A couple of former LifeChurch.tv designers have begun designing toys. I had coffee with James and Chase last week over Skype, and we chatted about their idea and the Kickstarter campaign that first failed, then succeeded.
James Hugo and Chase Layman were a couple of friends working at LifeChurch.tv and they had the idea to build some toys. They weren’t wanting to turn this into a business or even sell the toys to others, they just wanted to make their own toys they could be proud of. Unfortunately, they researched the project and found out how expensive it was – not exactly a hobby activity.
Fast forward a couple of years when they got the itch to start their own company. They’re both entrepreneurs and felt the need to let other leaders step up and fill their roles at the church. So last year they launched Wheelhouse – a graphic design company in Edmond, Oklahoma.
In their new roles at this studio, they found the time to work on their pet project – these steampunk toys. Thus the Rivals project was birthed. And this introduces their first struggle.
They took to Kickstarter to market and sell their product. They knew they needed funding. They set up the site, poured money into advertising, and waited for the dollars to roll in. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter deadline ended and they didn’t get funded. Crash and burn.
A few months later, though, they did another Kickstarter campaign. When this deadline finished, they were 235% funded. Here-in lies the story and the lesson we can learn.
Money and advertising doesn’t help you get the word out. That’s what they tried the first round. But the second time, they worked on relationship. They stopped thinking of their toy as a product to sell, they thought of it as something they wanted to make with the help of other people. They connected with folks on Instagram and Facebook. They let people become part of the project instead of just customers. It became the collective group’s product, not just James and Chase’s. And that made all the difference.
Their product ships in July. And it’s because they brought people into the experience. They made them part of the project.
How are you making your congregation part of your project? How are they buying into the vision – not just your vision, but the collective vision?