Gimme Gimme

I’m beginning to see more and more “gimme money for nothin!” Kickstarter projects.

Which is sad. And I hope it doesn’t continue.

Example: Liz Lovely Cookies

This vegan gluten free cookie company is trying to raise $50k. They’re at $15k. They’re a successful company. Been around a decade or so. Were on the TV show Shark Tank recently but didn’t get funded there. (Didn’t see the show, but I’m not surprised.)

EDIT: Watched the show so I could get a better idea of them. Last year had almost $1MM in sales and a “near 10%” profit margin. Nice work!

Since they couldn’t get funding elsewhere Liz Lovely decided to “check out that cool new Kickstarter thing. Maybe we can scam some fools!” (My quote not theirs. I’m assuming that’s what they were thinking while coming up with their Kickstarter pledge levels.)

You can buy 2 dozen cookies from their website for $39.99. Or you can have the privilege of being part of their Kickstarter and get 2 dozen cookies for $85 (or 1 dozen for $50). You also get a holiday card and 3 stickers for the extra $45.

I’ve got no issues with expensive cookies or products. I think it’s awesome when a business creates a premium product and isn’t afraid to charge accordingly. But you’re fucking insane with this:

http://kck.st/ZJhPCu <– $85

or

http://lizlovely.com <– $39.99

If you’re in the market for vegan gluten free cookies (because maybe your name is Karol Gajda) this is a very difficult decision.

As I stated earlier, these mistakes are increasingly common on Kickstarter. It’s like small business owners don’t even realize their customers (or prospective customers) are not idiots.

Recently, I messaged a girl who had a kickstarter project live, explained she’s doing it all wrong (because she was), and gave her ideas on how to improve to get people involved and interested.

Her response was (this is directly from the message): “I was under the impression that people backed projects because they liked them and wanted to support them, I didn’t realize it was more about what’s in it for them.” Her funding was unsuccessful even though her product and the video she made were very good.

It’s all about what’s in it for them! It’s only about what’s in it for them!

To aspiring business owners and kickstarter project creators: I probably don’t have to say this, but don’t do what these companies are doing. Even if you’re successful you’re going to feel pretty low when you think about the scam you pulled. What fun is that?

Note to Liz Lovely: I’m a nice guy, but I hate rip off artists. I don’t think you actually are, but your actions are telling a different story here. You look like good people and your cookies look quite tasty. Congrats on the success thus far. I actually do hope you become an empire. Sorry I had to pick on you, but I just found your project and it “broke the camel’s back” as they say.

{ 8 comments… add yours }

Max

Ha. This reminds me of Regretsy’s “Compare and Save” series: http://www.regretsy.com/?s=compare+save

Reply

Dan Holtz

Hi Karol. Just wanted to clear up a few of your off-base assumptions:

(1) We ran a Kickstarter because quite a few fans and Shark Tank viewers told us via Facebook and emails that we should do it. We ran a Facebook poll about potential rewards, and got great feedback. The entire campaign is geared towards, and has been promoted to, our social media fan base.

(2) The message we were getting was that our fans wanted to help, and would be willing to overpay a bit for some special goodies. In fact, some folks on Facebook said that explicitly. Just running a “sale” on Kickstarter as a proxy for our website wouldn’t really help us too much.

(3) The fact that we’ve been somewhat successful driving the pledges from our fan base (based on the stats) at least proves #1 and #2.

In retrospect, I think our Kickstarter could have been positioned a little differently, and should have been launched the night Shark Tank aired. Based on those tactical mistakes, success is looking unlikely. Which is a bummer, but in retrospect, understandable.

All that said, in the future, it might actually provide you some journalistic integrity to reach out to your target and ask a few questions before you tear in with your teeth. Or, you could just continue to be shock-blogger. I guess that’s up to you.

Happy Holidays,
-Cowboy Dan
Maverick CEO, Liz Lovely

Reply

Karol

I’m not a journalist, nor a shock-blogger (whatever that is). Don’t be silly (and patronizing to boot).

Your points prove to me you don’t understand Kickstarter. (Especially “Just running a “sale” on Kickstarter as a proxy for our website wouldn’t really help us too much.”) Which, I now realize, is the main point with what I wrote here. Kickstarter is growing rapidly and attracting people who don’t understand it. That’s cool. They’ll be unsuccessful as you’re finding out yourself. Though I truly do wish things take a turn for the better and few hundred more people with money to throw away help you out. (EDIT: I’m not just saying that. As a veg*n who often eats gluten free I appreciate companies like yours. But that doesn’t excuse bad business practices.)

Reply

Max

uhm. Dan’s first sentence is very patronizing (boot or no boot).

also I think Howard Stern is a shock-jockey (or blogger) something. So … nice.

Also, before you respond to this comment you should have some journalistic integrity and make sure that I agree with whatever you’re about to post about me, even if exposes what a self-righteous ahole ripoff artist I am.

Shock-jockey-blogger!

:)

Reply

Tim

Have you considered just reporting the project? From their Kickstarter page, it’s pretty clear that it violates the “A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it” clause of the TOS.

Unless replacing storm-damaged shopfront, buying new equipment, and hiring people counts as producing something now.

Reply

Karol

No, that doesn’t really benefit anybody. No lessons learned besides “follow the rules” which isn’t a lesson I want to be known for teaching.

Reply

Samantha

Hi Karol

I love your blog and your perspective on life, minimalism etc. My background is in accounting so I am your atypical right winger (from NZ so sorry if there is some lost in translation stuff going on – I totally agree with what you are saying, they are looking for a new business idea to make money for themselves (also talent shows like Idol & X factor are looking for someone they can sell but I suspect you know that – you seem pretty on to it) thus the 33% share in the business. And sorry Dan but people might say they want to help but wait and see who actually pulls out some cash… We had a similar company burger fuel who wanted to go onto the NZ stock exchange but that also bombed but they do awesome burgers as I’m sure you do awesome cookies. If you want the cash you will have to find an investor and you will have to give up a stake in the business or ask the bank. That’s my advice but my dad says “free advice is worth what your pay for it” so take it as you will.

Karol – I love hearing another’s perspective so keep writing, I am not ready to stop playing by the rules yet so I will stick with my accounting – maybe I’ll finance a vegan bakery down here in the future, you never know.

Sorry for rambling,

All the best

Sam

Reply

Karol

Completely off topic, but you mentioned Burger Fuel. I loved Burger Fuel when I was in NZ and OZ! Great vegan burgers.

Reply

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