A year ago I did a first sale shoutout on the podcast for Kris Cody from PAKAApparel.com. His product and website were impressive, especially for a new eCommerce store.
Fast forward several months and an awesome Kickstarter campaign caught my eye. It was Kris’ campaign which closed at $350,000. Not bad at all for someone new to the eCommerce game.
Most six-figure crowd funding campaigns pay a premium price in paid traffic to hit their mark. But not Kris. He accomplished it 100% organically.
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- How he used brand ambassadors to build a prelaunch list offline
- His secret for getting celebrities and professional athletes to promote his products for free
- How he generated $300K+ on Kickstarter without any paid traffic
Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.
Hey guys, it’s Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And on the show, I’ve got Kris Cody from pakaapparel.com who sells really high-quality hand-made alpaca clothing from Peru. And Kris actually just finished up a Kickstarter campaign that raised about $350,000. And two things to that to me that were really impressive about that. One, Kris is relatively new.
He actually just got his first sale shoutout on the podcast, this podcast, about a year ago. So he hasn’t been doing it too long. And secondly, and even more impressively, I would say, he managed to get that purely based on his efforts in the offline realm. He didn’t pay for traffic, he didn’t have a massive email list.
So many of the six and seven figure Kickstarter campaigns we see now really are fueled by either massive existing followings or people who spend a lot of money to pay to drive traffic to their listings. And Kris didn’t do either of those. He really had, kind of, a cool Richard Branson gorilla style in real life approach to building buzz about his campaign and connecting with people.
So I wanted to bring him on the show to talk about how he did that and talk about also his experience building his brand and this company because he’s a cool guy, he’s got a cool story, he really had a lot of hustling grit to make it happen on the ground. And so we talk about that a little bit too. So I hope you enjoy it and I’ll go ahead and get right into the discussion with Kris.
But before we can start it, I do wanna quickly thank our sponsors for the show that make it possible, Liquid Web who is offering now a complete managed solution for WooCommerce. So if you’re on WooCommerce and you’ve got a meaningful store and you wanna make sure it’s on a rock solid foundation, you need to look at their offering.
Two big reasons why, one, it’s highly scalable and elastic. So when you run that promo, when you get featured by Oprah, when you go live on Hacker News or viral, rather, it’s gonna be able to handle the flood of traffic and users that comes so that you can make money when you have the best opportunity to.
And secondly, it’s got an entire suite tools that allow you to performance test your store. They have an entire catalogue of data sets, almost like phantom shoppers that come to your store and can do everything from try to have 10 concurrent people use a coupon code or 15 people try to place orders at once to stress test to make sure that not only are you set in the bandwidth side, but you’re set on the data, the database, back and forth side to make sure you’re gonna be great and solid.
So if that sounds interesting to you, if you got a meaningful store on Woo, these are the guys you wanna chat with. Learn more about them at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.
And then secondly, I wanna thank Klaviyo who makes email automation easy and powerful. This is who I use with Right Channel Radios when I had a meaningful email marketing campaign to send out, and fantastic platform. Their killer feature, if you’re not familiar with them, is just the ability to allow you to create automated segments using just about any kind of metric you could imagine.
They pull in data about your customers, their purchase history, what products they purchased, how much they’ve purchased, and that suite of data combined with some of their automation that lets you create segments of people that, maybe they’re your best customers, segments of people that have purchased product X but not Y that you can follow up with an email.
It allows you do some really amazing things and create some flows that are automated and just run. Once you set them up, they run indefinitely and just more or less bring you sales without having to think about them. So check them out. You can start with the free trial at klaviyo.com.
Post Campaign Update
Andrew:All right. Thank you to both our sponsors. With that being said, let’s go ahead and get into my discussion today with Kris. So Kris, I wanna dive into the whole story, of course, and go deep, but maybe before we do, where are you at right now? What did you just wrap up with on the Kickstarter side? Can you talk about what happened last couple weeks, last month?
Kris: Sure. Yeah. So just yesterday I got back to Cusco working at production because we launched this Kickstarter in the end of September just a 30-day campaign just by word of mouth organically. It kinda really surpassed our goal to 1,700% percent, I think of it, raised 347,000 in that amount of time. So I’ve been scaling production and hiring more women weavers and definitely taking another step to deliver. So that’s, kind of, where I’m at right now, is in the midst of making sure hundreds of sweaters, quality control and are the way I want them to be.
Andrew: And you’re actually on the ground right now in a hotel in Cusco. And it was funny because we can…maybe you can even still hear it a little bit, if you’re listening, kind of, the silverware they’re cleaning in the background. You pick hotels based purely on the Wi-Fi there, right?
Kris: It’s so hard to find strong Wi-Fi in Cusco. So I will go undercover as if I’m staying in them and go to places that have the strongest Wi-Fi when I need to crank out some work for sure. And then I don’t have an international plan. So when I am on the ground with the weavers and everything, like, I was just there an hour ago working on the softening process.
And it’s awesome to be off the grid too, it allows me to single-task, which is something I lose when I’m back in United States and it’s just easy to get caught up in multitasking. So it’s definitely a blessing at the same time.
Before Paka Apparel
Andrew: So let’s talk about what you were doing before you even started Paka Apparel. What were you doing before you kinda got the bug to start the business and before you got running and even at earlier stages? Were you in school? Were you working? Where were you?
Kris: Yes, I took a gap year before going to university to work and travel through South America. And for me it was definitely an eye-opening experience. I had to fund and pay for the entire trip. And so that was kinda the first step out into the great outdoors. And going through Peru, I came across Aplaca wool and this alpaca sweater that this grandmother had woven, and I was blown away by how soft it was and lightweight. And my trip was pretty much based around adventure, everything from teaching surfing lessons to skiing.
And in South America, the topology changes so drastically that you’ll be in the Andes mountains 15,000 feet and then on the beach. And so because of that, the sweater happened to fit my lifestyle perfectly because that’s also, kind of, the climate that it evolved in for thousands of years.
So I was blown away by it. I got back into the United States, started my first year at uni, and every single time I would wear the sweater out, people would always come up and ask me where it came from and where they could get one. So I guess there was no, like, aha moment, but I bought a one-way ticket to Cusco last summer to, kind of, just figure out and learn more. I thought maybe I’d bulk ship some back to the United States, and then Paka began.
Andrew: So how did you find that first sweater? Was it just at a market or something that you were going through a bazaar, or was it at a store you went into? And then when you went back too, did you go back and connect with that same person that sowed it or did you try to find a larger organization that could sow it for you?
Kris: So yeah, just an artisan market. And then when I got back down, I had zero connections, and it’s, kind of, blown me away now learning, you know, sources to find, just all of these different paths that people can take to find manufacturers and how for me, it was literally just showing up on people’s doors and speaking in my rusty Spanish and trying to just learn more about the sweater and material and ancient dyes, all of that.
And so I would bust out for eight hours to some village with a woman’s name on a sheet of paper. And sometimes it would turn into a lead, sometimes it wouldn’t.
But eventually I began to create a team of weavers and we would go over to their house in the morning and work on designs and prototypes, and try to create a blend between, or merge two different worlds into a product and something communicating to them what was a modern product and something I was looking to make and then understanding their methods and proclivities and limitations along with that.
How Kris Found His Artisans
Andrew: So, hopefully, I’m belaboring this too much, but it’s really interesting to me. How do you… So you land the second, you know you wanna make a sweater then you landed back in Cusco. Where, that first person you bought it from is, you know, maybe you go back and track them down. It sounds like you didn’t. You were just working from scratch. Where did you…and you didn’t know anyone there, you’re at the airport, what do you do next? Did you have some names of people that maybe…
Did you just go to an artisan market that next day or two, look at some stuff, ask some questions, ask if she knew or he knew anybody, and then just kinda spider-web from there? Is that how it worked?
Kris: Yep. Yeah, absolutely. And you start off with a lot of energy and then it becomes this extremely lonely process for two months just trying to create something that doesn’t exist and it’s totally a dream. And so because of that, when you don’t have connections it’s just a lot, lot harder and you really have to push through to figure out who or just find leads and make sure that you’re on track to where you wanna go.
Andrew: Got you. Cool. So with your team, how did you get from, you know, those early leads where you just had one or two leads on the ground to having a team that can produce for you now? Do you have…how many weavers do you have and are they all contractor? Are they all on the same city where, fast forward, you know, 12 to 18 months? What does the team look like that you ended up building to actually create the product?
Kris: Yeah, so, again, not a typical manufacturing relationship. I mean, last summer, I’d cook eggs for the kids and we’d hang out and really just became family, spending every single day together. So because of that, it’s been an amazing amount of trust and got them cell phones and we communicate on a daily basis and moving forward to where we’re at now, it was about, kind of, picking one person to, kind of, manage and oversee everything, who’s just this great guy.
And it’s been very difficult because in Peru everything is, “Mañana,” and finding people who understand deadlines and quality and stuff is definitely a journey in itself.
But now we’re employing 10 women full-time, but all different parts and aspects of the sweater come from different places. So for instance, the design, the Inca design on the side of the sweater comes from this place out in the outskirts of Cusco called Chinchero, and that is a center of hundreds of women weavers who basically are weaving beads and bracelets and everything. And then in terms of the actual sweater being made is in Cusco.
And the atmosphere is basically like these women’s kids running around during the day and people cooking lunch and bringing it. And it’s so cool to, kind of, experiment with creating a manufacturing center and guide it so that way it’s at our… The atmosphere is what we’re trying to create and fun and a place where they wanna work essentially, because before…
The idea is that we’re providing them with the opportunity to do something they love and it’s passionate skilled work, it’s from their ancestors and traditions, everything from the dying to the weaving methods have come from the Inca. And so it’s in their blood and something they’re very passionate about.
Andrew: So it sounds like you’ve got kinda one main person that’s overseeing. You’ve got some kind of building or facility or factory, and then you’ve brought in a lot of people under one roof. And so most of your… It’s not like the production is happening at each individual home. You do have one center where everything is being made that you, kind of, are running at least or have someone managing for you.
Kris: Right. Exactly, but like for instance, then the women take 50 sweaters back to their house overnight just to sow some parts of the sweater by hand and bring back in the morning. And so it has a lot of moving parts, which is cool, but it’s a great team where it’s at right now.
From First Sale Shoutout to Kickstarter Success
Andrew: That’s cool. So what happened? When was it that… Because one of the reasons it’s been cool getting to know you Kris or at least to follow your story because this is the first time we’ve actually had a chance to talk, but getting to know or follow your story over the last 18 months or so, because you first came on my radar when you reached out for, I think it was, like, a first sale shoutout. When was that? Was that a year ago? Was that a year and a half ago?
Kris: That was a year. I would say probably a year and a month ago. That meant so much to me just to be on your podcast, the fact that you cared. It’s that, like, it was just, kind of, manifested this more as something that I could create and was respected. So I cannot thank you enough. I basically was just…I’m a full-time neuroscience student.
I would be in my lab doing whatever kind of mindless work, whether counting cells or working on the cryostat or whatever and listening to your podcasts. And it just eventually turned me into a different mindset where I saw this as something that could be a lifestyle and everyone who you had on the podcast was very motivating.
And so to be accepted by that community was so cool for me. And actually I was contacted by this guy, Nico, who was passing through Cusco this summer because he heard that first sale shoutout, and also just this college dropout, e-commerce fanatic, that now is doing amazing things.
He’s literally traveling the world and just running, I think Amazon fulfillment through his laptop while funding his journey. And so it’s so cool that all those worlds connected and we were able to meet up and get to know each other. So I really respect that community that you’re building and everything. It’s so cool.
Dealing with Customs
Andrew: Well, thanks, man. And you have nothing to thank me for. I remember looking at your, that first sale shoutout and looking at your website and thinking, “Holy cow. Like, this is an amazing website for, you know, just getting out of the gates.” You had put a ton of work into it and it showed.
So you had mentioned that getting it out of Lima, that port was really tricky and hinged on having good relationships with the customs agents there. Do you have any anecdotes or stories, or even just lessons learned about how to do that well?
And did you become BFFs with one of the customs agents there, like, through figuring something out about them or just befriending them? Or did you rely on just existing relationships, like for example, that woman who was exporting horses had already in place?
Kris: So that first again, last fall, gosh, I’m trying to deal with what customs want, it was a nightmare because Cusco, like, they would want paperwork that we didn’t have and we didn’t know what they were looking for. And it’s basically, like, as official of a document that you couldn’t make, they wanna see.
And I just remembered trying to create documents that they wanted and overnight mail them to Lima and on time. It was just a logistical nightmare to get it up to their standards. So having been introduced to someone who just has amazing relations with customs has been a big leg up so that we are able to provide them with what they’re looking for, and then they handle the rest, which is where we’re currently at as a courier service.
An Ability to Connect
Andrew: Kris, and one thing you seem to be really good at, a trend I’ve noticed in just researching this interview and also just following on your story is you have a really great knack and ability to be able to connect with high-level people and get them on board with your vision and to help you promote your company, which is really cool.
And I’d love to, just, kind of, three examples I’d love to dive into, the Chainsmokers, the band, to kinda rep your sweater, pro surfer Leah Dawson as well and then you had a phenomenal video which is your Kickstarter video. We’ll link up to it if you haven’t seen it. It’s highly recommended. It’s about as well done as a video could be, just gorgeous.
And you had a very high-end VR for doing that, and I think he…and you got it done at a very reasonable price. And so anyway, I’d love to walk through those. So like for example, the Chainsmokers, how did you get them to rep the product?
Kris: Yeah. So one of them is from where I’m in Maine, and that was the initial family contact. And then basically just sending them some cool custom sweater, and like Underlay’s beanie. And then I remember being in, like, Intro Chem freshman year, and getting a message from one of my friends that was a screenshot of their Snapchat, and they were in Amsterdam wearing the beanie, like, going around at the site.
And then seeing a photo of them with Hardwell who’s this also famous electronic producer. They were wearing Paka. So it was super cool and motivating to see that logo on someone of that caliber.
Andrew: And did you, when you sent it over…because imagine people get pitched on repping stuff and, you know, “Pitch our product, and please take a picture of this and Instagram,” all the time. So did you do anything special when you sent it over or did you, you know, like send it over in a four foot by four foot, you know, crate that you had to pry it with a crowbar, something that unusual or did you just kinda send it in the post, normal style, with a little note and the product spoke for itself?
Kris: Sent it in a wine box. But I think social media and the whole interaction with influencers and just interactions, in general, has become super monetized. It’s like, okay, for this post, I’m going to charge this much. And people obviously do that. And for me, it’s been about just building a personal relationship with some people and not asking them to post.
Basically, they should just like the product. And so the fact that, for instance, Chase the Rapper and all of the influencers that we haven’t paid have repped the sweaters, it kind of testifies just to them being organic in what they’re looking for and the product speaking for itself and then just putting it in their hands at the right time.
How He Nabbed a Pro Surfer
Andrew: So what about the surfer Leah Dawson, again, same kind of thing. I’m guessing, probably under the same philosophy. But how did you, how did you do it? Did you just mail it to her and it worked out beautifully or was there a little more to it behind that?
Kris: She’s so cool. She’s basically this whole…I mean, there’s definitely not one category. She’s an activist, she’s pro-surfer, she’s part of all these awesome women communities that are doing amazing things around the world.
And I originally reached out probably around the same time as that first sale shoutout and she was really just open to it. We had a couple of great phone calls and talking about music. She’s this awesome singer that isn’t promoting herself as a singer, and I love music too, I play the mandolin.
And so kinda just connecting on a more personal basis with these kinds of people, and then when the video came around and the idea to have her be a part of it, because that is, kind of, the lifestyle and fit for this kind of a product. She was so open to it. I mean, it just happened to fit into her schedule perfectly.
She travels around the world all the time, and it was just one day. I wasn’t there, I was in Peru, but to have people just naturally motivated to be a part of the video and everything else with Paka has been super cool to see come to fruition.
Andrew: So what I’m hearing is it sounds like you’re good at reaching out, you’re good at building a natural, organic, like, real relationships versus trying to just have a really quid pro quo where you’re cooking them up for stuff or paying them for mentions and…
Kris: Right. And not being intimidated, you know.
A High-Quality Video Without The Premium Price
Andrew: What about the last one? So the video like I alluded to, I mean, if I had to guess, that looks like a $20,000 to $30,000 video, if not more, in terms of just the different locations you’ve shot, the quality, the B-roll, it’s B-roll that you guys…it’s not like you got B-roll from some website, it’s very custom B-roll that you guys shot. And I’m guessing you didn’t pay 30k for it. Correct me if I’m wrong.
How did you…who was it that…tell me how the video came to be and how you are able to, as someone who’s bootstrapping their business, get something of that quality done and connect with a person to do it as well as they did because really it was just incredible? What’s the story there?
Kris: So actually, I’ve just been talking to people who have seen the video who do a lot of video productions, they…I mean, that could easily be a six-figure budget as well because we shot it on an Alexa, which is just the craziest 4K camera, like what movies are shot on. And the lenses and everything were so spectacular. And obviously, you know, the Andes Mountains just shoots itself. It’s just the most beautiful place. So the DP is the DP for Chefs Table on that show.
Andrew: And DP is Director of Photography, right?
Kris: Exactly. The one who’s actually taking those shots and out there with the camera. That came through a mutual connect of the directors of the video who, I was…basically just through cold calling, contacted to…they’re based out of Los Angeles as a part of RadicalMedia. And I think more than anything Andrew, they just fed off my inspiration as this 20-year old kid who wanted to bring them to South of America to see this beautiful place and tell the story.
And they’re just of such high caliber that…I mean, their videos, for instance, they shoot people such as Pusha T and Kanye West and they…big commercials and with huge budgets.
And for them, it was just the experience of getting them down to Cusco and telling a story together once we were able to connect through some Skype calls. And then the actual video, I came up with, kind of, like a royalty off the Kickstarter. And so it did do amazingly well, and because of that, they have been rewarded as they deserve to be.
And what’s really cool is that, number one, we never even made a contract. Like, they, up until I transferred the money, we were just on, like, a word basis, and that was just the coolest thing ever to finally pay them and to have created this project without a contract, which for me, was just an experience having gotten into contracts recently and then seeing, kind of, how to speak on someone of that professional, just caliber, this level.
So they’ve been getting a lot of contacts now from people who want to do Kickstarter videos and stuff, and I’ve just been advising them to, you know, that this was an unexpected success and maybe like a 0.01%. So just to be cautious with Kickstarter videos.
The Cost of a Kickstarter
Andrew: So how did you set that up in terms of… That’s amazing. So everything, like, all of their costs for flying down there for shooting the video, that was all baked into a royalty based on how well you did on the first Kickstarter?
Kris: No. So actually, like, all of the transportation costs and everything associated with that travel, I covered upfront, obviously. And man, that was from taking out of my college account. And up until that Kickstarter money was deposited I’ve been, like, just complete train wreck because it’s been crazy, like, I wouldn’t have been able to finish college if I didn’t for some reason it was canceled or something.
So I’ve definitely jumped off a cliff in a couple of areas, but yes. So now that I was moving forward and things came together, I’m just so grateful for everyone who has supported this and, kind of, been a part of it along the way.
Andrew: That’s so cool, man. I’d say a gutsy move. Congratulations, especially as it paid out on the back side, for sure. I wanna talk about the Kickstarter as we kinda start wrapping things up here. Maybe pre-Kickstarter, so let’s say the summer, let’s say summer of 2017, August, you know, September before you launched, how much revenue were you generating on the website?
Kris: Yes, I guess not expected route. So no, like, I actually wouldn’t take a sale, I think for like five months before the Kickstarter. You couldn’t even get one on the website. And what I did with the leftover inventory from last fall is create a brand ambassador program. And that was because out of all my research on Kickstarter and just that overwhelming amount of articles that tell you what to do for a Kickstarter, the one thing that it kinda boiled down for me was emails.
And working backward from a number like, “Okay, if you have this many emails that are real, obviously, then this is the percentage that you could have of backers,” right? And so I, kind of, work backwards from a number and created a brand ambassador program of all these college kids who were motivated by the mission and wanted to put something on their resume to get emails and table with that leftover inventory kinda just fronting that.
And so coming basically back to the whole, you know, no investment, it was, like, I have this leftover inventory, how could I put it best to use to motivate this next project I wanna do and build our email list? And so by the time we launched, we had a solid email list, and…
Andrew: So Kris, sorry to interrupt, but I lost you there and I wanna understand this. So you had the inventory and you wanted to build a brand, you wanted to build an email list. How did you convert that inventory into email list? Did you have that tables on campus and you were, like, giving away contests, like, “Hey, sign up. Give me your email and I’ll enter you to win?” How did that work?
Kris: No. So for every brand ambassador that we accepted into our program, we would give a sweater to. And the deal was that you have to get x amount of emails if you wanted to be a brand ambassador that summer, and that’s by tabling at whatever your college or university or even like a city. And so by the time that we launched, I think we had 40 brand ambassadors and lot of applications.
How To Be a Brand Ambassador
Andrew: So what would people…so that makes sense. So when they were… Let’s say I wanna be a brand ambassador, I’ve got a table somewhere. How do I…what am I…if there’s someone walking by and then I’m not giving them sweaters, so I don’t have anything to offer them, how do I, as someone who’s trying to become a brand ambassador and get free swag from you and also rep your stuff, how do I convince some random stranger to sign up for an email list about, really, do I just start tell them about the brand and the vision and what’s going on and kinda pitch it and then asking them if they wanna be interested, just sign up for the email list?
Kris: Yeah. So I coded this pre-launch domain with some friends that was like, okay, anyone can be rewarded for getting emails. And so if you signed up to that pre-launch site, at pakaprelaunch.com, then you would get…like for 10 emails, you would get this Aplaca wool from Peru.
I think 40 emails was like a free beanie from a new collection, 70 emails was like a sweater from our last collection. And so there was like a tier based system for anyone who wanted to get emails and that, kind of, just extrapolated itself. And then on top of that, you know, like a sticker we had for email or whatever else.
Andrew: And how many emails were you able to generate with this approach?
Kris: Almost 5,000 in a couple of months. So nothing crazy, but it definitely helped.
Creating Hype With Actual Inventory
Andrew: Wow, okay. But for doing it in real life, that’s pretty impressive. Very close to it. So that you didn’t have…so you were using all your inventory for this, so you really weren’t focusing on the website sales pretty much. You were really trying to build up the brand ambassadorship, kind of, the word of mouth and really position yourself well for the Kickstarter. Is that fair?
Kris: Absolutely fair, just creating as much fake hype as possible for the launch.
Andrew: Okay, cool. So telling about the Kickstarter. So you’ve got the email list, you’ve got some brand ambassadors. What other, if any, prep or marketing, like, pre-marketing did you do before you hit the button and you went live to, kind of, prime the pump?
Kris: Yes. So I really believe that Kickstarters are friend funding, and it’s really about your community that believes in you to bring a project to fruition. And so more than anything, your closest friends and family on day one, which is, like, the most important day, are going to back it. And before then I was, like, okay, we need to hit, you know, whatever percentage of our goal, I think we were trying to get, like, 40% of our goal for 20,000 on the first day. And so we worked backwards and basically got people to confirm that they would back it, sending exclusive whatever to them.
And then on launch day, I also threw this huge launch party at this big venue in Charlottesville where I go to school with actual alpacas. And I convinced this local alpaca farmer to bring these alpacas, like, the nicest lady ever. And we put alpacas on the deck of this venue where thousands of undergrads walkthrough. And just seeing the reactions was the most amazing thing walking around the corner and we put alpacas at this bar, which probably wasn’t even fair with regulations.
Okay. But it was just really cool, in order to enter the party which I had created an open bar for, you had to back the Kickstarter to, I think, at least $5. And so it was, like, support this and hanging with alpacas, and so many college girls wanted a selfie with the alpaca. So it worked out great. I think on the first day, we did like 45,000 in 24 hours so…
Zero Paid Advertising
Andrew: That’s amazing. I mean, this is cool Kris because so many people… You didn’t do paid advertising on, you know, you didn’t hire an agency to juice up your campaign after that first couple of things with paid advertising, did you?
Kris: Not at all. No, it was completely word of mouth. And I was obviously approached by a lot of agencies who you either give them, like, you front the capital and they take a percentage off the direct referral link for which they generate backers or they front the capital, and they take a huge organic percentage. And so for me, it was, like, you know, first of all, we’re not sourcing from Alibaba, like, our margins aren’t good enough for that.
And then second of all, I just wanted to see… The rate it was growing, like, 10,000 a day, it was like, “Why would…can we even produce this? What are our limits?” We had to create two extra shipping dates in January and March. And I just didn’t wanna be greedy with getting this to a place that I couldn’t fulfill my most quality product.
And so I would love to have all of these backers be treated as kings and create an amazing package for them and have them all become self-evangelists as we move forward rather than commercializing this to a point that we’re not really building a brand, you know.
Andrew: What’s…you know, you’re on the back end of this, you got 350k’ish, a Kickstarter in the bag and now here comes the even harder part having to deliver on this. What’s causing you stress right now with wrapping up this Kickstarter?
Kris: Well, to begin with, so for anyone who’s wanting to launch a Kickstarter, we had, like, maybe 100 filled credit cards, and then Kickstarter 5% off the bat and then Amazon I think takes 3% to 4%. So what’s deposited into your bank account isn’t the amount that’s shown. And then just really being on top of the game. So for instance, while the Kickstarter was running, you know, like, I stupidly in the video I was like, “This will show up at your doorstep by the end of November,” not knowing that it would have gotten to even close to this amount.
And so I had to start production of just the wool while the Kickstarter was running and dedicate most of my energy to making sure production was on schedule and taking loans from friends, stuff like that to now have…I think we’re at like 800 sweaters right now. And knock on wood, it’s been pretty…there have been definitely some kinks in production, but nothing that’s been overburdening.
And He’s a Musician Too!
Andrew: Well Kris, this has been cool. Any chance we can get…I know you play music and even do electronic music stuff. Any chance I can follow up with you and get some of your music that we can play this, end the show on here?
Kris: Absolutely. I could definitely make something for even the show if you dig. I made the music just for the video and stuff. And so I’m, kind of, about making like a blend between acoustic instruments and electronic production.
Andrew: Very, very cool. So we’ll…the music you’re hearing cueing up right now is from Kris. Kris, this has been awesome. I love what you’ve done. It’s cool to see your hustle especially at your age and what you’ve been able to accomplish with, with Paka Apparel. And if you haven’t seen him, check him out, pakaapparel.com, we’ll link up to it in the show notes. And Kris, I’m really excited to see what you do in the coming years, man.
Kris: That’s an honor. Thank you so much.
Andrew: That’s gonna do it for this week. But if you’re interested in connecting with other e-commerce entrepreneurs who are in the trenches actually making stuff happen and have experience getting their hands dirty, come join us inside the eCommerceFuel private forum. It’s a vetted community for high six, seven and eight-figure e-commerce store owners. And to be a member we do require that you own an e-commerce business that does at least a quarter million dollars in sales.
Our average member has a business that does right around the million dollar mark. So it’s a community of people really making the stuff happen with experience in the trenches. And if that sounds interesting to you, you can learn more and apply at ecommercefuel.com. Thanks so much for listening and looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.