Status Check: Spark Your Design Creativitiy

The following post was written by our Spark Corps Apprentice Ashley Touchton! Sit back, relax and read about lessons learned from our successful kickstarter! 

As we go into the summer, we have been reflecting on the challenges and successes of 2016 including our Kickstarter campaign and the self-publishing of our design education book. We wanted to share our journey.

The book began about 3 years ago in the summer of 2014 as a camp for the kids of clients and took off from there. In the summer of 2015 the content was revised and tested, in the summer of 2017 the book was graphically designed, prototyped, and funded via Kickstarter and since then we’ve been publishing, marketing, and selling the book!

The Kickstarter was a total adventure. None of the team had done anything like it before and we were under the impression that it would just take off – and it definitely didn’t.

We poured our hearts and souls into the product and the video thinking that would be enough. We made a large amount of our goal in the first couple days and a lot in the last couple days and pretty much spent the whole middle afraid we weren’t going to make it and working our butts off to reach everybody we could get to listen.

We contacted design universities, elementary schools, and homeschool groups, called on all our teams’ personal contacts, reached out to blogs and newspapers, Posted QR code fliers in coffee shops, schools, and libraries, and exhausted all social media outlets daily including messaging anyone and everyone we thought would be interested.

It all turned out to be worth it! We made it to our goal in the last few hours the Kickstarter was live - we were so excited and a little relieved! We raised $7,866, which allowed us to print 500 books, send all our rewards out, and donate 15 copies to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!

Since self-publishing, our first step was to put it up for sale online on Amazon, Etsy, and our website, then at craft and maker fairs in Atlanta, and finally, we worked on getting it in brick and mortar stores. Currently, the books are for sale at Museum of Design Atlanta, Barnes and Noble Buckhead, Tree house Kid and Craft Athens and Decatur, and Binders at Ponce City Market.

Getting the book in these stores was a whole other adventure. Some stores were personal contacts, some we met at fairs we were selling at, and some were as simple as going into a store and asking. Well, it seems simple – though it was a little overwhelming. We wrote down a little spiel on who we were, what we wanted, and who we wanted to talk to.  Most of the time people were very nice and directed us to someone who could help! It was actually a lot easier than we expected.

Moving forward, we’re planning on getting the book into more stores. We would love to sell out our 500 copies and print another run but, right now, we’re working on building out a second product.

We’ve sold at a few craft fairs a and speculated that the addition of a second product could help us to have more of a suite that would help validate our cause. So, we prototyped out a quick run of a design education game for our last fair and nearly sold out! Now we are going back to refine and test the game so that we can begin to sell online and in stores.

The game is about fast paced, silly designing. From drawing the kind of pet a unicorn would have to coming up with a product a ninja could use in the kitchen, its all about having fun and coming up with creative solutions to problems!

2016 was a crazy, fast-paced year of new challenges and we could not be more humbled by our success and the amount of support we have received from people all over the country and the world. We cannot wait to see what adventures that 2017 will bring.