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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Downs Designs Launches Kickstarter

(August 27, 2014) I’m heading back to the factory today and I've been sitting on this plane for 13 hours.  I have tried to sleep – can’t, tried to watch movies – boring, and spoken with some very nice people (in Chinese…yes …the best part).  So now I thought I would take a little time to get back to working on my blog that I have been neglecting lately.

Well, the buzz at Downs Designs is “Kickstarter”.  On August 15, we launched our first Kickstarter project.  Kickstarter can be a great opportunity for a business like mine to raise money.  I've been in business for 4 ½ years already and the business is not out of the red yet.  I've been using money from every resource we have and now I’m using our 401K. 

I first got the idea about trying a crowd funding program from a guy who wanted to make jeans for men and women who have large thighs from lifting weights.  He raised $735,000 on his Kickstarter program and I felt I could even do better than that (being that I have over 70,000 followers on my Downs Designs Facebook page).  I thought this would be so easy.

So we spent about 6 weeks preparing the Kickstarter website.  Chrissy and Jillian worked diligently to make the most professional and well-done site I've seen in a long time.  When it launched I really thought the donations would just start pouring in.

Boy was I wrong!  After about 2 weeks we only had 90 backers and raised about $9,000.00.  I was surprised at the little support from our followers, my friends, all my business associates and my customers.  So many people said they were going to donate, but as of this date, had not.  I think this is a life lesson I am supposed to be learning.

In the meantime, Chrissy had been sending out press releases everyday and doing a lot of Tweets on Twitter.  August 25 ago I got a call from Kiddnation radio and they asked if I would do an interview with them.  Of course I said yes.  So we taped an interview and it was to air the next morning…the morning I’m leaving for China.

I was driving to the airport at 6:30 Wednesday morning (August 27, 2014) when the interview aired and I never got to hear it.  When I arrived at the airport and got through security I hurried to my gate so I could check my laptop.  To my surprise the donations were pouring in.  I literally started to cry.  I couldn't believe that the ten minute segment was able to reach so many people who were all donating.  I am so humbled by the support of all those total strangers.  Then it was time to board the plane to Chicago.  When I got to Chicago my flight to Hong Kong was delayed for 3 more hours so my wait was now 7 hours.  I was actually excited that I would be able to keep an eye on our progress even longer.
Finally it was time to board the plane for Hong Kong and I wouldn't be back online until Thursday night. I was so excited when we finally boarded, I think I could have flown there without the plane.  So this flight has been particularly hard for me because I just want to get to my hotel room and get hooked up on Wi-Fi.  I have no idea what to expect.  The anticipation is killing me.

I can’t thank Kiddnation Radio enough for having me on their show.  They may have changed the course of Down Designs.  I’ll continue writing later when I have more information about our Kickstarter.

“It's now later” - Well, finally I checked into my room, hooked my computer and saw the new number.  The total was over 17,000 and rising.  So in the morning before the show aired, we had raised about $9,000 in two weeks and after just a few hours that number had almost doubled.  All the money that had just been donated was all from people I didn't even know.   My faith in mankind had certainly been restored!

I’m now back from China and have been home for three days.  The enthusiasm stopped by the time I left and not much has changed since I've been home.  When I left China, the total raised was $20,239.00.  That was September 3, 2014.  Today is September 6 and the total is now $21,150.00 as of this writing.  I’m sure not complaining about raising over twenty thousand dollars, but I had expected to raise a million.  I’m not sure what I was thinking, but we still have about 7 days left.  Who knows what will happen.  I’ll end this entry and leave you all hanging till I write next.