How A Hipster Jacket Broke Kickstarter, Raising $9 Million

Meanwhile, while you slept, a Kickstarter campaign for an admittedly geeky jacket, set out to raise a mere $200,000. Known merely as the Travel Jacket, the crowdfunding campaign ended up raising more than $9 million. That's not just a huge oversubscription, that's the most money a crowdfunding campaign has ever raised for a piece of clothing.

So, while you scrape your jaw up off the ground in wonderment, I thought it would be a good exercise to break down how Hiral Sanghavi met his funding target for the Baubax Jacket in a mere 5 hours.

1
Start With An Awesome Product

crowdfunded jacket raises $9 million
Kickstarter

The travel jacket comes in four styles and is designed with multiple hidden functions to make commuting more comfortable and hands-free.

Those include a neck pillow that inflates in two seconds, an insulated cup holder pocket and gloves concealed in each sleeve.

For tech pros and hipsters in San Francisco, this thing is Christmas all year round. The product, even before the campaign was marketed, was the right product and the right time for the right group of people. 

Big score.

2
Strong Pre-Sales Pricing = The Best Reward

good rewards for crowdfunding
Zack Miller, About.com Crowdfunding Expert

The Baubax Kickstarter campaign made it clear that the jacket, once made available to the general public. would retail for $160. The first tier offered the jacket to crowdfunding backers for $99 and once that was full, the next tier was priced at $109.

Having a well-planned, well-structured crowdfunding rewards structure is really important to reaching a campaign's financial goals. Nothing acts as a strong reward better than really aggressive pricing and that's what this jacket offered. Backers who got in early really got a great deal.

In addition to early pre-sales pricing, Baubax offered its first set of backers preferred delivery. That meant, if you backed early, you'll receive your coveted travel jacket this month (September 2015). Otherwise, you'll have to wait until November to receive yours.

That gives bragging rights to the first people in. Smart move.

3
Market to your Market

crowdfunding marketing
Zack Miller, About.com Crowdfunding Expert

This may sound trivial but crowdfunding doesn't happen magically. It happens with good marketing and good PR. The days of brainstorming a campaign, launching it the next day, and just counting the money flowing into your bank account are over. 

Crowdfunding needs a marketing push to get momentum going and Baubax hit the target with its jacket when it reached out to tech blogs and blogs focused on travel.

It's possible to run a crowdfunding campaign on a budget. It requires a good message and getting out to the blogs and websites in your space. For the Travel Jacket, that meant reaching out to the likes of BusinessInsider, Skift, and Techcrunch. Readers of these sites went nuts on Baubox because the jacket was made for their needs. 

4
Give Good Reason To Get People To Pledge Again

crowdfunding stretch goals
Zack Miller, About.com Crowdfunding Expert

 When Baubox reached $2 million, creator, Hiral Sanghavi knew he had a runaway success on his hands.

So, what's a good entrepreneur supposed to do when everything is working? Make it work even better by creating stretch goals, rewards that benefit all backers once a certain collective goal is met (typically total $$ raised). 

For Baubox, stretch goals included touch screen-friendly half-scooped gloves, a water-resistant phone pocket, and a nice, folded blanket that fits in a pocket.

Stretch goals not only bring in new backers but they're really effective for getting people already committed to a crowdfunding campaign to cough up more dough.