Launching on Kickstarter on May 12, 2020, our O2 Nano Mask achieved 100% funding in just 10 days. A week after that, we were over 200% funded. By the time our campaign was over in June, we hit a whopping 275% of our funding goal, reaching nearly $83,000 in pledges. Now, we’re on Indiegogo InDemand with another $15,000 raised (and counting!).
Start with a vision
For many brands, figuring out how to launch a Kickstarter, then reaching (and exceeding) such goals is the ultimate measure of their success. But for us, our success is that these numbers mean we can do more good in our community by donating thousands of nanofilter masks to essential service workers. The more we raise, the more we can donate. So, how did we get here?
From an initial product idea to wondering how to launch a Kickstarter to achieving such great success all within a couple of months, our story seems far from conventional, and it is. Suffice to say, even the creation of O2 Brands is nothing short of serendipitous. Both of our co-founders joined forces after launching their own successful brands in San Francisco. Vivian Qu started Viaex Technologies, an innovative start-up that focuses on creating high-performance materials from nature. Rebecca Cahua is known for her philanthropy and Designing A Difference, a full-service design development, sewing contractor, and manufacturer.
Both Vivian and Rebecca had each been approached separately with the request to produce efficient masks to help with the pandemic. Drawing on their own areas of expertise, they individually began researching how they could help and give back.
That’s when Vivian decided to seek support from a local business and discovered Rebecca and D.a.D. Sewing House. Known for her philanthropic approach to business, Rebecca had also had a similar start with face masks. When Vivian reached out, the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly and the two quickly got to work. It’s how the O2 Nano Mask was born.
How to launch a Kickstarter campaign
For us, taking the O2 Nano Mask to crowdfunding was the obvious choice, though we needed to learn just how to launch a product on Kickstarter. Seeing the reach this platform can get, we knew it was just what we needed to gain the funding required for production while also giving back to the local community and enabling our backers to do the same.
To be approved on Kickstarter, you need a working prototype in order to begin funding. But in fact, you need much more than that. Understanding how to launch a product on Kickstarter means understanding what backers expect of you as a brand. We knew that in order to be approved by Kickstarter, we needed to have all the right assets in place, from photos to videos to answers to FAQs. But that certainly isn’t all it takes.
How to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign
When we first launched, we were nervous about the saturation of masks on the market, especially in Kickstarter campaigns. We understood that knowing how to launch a Kickstarter campaign and how to launch a successful Kickstarter are two very different things: you can follow all required steps and prepare all assets but still win nothing.
In our experience, our crowdfunding success came down to our approach to creating a quality product and being genuine and transparent with our backers. We were confident in our product since we invested so much time and effort into making it. We had five years of experience in nanofiber technology as well as designing and sewing. Plus, before launching on Kickstarter, we introduced the O2 Nano Mask on our website to gather initial feedback and improve the design until we created v3, which we introduced to Kickstarter.
Another factor in our success was transparency and honesty. We provided constant updates on Kickstarter as well as Facebook, answering any and every question. We also sent weekly newsletters with updates to keep our audience informed. By celebrating each of our milestones with our audience, we used this momentum to keep backers and potential backers excited about our contribution to the local community.
Success beyond Kickstarter
For us, reaching our goal on Kickstarter wasn’t the time to sit back and revel in success. In fact, it was the opposite. The support we received from our community of backers only fueled us to do more. We continued to look for opportunities to boost our product such as linking up with journalists and developing better content while making ourselves available to our backers. Then we started getting referrals; our customers were actively sharing our product with friends and family.
And, once we figured out how to launch a successful Kickstarter and exceeded our funding goal, we were motivated to streamline our manufacturing and expedite our operations. These efforts resulted in us being right on track for delivering to our backers.
As our Kickstarter winded down, we ramped up. Being transparent and available to our backers enabled us to understand their pain points. One request we saw, in particular, was wanting more filters to come in a single pack, so we did it. To continue to listen to our community and carry on the Good Mask philosophy, we shifted gears and are now live on Indiegogo InDemand where we’re continuing our funding journey.
Learning how to launch a Kickstarter with such a focus on doing good in the community allowed us to connect with essential service workers in the Bay Area and beyond. We’re hearing from organizations all across the country about how else we can get involved and inspire brands to lift up their local community.
We didn’t start the process knowing how to launch a Kickstarter, but learning as we went was an invaluable tool. We learned so much about what our backers needed and therefore what the community needed. Being so active with our backers gave us incredible insight and led to the improvements, iterations, and product we’re proud of.