Ep 108 : Building an Unlikely Niche on Kickstarter, Feat Ted Flemming

My guest today is Ted Flemming. He’s used Kickstarter to raise awareness and funds to his non-alcoholic beer brewing brand. He raised a little under $30,000 for his project! He’s here to share why he used Kickstarter for his campaign.

 

[02:33] Why Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

Ted began getting into the craft beer scene in his late-20’s. His journey was cut short due to a diagnosis of Crones disease. he also became a father around the same time. It made him change his focus towards making his health a priority. Because of this he gave up alcohol. He missed the social aspect of drinking with family and friends. This was his motivation towards starting a non-alcoholic beer brand.

Ted’s background was an engineer and he didn’t know much about the space he was getting into. His E-Commerce platform has grown to alcoholic-free beverages such as wine and spirits. Creating a product based on what he liked and the feedback from customers was a huge asset.

 

[07:44] Kickstarter Campaign or Community Investment?

Ted used an e-commerce platform to reach his customers. He built a community of 10-15,000 people between customers and social media followers. He values the feedback he gets from his customers. He wants to increase the quality and diversity of their products.

Kickstarter showed extreme potential to Ted. It was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up for his brand. For the future, he will most likely be taking fundraising internally. The cost for using these platforms adds up over time. Every percentage of revenue going out is important. About 25% of investors came from their Kickstarter campaign. The remaining percent came from their community. This showed Ted which path he needs to take in the future when asking for investments.

There wasn’t much hesitation to start a Kickstarter campaign for Ted. He had done the research needed to have a successful campaign. Preparation gave him comfort.

 

[14:30] Expect the Unexpected

Coming into a crowdfunding campaign with an engaged community or a lead-up is helpful. It helps get your product out there to a larger community. This was very important for Ted. He needed to have this system in place and take advantage of it as a tool. Next time Ted looks to do this, he would like to be more far along in the production process.

His first campaign had production delays. In the future he hopes to have more clarity on his path to production. When your campaign is successful it’s stressful to fulfill commitments. Have a production process in place before your campaign is complete.

Ted developed a prototype and the recipe for beer. He didn’t have the next step of bringing it to a commercial scale. Pitching that it was a non-alcoholic product was also a difficult challenge for Ted. Being first to market created hesitancy from manufacturers.

Once the goal for the campaign was reached, Ted started conversations with brewers. In the brewing industry, it’s very based on the season. He was coming in during springtime when business was picking up and people were too busy. Had he come in the fall it would’ve been better timing for his brand. Having an understanding of the industry and timing is important for any business.\

When you decide to go the crowdfunding route, it’s important to have a structure in place. Have your fulfillment and processes in place to be successful.

 

[21:58] Accident Turned Success Story

Understand what your manufacturing time frame is to know your production time. Give yourself enough time in case there’s any unexpected surprises. Customer fulfillment when you’re first launching a brand is very important. Have the mindset that everything will be twice as much and twice as long as you expect.

It’s not easy to tell your backers there’s going to be a delay. Ted had a production issue with the product not coming out as he wanted the first run. While his design was for a hoppy and bitter beer, it came out too much so. He gave customers the option of receiving the beer they created or waiting for their brand beer. His customers showed happiness towards it and enjoyed the product.

The product is now a part of Ted’s brand. It became a happy and fortunate accident for him.

 

[30:03] From Kickstarter to Dragon’s

Within a month of the Kickstarter campaign Ted had pitched for Dragon’s Den. He utilized his campaign to his advantage when pitching the Dragon’s. It gave his product validation and traction. Everything seemed straight-forward and simple after that. It was a great experience for Ted and he finds great value in it. It made pitching in front of other investors and crowds easier.

 

[34:15] What’s Next for Ted?

Next for Ted is developing an innovative pipeline of new products. He’s expanding his line of non-alcoholic beverages to bring the greatness of non-alcoholic beverages to this market. His goal is to transform this niche and make it better for the future.

 

Episode Outline

Introduction: Building an Unlikely Niche on Kickstarter

[02:33] Why Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

[07:44] Kickstarter Campaign or Community Investment?

[14:30] Expect the Unexpected

[21:58] Accident Turned Success Story

[30:03] From Kickstarter to Dragon’s

[34:15] What’s Next for Ted?

 

Resources and Sponsor

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