Jake Bronstein often wondered where his underwear was manufactured. He checked shelves of as many stores in Manhattan, as he could from Diesel to Tommy Hilfiger.
He soon realized that, of the many businesses he investigated, only American Apparel brand underwear is made in the United States – but he realized that it is not comfortable, is not made of high-quality materials, and is easily broken down in the dryer.
With this knowledge, he decided to launch his own small business. Named Flint and Tinder, his company was created with the goal in mind to manufacture premium-quality, American-made men’s underwear.
After formulating a plan, he created the designs, found the best fabrics, and even located a factory in the United States in which to manufacture. Even though he had the idea and prepared to implement it, he could not make it tangible due to lack of funds.
Fortunately, that is where Kickstarter came in as an indispensible tool.
Kickstarter was founded in 2009 in Brooklyn, New York. The use of this site, a new fundraising platform, has been a successful venture for many resident New Yorkers and beyond – artists and entrepreneurs with the ideas, but not enough capital to fund them.
These filmmakers, musicians, and designers can use Kickstarter to create personalized project pages, and appeal to donors through video. In this largely burgeoning method of fundraising, the creator of a project is able to set the fundraising goal they wish to achieve, as well as the length of time in which the fundraising will take place.
What sets websites like Kickstarter apart from most fundraising processes are the rewards that donors get for their patronage. This high-risk, high-reward style (often, projects are not funded unless the monetary goal is reached within the time previously specified) often involve rewards for donors that relate to the project they are supporting.
Underwear-entrepreneur Bronstein presents a range of rewards for his donors. For a donation of $15 or more, supporters would get one pair of underwear. For $36 or more, they would receive either three pairs of premium underwear, or one shirt as well as one pair of underwear.
Musicians often send their patrons their new albums before they are released, or offer free concert tickets. It is not unusual for filmmakers to give free movie tickets to their supporters.
In a city as large as New York, the range of projects that donors can search out is seemingly endless – as are the many rewards that are offered through support of these projects.
This system has proved highly effective. Starting with a goal of $30,000, Bronstein received funds in excess of $291,000 by the project’s closing deadline.
Since Kickstarter was launched, $200 million has been pledged by 2 million people to more than 20,000 projects.
Kickstarter has become a platform that contributes to community benefits as well. Bronstein of Flint and Tinder claims, “For every 1,000 pair sold per month, one full-time job has to be added back to the assembly line.”
As New York City continues to be considered one of the most diverse cities in the world, there are equally unique and meaningful projects going on in its diverse fields.
Photographer Natalie Gruppuso asked for funding to create a gallery for same-sex couples. Designer Benjamin Jones used the site to fund “the TreeHouse” on Governors Island.
New York City where thousands of different thoughts and projects are going on, is a great place to take action to support as well as create innovative ideas.
Here are some profiles of New York-based Kickstarter projects:
The Artist’s Remains: This Manhattan-based documentary project was successfully funded through Kickstarter last January. Creator Elisabeth Harris plans to track artist Elizabeth Rothstein’s work and launch a gallery exhibition in New York City.
Marc Witmer- Fall 2012 Collection: This New York project was successfully funded this month. Designer Witmer had long dreamed of launching his own label in the New York fashion industry.
In order to start-up, though, he needed money – money that he was able to get through Kickstarter.
Due to the backing of more than 80 donors, Witmer’s fall collection is now in production.
If this project – created by New York-based nonprofit organization Word Above the Street – reaches its goal, creators plan to transform rooftop tanks throughout New York City into art works for 12 weeks in the Spring of 2013. The project must receive $1,000,000 by July 6th to be successfully funded.