful Seller Spotlight: Laser Cut Baking Products

Etsy Sellers Baking Up A Laser Cut Storm

laser cut baking etsy humbleelephant dino rolller

Food cooked with love has a certain magic to it, and one way that keeps the glow in the heart of the kitchen is when chefs have a collection of baking products they love to use. Laser cutting and laser etching open up an exciting world of customized, personal, fun and quirky kitchen related products. Let’s take a look at a few laser cut baking product highlights from successful Etsy stores.

Pictured above is a dino-themed laser etched rolling pin from Humble Elephant. For those baking cookies with a more sophisticated crowd in mind, there is the ornately decorated rolling pin (below, left), one of many variations on this theme from Algis Crafts. Laser cut stencils are another great way to add personality to baked goods, as we can see with the laser cut acrylic Pan stencil (below, right) from the aptly named Laser Stencils. These can be used to dust icing sugar or cocoa onto cookies, and they also make great additions to the barrista’s kitchen toolkit.

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When baking cupcakes, muffins and sweet doughy treats it can be fun to further accessorise and decorate before serving to your guests. Laser cut text from Just Lovett Design makes the cupcakes even more enticing (below, bottom-left) and another approach to little signs from Marked Moments (below, top-left) uses laser etched wood toppers, which look great as a collection across the table. Try for a hint of romance with the hot pink cupcake toppers by Funky Laser (below, center) or send kids on a prehistoric sugar high with dino doughnut toppers from Creative Muster (below, right).

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Cupcakes patties and wrappers are also well suited to laser cutting… and the best thing is that they can be made from paper or thin card, which means they are super-cheap to produce. Featured below we have a Princess crown from Liv Desi, and an elegant lace wrapper that is quite at home amongst the fine china from Mystique Weddings. A more modern version with a botanical theme comes next from Gift Paper, and a spider’s web wrapper that would be a hit on Halloween is one of many fun ideas from Miniature Sweet.

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One thing all bakers know is that cupcakes don’t come in ones or twos; when you’re baking, you’d better bake by the dozen to make sure no-one misses out. Laser cut acrylic cupcake stands are an effective way to display cakes at events, in stores, at a market stall or even just at home on the kitchen counter.

The versatility that laser cutting provides means you can get quite creative without compromising on structural integrity, as we can see in the examples below. On the left, the multi-level pink acrylic stand from Hot Spot Tooling LTD boasts four levels of display space. Similar in size but this time using clear acrylic, the fully loaded multi-tier stand from North American Shop lets the colors of the cakes do the talking. Forms can also easily be produced from 2D laser cut materials that draw inspiration from traditional furniture, such as the Simply Stunning Event laser cut acrylic cake stand (below, right).

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Cooking utensils, particularly those made from bamboo and engineered ply, are well suited to laser cutting and the addition of laser etched details. This is an opportunity to show a little personality and humor, as we can see with the immortalisation of Mom’s Apple Pie recipe from Marcella’s Engravables and the Breaking Bad themed spatula by Wooden Maden.

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Cooking with tools and utensils that you love is a whole lot more fun, and adding finishing touches with personality and spark will make for an eye-catching spread on the table. Using laser cutting and laser etching, these creative opportunities become within reach for even the smallest of baking ventures. Let us know in the comments below if you have other fun ideas of how to use laser cutting and laser etching for baking products.

 

 

Understanding the Difference Between Engraving, Etching and Marking

Laser cutting

Engraving, etching and marking are often used interchangeably when it comes to laser cutting. But did you know there’s actually a difference between these three terms? Don’t worry, if you use one term to refer to another, we won’t take it against you. Not many know the difference. All three refer to permanent marking on a material.

Here’s how to tell which one best describes the right laser cutting technique:

  • Laser Marking – This is done with a low-powered beam by discoloring the material to create a high-contrast without actually disrupting the material’s surface. The marking is done via oxidation under the surface causing it to tun black. It is sometimes called laser coloration or laser dark marking. It is most commonly used on metals but the charring effect can also be done on plastic materials. It is typically used for serial numbers or model codes with great application in the medical or automotive fields. Laser marking can be used on flat, curved or round surfaces.
  • Laser Engraving – This, on the otherhand, cuts a cavity through the material’s surface leaving a cavity that reveals an image or writing at eye level that is noticeable to the touch as well. This is done with high heat laser causing the material surface to vaporize. It is very precise and is often a good option for people who want to personalize or customize something. Engrving depth can vary between 0.02″ in metals to 0.125 in harder materials. You can engrave almost any type of material but are most commonly used for metal, plastics, wood, leather, glass and acrylic.
  • Laser Etching – This is really a subset of engraving, with the main difference being the depth of the cut. This is usually no more than 0.001 inch — which makes it the most viable option for thin materials and small projects such as jewelry.

Those are the basic definitions and differences between the three terms often used for laser cutting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

Customized Laser Cutting for Tech Geeks

Designing Your Own Enclosures for Electronics Projects

adafruit laser cut enclosure

Laser cutting has long been the chosen solution for many DIY electronics project enclosures, and with good reason. By building a custom case using laser cutting, you are able to protect components, give precise access to interface elements, and also add laser etched details that communicate function and branding.

We’ve previously taken a look at how to make a laser cut enclosure using Box Maker and similar plugins for laser cutter-friendly software programs. Another neat browser-based option is MakerCase (screenshot below) where it is easier than ever to enter design constraints, interact with a 3D model of the enclosure and then save a file that is ready for laser cutting.

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These fantastic tools and software solutions go a long way in making laser cut enclosure design accessible for projects large and small. While a laser cut enclosure can be quite simple, the thorough breakdown by Phillip Burgess on Adafruit covers a number of key considerations and comes strongly recommended indeed. The eye-catching rainbow Raspberry Pi case pictured at the top of this post is a prime example of the way that the strengths of laser cutting can be leveraged to produce unique, desirable outcomes.

Personal projects get a serious boost from laser cut enclosures, and the next step is often to produce and sell products that look both professional and highly resolved. A notable example of how custom laser cut enclosures have helped turn personal projects into Kickstarter success stories is the Game Frame (pictured below) from Jeremy Williams.

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So whether you’ve baked yourself a techno treat with the Raspberry Pi, or created new possibilities using the latest boards from Arduino; those electronic projects can get such a boost when a custom laser cut enclosure is added to the mix.

In short, laser cutting enables customization and full control over the following design and interface elements:

Protect components: Boards, screens and connectors can all be housed securely.
Location of openings: Plugs, connectors, lights and vents can all be positioned in exactly the right spot.
Communication: Adding custom branding, labels to ports, and a bit of personal flair.

Be sure to read through the Adafruit Laser Cut Enclosure Design Overview and fire up your Ponoko Personal Factory to get the prototyping process started right away. Let us know in the comments below if you know of any other handy tips and resources for making laser cut electronics enclosures.

 

Laser Cut Success Stories: Akujin Corps Etsy Store

How to quit your day job and find success with niche laser cut products 

akujincorps - laser cut glasses

Robert Overstreet was once a mild mannered IT consultant with a passion for cosplay on the side, but thanks to some clever design thinking and effective use of the Ponoko Personal Factory, his Akujin Corps Etsy store has turned into a serious full-time business.

Akujin Corps specialises in laser cut acrylic glasses for cosplay enthusiasts. The designs are inspired by the dynamic characters from various anime, comics and other media – a wildly creative culture where everyday boundaries blur with fantastical action and adventure.

Let’s take a look at Robert’s journey and reflections on his laser cutting experience with Ponoko.

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How did you get started as a designer and seller on Etsy?

To be honest I do not recall how I found Etsy. I expect it was mentioned somewhere while looking for alternatives to eBay.

What was the inspiration behind your product?

I started going to conventions in the mid-1990s. As cosplay started becoming more common over the next few years I noticed a lot of Vash cosplayers did not have glasses or had poor replicas. I searched online and found the official movic replicas selling on eBay for $150-$300 and the poor replicas selling at about $90. I bought up a few pairs of similar looking glasses and modified the arms and started selling them for $20 on eBay. I did not make a lot, but I made enough to afford buying more glasses to modify as well as my anime, comics and games.

What led to you try Ponoko?

Before I found Ponoko my products were very limited. I mostly worked with existing products that I purchased modified, then resold.

In 2012 I discovered Ponoko. Now I could design and cut acrylic and started making unique designs instead of modifying existing products. When business started picking up in late 2013 I had to choose between working full-time in IT for the county or my glasses. Certain circumstances came up and I put in my two weeks notice with the county and have been making glasses since.
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What are the top 3 things you love about Ponoko? Why?

The simple design requirements, the great customer service, and a fairly decent number of materials to choose from.

The design requirements are easy to understand and work with in inkscape which is free. Files can be created saved edited without expensive software or conversion.
It is not unusual for me to receive product and let it sit for a few days before I need to assemble a piece from the lastest Ponoko delivery. Sometimes I find my acrylic parts are damaged under the original paper by the manufacturer. When I contact Ponoko about this issue or other issues like product broken in the mail or cut in the wrong color which both very rarely occur, I never have any trouble getting in touch with Ponoko’s customer service who quickly arrange for a replacement. The number of materials to choose from in acrylic alone is pretty great. I have only run into a few instances where color limitation was an issue and in those cases Ponoko was willing to help me with a custom order.

How did you make (and sell) your glasses before Ponoko? How is this different from your Ponoko process?

From 1996 until 2012 I worked with existing products modifying them to create new products. I believe I had about 17 unique products until I started working with Ponoko. After the discovery of Ponoko in late 2012 I went from making a few different products to hundreds of unique items in less than a year.

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How long does it take to go from: (i) idea to design; (ii) design to prototype; (ii) prototype to product; (iv) product to first customer (or media attention)? How do these 4 speeds compare to doing this without Ponoko?

With Ponoko, From idea to design takes an hour or two, and design to prototype takes about a week. If the design works out I also end up with a product at this point. If the design does not work out I am looking at another hour or two fixing issues with the design and another week waiting for the revised design to be delivered. Once I have a new product listed on Etsy I usually have my first order within a week. Without Ponoko or a similar service my business does not exist.

What advice do you want to give to other designer/sellers?

Do not take criticism and feedback personally, but do not let people walk all over you either. Customer service is important but you should expect to be treated respectfully by your customers as well.

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So now that you know the story behind Akujin Corps, you can find the current range of laser cut cosplay glasses on Etsy.

If you’re inspired by Robert’s success to try laser cutting your own products, head over to the Ponoko Personal Factory and start making today.

 

How To Make Your Own Laser Cut Precision Tools

Taking measures into your own hands

Just Add Sharks Laser Cut Caliper

How do you know if your projects are as precise as can be? While we can get a certain level of control by squeezing our fingers together and taking an educated guess, sometimes you need the cold hard facts. That’s where measuring devices such as vernier callipers come in handy to narrow down the numbers.

Inspired by some 3D printed measuring tools they had seen, the guys over at Just Add Sharks fired up their lasers to cut a set of fully functional callipers (above) from 1.5mm birch ply. The components were laser cut and glued together, and then to round things off an additional set of radius guides (below) allow for internal and external radii to be checked for accuracy.

Just Add Sharks radius guides

Looking for a fun weekend project? The files for these laser cut precision tools can be downloaded from the source article at Just Add Sharks, so head over there if you’d like to make your own laser cut measuring guides in your material of choice from the Ponoko Personal Factory.

via Just Add Sharks

How To Make a Customized Jigsaw Puzzle

Laser Cut Educational Toys

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Personalised toys can make a great gift, adding something unique and memorable to show how much you care. It’s one of those things that many people think about doing, but never take the first steps to actually make it happen. Let’s take a look at how easy it can be to put together a personalised laser cut educational toy.

As you can see in this guide on Instructables, it is possible to achieve a highly resolved, professional-looking outcome even for those who are new to laser cutting. The guide, written by Ponoko’s own Dan Emery, walks through a process of creating the cutting pattern for the jigsaw pieces using Inkscape, and then building a custom map section that will become the laser etched details.    (more…)

Entrepreneur turning hobby into novelty toy and apparel company

Robots! Yeah!
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Imagine a community of robots; from helpers to dance masters to happy companions and more. What stories would they tell? What journeys would they embark on, as their world and ours merge into one fantastical creative adventure?

The characters from RoboMustache were created and designed by Charles Wade of Greensboro NC, and they are working their way into the hearts and imaginations of young robot enthusiasts one laser cut assembly kit at a time.

It all started with the Helper Bot

GREENSBORO, NC — After graduating from college, designer and maker, Charles Wade, began his hobby by making unique animal stickers, which later morphed into woodcraft and papercraft creations. During a test for one of his woodcrafts he designed and built a poseable wooden robot. The Helper Bot was born.

With the creation of the Helper Bot, Wade began experimenting with other ideas. After receiving feedback and appreciation for his work, he created more robots and designed assembly kits that would allow others to build his creations.

Resurrected from the scrapheap in a derelict factory

Wade has cultivated his hobby into a career by establishing RoboMustache; a collection of wooden robot assembly kits, accessories and merchandise. More than a collection of novelties, the RoboMustache hints at a rich world of storytelling as well. Coined from a found project in a derelict factory, as the company grows, so will the RoboMustache universe. The story will expand to tell more about the existing robots and bring in new robots along the way.

The most mustchioed  ‘Staff Pick’ on Kickstarter

Wade is crowdfunding the project to take the RoboMustache universe to the next level. The Kickstarter launched Dec. 4, 2015 and runs through the new year. Rewards for backers include assembly kits for each of the RoboMustache characters, laser cut in bamboo ply by Ponoko.

For more information on RoboMustache, visit RoboMustache.com or email contact@RoboMustache.com. To see the Kickstarter, visit RoboMustache.com/Kickstarter

How To Help Your Client Launch a Kickstarter Campaign

Head off Crowdfunding questions with these useful tips and resources

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Crowdfunding campaigns give entrepreneurs, artists and businesses a unique opportunity to test the viability of their ideas. Yet for many, the thought of running a Kickstarter campaign can be a daunting prospect.

So how can you help de-mystify the process, and give your client the tools and support they need to embrace all that Kickstarter has to offer? Let’s take a look at some of the contributing factors that enable campaigns to reach – and indeed exceed – their funding goals.

Choosing the right platform
The first question to ask is whether or not this method of raising funds is actually suitable for your business proposal. Each crowdfunding platform has its quirks and benefits, and in the example of Kickstarter, many submissions do not even pass the approval phase. It is well worth taking the time to identify which crowdfunding option best suits your business model and potential project outcome.

Don’t be dazzled by dollar signs – just because there are campaigns raising millions of dollars does not mean that every campaign will be an overwhelming success. For the majority of campaigns, a few thousand or even just a few hundred dollars over the target amount can be a big deal.

Be prepared to work hard
Although crowdfunding has been shown to be surprisingly lucrative for some, successful outcomes are not guaranteed. It takes more than just having a bright idea; you have to know your project very well and be prepared to put time into every stage of the funding process. Understand that for every hour you spend (and there will be many!) on preparing the campaign, there will be just as much time required to maintain and promote the project through to completion. Yet even then, your task doesn’t end when the countdown stops. Assuming you are sitting on a pile of money after a successful campaign, you will need to get moving on production and manage the distribution of rewards to your backers.

There is a misconception that a crowdfunded campaign is something that can be done on the side, in your downtime or on the weekends. This is simply not true… one thing that all successful campaigns have in common, regardless of funding levels or project outcomes, is that the campaign itself was a full-time commitment.

Engagement 
There is a strong social media component to the Kickstarter process, with communication and personal interaction playing a large role in backer satisfaction. It can help to remind yourself that Kickstarter is not an online store, even though some backers continue to treat it like one. Integral to successful campaigns is the way people love to feel like they are involved in making things happen. This is a different consumer experience than traditional online shopping, and with careful planning you can use that to your advantage. Choose a variety of rewards including smaller contributions that can help keep people interested in your progress, even if they aren’t in a position to commit larger amounts of money during the campaign. These potential future customers can become informal brand ambassadors through their own social media activity, expanding your reach before the campaign reaches its conclusion.

Be realistic
Not all campaigns are successful, and that is ok. The reasons why a campaign does not reach its funding goals can be quite varied, and are sometimes just as mysterious as to why other campaigns dramatically exceed expectations. When setting up a crowdfunding campaign, plan out how you will navigate through both failure and success, so that your business can continue to evolve beyond the campaign timeline.

Assistance
Don’t be shy – a Kickstarter campaign is a lot to take on, and it is perfectly ok to seek out help. In fact, many services are popping up that enable a streamlining of each aspect of the campaign. Gathering and processing information beforehand will help to protect you from nasty surprises and also empower you to fully exploit successes and opportunities should they come your way. Here are a few to start you off:

The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding
Presented by Shopify, the ecommerce solution of choice for many successful campaigns. This thorough walkthrough over 23 chapters covers all the key considerations to be aware of before taking on your own Kickstarter campaign.

How To Make a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
Using the Pebble Watch as a case study, this detailed investigation looks at how a 24 year old guy’s project with a goal of $100,000 became a $10 million record-breaker.

Tools for Kickstarter: Planning Calculator
A handy tool from Reuben Pressman, you can generate a quick overview of whether your numbers will all stack up. The calculator also includes a valuable Incentives component that will help to resolve the allocation of backer rewards.

Social Media services: Backercamp
Communication and Marketing for your campaign will get a huge boost if you call in the experts to lend a hand.

Manage your Mail: Green Inbox
With so much content flooding your clients’ email and social media, direct personalised messaging gets through to people and saves you time.

Look your best on camera: Elevant Productions
The influence a refined video clip has on campaign success rates is huge. Get it right first time for maximum impact on the small screen.

Case Studies: Success Stories
Also from Shopify, this breakdown of eleven campaigns highlights what they did right and what they did wrong, providing many valuable insights.

Analysis and Infographics
In-depth analysis of campaign metrics, trends and a very handy infographic that helps to navigate The Untold Story behind Kickstarter Stats.

The task of setting realistic goals, achievable rewards and establishing effective communication with backers is often more complex than people first anticipate. By investing a little time in making the most of these resources, the entire campaign experience becomes a whole lot more manageable. Don’t underestimate the impact that thorough preparation can have. By approaching your campaign with the knowledge that you are prepared for any surprises that may pop up – whether they are positive or negative – you will be ready to rise to the challenge.

Are you using the Ponoko Personal Factory to produce rewards for a campaign? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll discuss the best way to help you reach your funding goals.