Bucking Barbie

Screenshot 2014-03-17 09.26.20For years little girls have been playing with Barbie, a pinched, leggy blonde who has had such an influence on our culture that there are now teens and adults, emulating the look of Barbie. Just watch a couple of episodes of ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ and you’ll see what I mean.

However, Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm has just designed a doll based on the ‘average teen size’.  The 25 year old decided to see if his idea would work by setting up this crowdfund to raise $95,000 to fund the manufacture. Crowdfunding is a fantastic opportunity to test the market with a prototype, to see if your idea gets a thumbs up.  And this one certainly has – with 19 days left, Lammily has raised $441,148 – which is 465% funded.  He’d reached is initial goal within the first 24 hours.

In stark contrast to Barbie, Lammily wears hardly any makeup, denim shorts, blue dip-dye shirt and white trainers. She is of ‘average proportions’, based on 3D modelling of the size of the average teen throughout the US.  I myself was tweeted at with the link to this, and as a mother, was immediately inspired to give it to my 10 year old daughter – not because she plays with dolls anymore, but because it’s a great symbol of how I think this doll can stand for normality.

What this campaign has highlighted is people getting behind a movement, spreading a message, as much as it is funding the manufacture of a doll and I for one have joined it.  However, I’m not sure if the next generations will be emulating Lammily as they have done for Barbie – but who knows what might come next.  One to watch.

20 questions to ask yourself before you start crowdfunding

By now many will have heard something about donation based crowdfunding and you may be thinking about your own crowdfunding campaign. Here are some questions to help you decide if crowdfunding is for you.

  1. Why would anyone give you  money? That’s the key, finding a way to engage your crowd so they part  with their hard earned cash.
  2. Have you thought about your  campaign, how you will actually do it and what does it look like? The  campaign and strategy will define your life for the duration of the  crowdfund, are you up for it, do you have the resources, expertise and  stamina?
  3. What happens if you don’t  get any money at all? There is risk involved, have you thought how you  would manage that and move forward?
  4. Do you believe in your project; are you sure?
  5. Is crowdfunding the best way of raising the capital you need? Have you investigated other options?
  6. Is your idea a good idea, are you convinced? Is your idea innovative and compelling? Have you tested it at all?
  7. Do you have the support of  your family, friends or business colleagues? The campaign will be  relentless, are you sure you have all the right people around you?
  8. Why would anyone buy into  your vision or project? The crowd will potentially be made up of many  individuals, how will you persuade them to get involved and support you  with their money?
  9. Have you created a pitch  that everyone will understand easily? Are you able to write the kind of  copy you will need that speaks to your crowd?
  10. How will you demonstrate  your idea? Will you make a video, take photographs, write a poem? How  will you do this, have you the resources and skills needed to develop a  smart, clear and powerful argument?
  11. Can you last the course of  the campaign? What will you do after month 2 and things are getting  difficult? Do you have any help you can call upon, will your supporters  give you a hand? Are you running your business/project as well as  crowdfunding it?
  12. Who is you audience, market or crowd?  Have you thought carefully about your marketing strategy?
  13. Do you have a network in  place or are you starting from scratch? Do you have contacts to help  with PR, Social Media, design….?
  14. What will your crowd like  to have in return for their money? What will captivate them enough to  buy into your vision?
  15. What are your messages? You  may have different market segments, how will you reach out? Do you have  the expertise to develop this aspect of your campaign?
  16. Are your rewards really inviting? Are you convinced your audience will love them?
  17. How much do you need to  raise? Have you factored for expenses, the time and material costs  required to run the campaign, the cost of the rewards etc?
  18. How will you administer the campaign, who will stay in touch with your supporters and how?
  19. Are you flexible? If  something doesn’t work will you be able to devise an alternative  quickly, implement and go forward?
  20. Are you prepared to stay in touch with your funders post campaign? It takes effort and dedication.