Buying Gear Through Kickstarter
Crowdfunding services like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or GoFundMe (and many others) are great places to buy unique products unavailable in stores. In the past few years, the popularity of crowdfunding has exploded, and it’s become the first step for many aspiring gear makers to launch their businesses. Crowdfunding, in part, has allowed for manufacturing to become a realistic goal for those who want to design and develop their own products in-house. This is especially good for supporting USA-made products, and it helps empower makers to become business owners.
But despite the many benefits of crowdfunding for both the funder and the fundee, there are some things to be aware of if you’re new to investing on Kickstarter. Here’s what you should know.
You’re Getting First Edition Products.
I find this to be one of the benefits of supporting a Kickstarter–getting a first edition item in what will eventually be a product line. By the time a company starts a campaign, they’ve already completed the prototyping and research and development process, so you’re still getting a completed, ready-to-buy item. A first edition product means that the item you’ll get will be rare and special, especially if the company goes on to become very successful. But this can also mean that it lacks features that will be released in future versions.
You Probably Won’t Get Your Gear or Perks Very Quickly.
A lot of time passes between the conclusion of a Kickstarter campaign to the day you’ll actually get your item in the mail. Most campaigns will include information about when you can expect to receive your purchase, but that’s usually not for several months. Campaigns that are funded well over their goal level will take even longer, as they now have many more orders to complete. Sometimes an item will take more than a year to ship. If you’re willing to wait, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s important to remember that supporting a Kickstarter is far different from ordering a product through a normal web store.
With those few things in mind, perusing Kickstarter for new gear and gear companies is very fun and doesn’t have to be very expensive, either. Here are a few campaigns worth checking out.
Boreal21 Folding Bow Saw. We already covered this one recently, but if you missed it, it’s worth checking out.
Woodstack Wallet. These interesting wallets are made from wood and are significantly different in style than other wood wallets on the market. At press time, they’ve raised about $1,900 out of their $12,000 goal with 25 days left.
Crab Mate. This little multitool is shaped like a, you guessed it, crab. But despite its cute appearance, it’s a beautifully machined titanium pocket tool with a multitude of hex wrenches, a bottle opener, and more. It’s currently at $1,600 out of the $5,000 goal with 17 days left.
Have you ever supported a crowdfunding campaign?