If the world’s ending soon, you might as well look in vogue when it does.
At least, that’s according to Alex Tinsley, a recent graduate of Reed College in Portland, Ore., and designer specializing in knit garments. Tinsley is currently working on a book of “post-apocalyptic patterns” with the help of the fundraising program Kickstarter.
The program, launched in 2009 by a team based out of New York City, serves as an interface to mobilize financial support for a variety of projects, encompassing everything from from art to technology. Since the site first launched, 2.5 million users have raised a total of $350 million for more than 30,000 ventures, according to the Kickstarter website.
The requirements ask that users pitch a clear, thoroughly structured idea with a pre-determined monetary goal and deadline. Kickstarter reviews each proposal before determining to put it on the site and then leaves it up to donors to determine if the organization is worth backing.
“Everything on Kickstarter must be a project,” the site states. “A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.”
Tinsley raised $2,915 more than her goal of $5,000, which was met on Sept. 30. She said the money will primarily be used for up-front costs she owes to the small independent publisher of Doomsday Knits and the production of photo shoots for models showcasing the quirky knit pieces.
Tinsley said part of her success spurred from incentivizing donations by providing giveaways and prizes to donors, since Kickstarter allows project leaders to set their own rules and parameters.
“I knew there were a lot of people excited about the project who would love to get in on the ground floor and help us produce the book in exchange for things like patterns, PDF or physical copies of the book and other sorts of knitting goodies,” she said.
Dustin Alpern, a student at the University of Michigan, first heard about Kickstarter through Michigan’s Screen Arts and Cultures program, where many of his peers have used the site to help fund their class film projects.
When he began working on a film of his own, he turned to Kickstarter for assistance, reaching his goal of $2,000 with the help of 44 donors.
“It was a beautiful way to fund our budget,” he said. “I wouldn’t use it too much because I wouldn’t want to start using my friends and family for money anytime I decided to start a project. But for a project that is really special for me and one in which I really can’t make without the financial help, Kickstarter is a great option.”
Though she was successful, Tinsley said she was slightly frustrated with the Kickstarter’s customer service program when she was having difficulty with her video as well as stipulations that require that the company take 5% of the money garnered.
Of losing the 5% she said, “It comes with the territory, but when you’re dealing with large amounts of money, it can be a little depressing.”
Alpern said he had “no qualms really” with Kickstarter, and just experienced mild difficulty in getting accepted to the site as the Kickstarter team was reviewing potential projects.
“It was kind of tough to get my project accepted by the site because they check each proposal very carefully, but that is nothing really to complain about,” Alpern said.
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