For this week’s episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Anine Kirsten of Nimuno Loops. Tune in to learn more about preparing for an Indiegogo campaign, what happens when your campaign goes viral and how to handle massive amounts of backer feedback.

Nimuno Loops – The Toy Block Tape

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • What types of challenges to expect as you’re getting ready for a crowdfunding campaign
  • How to decide if crowdfunding is the right choice for you
  • What happens when your crowdfunding project goes viral on Reddit
  • How to get your Indiegogo project covered by the top media outlets
  • How to handle immense amounts of Indiegogo backer feedback
  • How to best set up your Indiegogo perks

Links

Connect with Nimuno Loops

Sponsors

FIN 2000X2000Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 25% off!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

Transcript

View this episode's transcript

Roy Morejon:

This episode of Art of the Kickstart is sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. Plus, if you want to create and send surveys, offer add-ons, and pledge upgrades, or begin accepting preorders, BackerKit makes it simple. Over 2,000 projects and 4 million backers have used BackerKit, including many of the projects featured on Art of the Kickstart. Ready to try BackerKit? Visit backerkit.com and sign up today.

Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, president of Command Partners, the top full-service crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped raise over $70 million for our clients since 2010. Each week, I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur or a business expert in order to help take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by the Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. To learn more, visit thegadgetflow.com. Let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I am honored to be joined by Anine Kirsten, with Nimuno Loops. Anine, thank you so much for joining us today.

Anine Kirsten:

Hi.

Roy Morejon:

This is an awesome, awesome crowdfunding campaign. Really honored to be speaking with you. I know you and your partner, Max, are professional industrial designers, based down in Cape Town. You came up with this product, basically got it on the homepage of Reddit, which is the internet’s traffic, if you will. Campaign has raised over $1.3 million. Super, super successful. Let’s talk about this project, let’s have a little bit of fun with our audience and talk about, where does this all start besides you being a kid and playing with Legos?

Anine Kirsten:

A buddy of mine actually came up with the seed that planted all of this in New York. We were walking around, and he was like, “Why is nobody making tape for toy bricks?” I was like, “Holy moly, that’s a great idea.” Then took the idea back to Cape Town with me, and the partners and I worked on it. I guess because of my love for Lego as a kid, it was something that I was super excited to work on.

Roy Morejon:

The internet has responded and they are super excited to back this project and bring it to life. Obviously you guys over exceeded your measly $8,000 funding goal, blown that out. Are you guys going to be able to handle the production now on all of these orders that have come in?

Anine Kirsten:

Yes, absolutely. Max and I actually work for a company called Chrome Cherry and they, we, as a company specialize in bringing products to market. This is not our first product that we will be producing. We’ve got our manufacturers lined up and everything’s ready to go. Now, it’s just a question of scaling it up so we can get the backers their products as soon as possible.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, we’ve run into that a lot where maybe all of those things aren’t quite as lined up from campaigners that are first timers, or first time engineers or product developers, trying to become entrepreneurs outside of their day job. That’s great that you guys obviously have that experience and it certainly shows in terms of the development of the campaign, as well as your positioning in the marketplace.

Anine Kirsten:

Thank you.

Roy Morejon:

Let’s talk about the biggest challenge that you guys have encountered so far when designing the product itself.

Anine Kirsten:

For us, it was really nailing the materials. We spent a large portion of our time researching and testing materials that had the properties that we really wanted. We wanted the flexibility, to be able to stick it around corners, but we still wanted it to have a really nice grip on the blocks. That was the hardest part, specifying the materials and finding the properties that we really wanted in the product.

Roy Morejon:

When you guys were developing this product out, how did you decide that Indiegogo or crowdfunding in general was the correct launch path for this product in particular?

Anine Kirsten:

That’s an excellent question. I think we chose this one, we’ve been toying with the idea for a while, and we chose this one because of the vast target market that it potentially had. We’ve got people who grew up with Lego of pretty much every age. You’ve got my parents played with Lego, I played with Lego, and my brother’s kids play with Lego. We thought, what a great way to test the market and to put it out there with this product that specifically, also with internet, you know, it can reach so many people that would love it. We’re seeing the results of it now.

Roy Morejon:

You absolutely are. Backtracking a little, your project made the front page of Reddit pretty soon after launching. Tell our audience a little bit about what happened then and what happened after that.

Anine Kirsten:

Oh, man. I was so busy that day and I wish I could have really experienced it, because that’s definitely a bucket list to be on Reddit. That day was a frenzy. I just started getting phone calls from people. I’m currently in New York, but a lot of my friends are in Cape Town. I just started getting phone calls. I think a lot of us in this day and age, we want to go viral, but it is so stressful. I don’t really know what to tell you. It was a whirlwind, and from there, it just kind of snowballed and went out of control and before you knew it we were pretty much all over the internet. I couldn’t keep up. I’ve got a list of screenshots that I sometimes just go and look at, where we’ve been featured. It’s been wild.

Roy Morejon:

You guys have been all over the place, from Mashable, Nerdist, Gizmodo, Bored Panda, even weather.com picked up your story. Can you believe that?

Anine Kirsten:

That one gets me. How did that happen? “Today, in the weather, Nimuno Loops” …

Roy Morejon:

It’s a great day to be making Legos outside. Have fun with it, right?

Anine Kirsten:

Yeah, exactly.

Roy Morejon:

Was it planned press and coverage or was it kind of luck in terms of getting on the homepage of Reddit and then the snowball effect thereafter?

Anine Kirsten:

I’ll tell you want happened. I went to the toy fair because I wanted to kind of walk around and gauge the … What is the word? The reaction from people towards Nimuno Loops. As I was cruising around there showing people my product, I bumped into Mike from Gizmodo, which was awesome. He gave me his business card and he was like, “keep me up to date with the Indiegogo campaign,” which I think to anyone who’s about to launch an Indiegogo campaign, that’s pretty much solid gold. I couldn’t believe that happened. That’s actually really where it started, because they posted it on Gizmodo and then Nerdist picked it up. That’s how we got into the top tier of the blogs and then it all filtered down, and then Reddit I think just helped, really just spread it. It just spread like wildfire.

Roy Morejon:

We’ve seen Gizmodo be a good springboard to continued press and that domino effect. That’s great that obviously you made contacts there. I was at the toy fair. Quite an interesting experience, in terms of the new innovations that are coming out in the toy market.

Anine Kirsten:

Yeah, it’s rad there, I love it.

Roy Morejon:

Obviously, you guys have had this ultra-successful campaign. Still a bunch of time left. What’s been the biggest surprise outside of what we’ve discussed so far that you’ve encountered during the campaign?

Anine Kirsten:

The biggest surprise. I guess really what surprised me was how many grandparents were buying it. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just didn’t think that a lot of the grandparents would be funding crowdfunding campaigns. I was wrong. There are a lot of rad, hip grandparents out there that are supporting up and coming businesses and want to stay up to date, which is really cool. That was, for me, the biggest surprise.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, yeah, we’re seeing that trend as well, with more of them having a comfort level, if you will, with the crowdfunding platforms that are out there, pre-purchasing products that they can’t quite yet touch or taste, but they know their kids want it, potentially.

Anine Kirsten:

Exactly.

Roy Morejon:

Talk to me a little bit more about your experience with your backers so far. I know you’ve gotten a ton of feedback. How are you going about manufacturing, managing that feedback and taking any of those insights into the campaign in terms of new product or color, etc.?

Anine Kirsten:

Yeah, we’ve had a lot of requests for new colors. We like to take that into consideration. We run the color competitions, which people really like. The backers are extremely supportive. We’ve now got a backer base of at least … We’ve gone beyond, but it’s over 34,000 backers that we have, which is an amazing amount. We’ve been receiving a lot of emails from them and questions, especially about … Let’s say if they want to change their perks, how to go about that. We’ve had to put some systems in place just to keep the communication flowing. Overall, really great experience. I haven’t had a negative interaction. People are just super excited to get their hands on it, which is amazing, because it’s lovely to see so many people react so positively to your project, especially after working on it for so long and not really knowing what people are going to say about it. It’s been wonderful.

Roy Morejon:

If you could do your Indiegogo campaign differently, what would you change?

Anine Kirsten:

That’s a good question. I would keep it more organized. Sometimes I look at it and I feel that it’s a little bit messy, and I can be a little bit of a neat freak. At one point, our perks were a little bit messy to my liking. I think I would have liked to formulate a wording … What’s the word? A wording configuration for the perks to make it really, really clear what the perks contained. I would say, include shipping in your description, because a lot of people can only see the shipping cost once they’ve clicked through. Just small little things like that that you can’t tweak after somebody’s pledged. That’s pretty much what I would do, I think.

Roy Morejon:

Good advice there. Any other advice you would give to someone else looking to crowdfund a toy product, for instance?

Anine Kirsten:

You know, there’s a lot to be said for traditional means of marketing. I think a lot of people get really hung up on trying to cold email people and I find that my absolute best, best result was from getting in front of someone, meeting them face to face, and showing them my product, and getting them excited about it. That was the most successful. There’s a lot to be said for that old school approach to marketing, I think.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Almost a lost art these days with all of our social media interactions and hiding behind mobile screens and laptop computers.

Anine Kirsten:

Exactly.

Roy Morejon:

What’s next when this project ends?

Anine Kirsten:

We’ve got a big announcement coming next week. You guys must keep an eye on the Indiegogo campaign. We are planning a bunch of products that we want to launch, that really expand the capabilities of Nimuno Loops and the way that Nimuno Loops interact with building blocks, which is really exciting. This is just the start. I’m ecstatic about how this is going, because if I can keep working on this for a long time, I’d be a very happy camper.

Roy Morejon:

I think all of your happy campers are going to be your customers when they get to play with these things at home with their kids.

Anine Kirsten:

I can’t wait for them to get them.

Roy Morejon:

This gets us into our Launch Round, where I’m going to rapid fire a few questions at you. Are you good to go?

Anine Kirsten:

Oh my gosh, okay. Are they like one word answers?

Roy Morejon:

Sure, yeah, as short or as long as you’d like. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Anine Kirsten:

Success.

Roy Morejon:

If you could play Legos with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Anine Kirsten:

Oh my gosh. What about … Any entrepreneur? This is hard. I don’t know. What about the founder of Lego?

Roy Morejon:

There we go. You’re with the founder of Lego just building some castles. What would be your first question, then?

Anine Kirsten:

What is your favorite thing about your product?

Roy Morejon:

Who did you look up to when you were growing up?

Anine Kirsten:

My father, definitely. My parents, and Action Man.

Roy Morejon:

Fair enough. What business book or life book would you recommend to our audience?

Anine Kirsten:

That’s a good one. Sure, I don’t know. What business book or life book?

Roy Morejon:

Any book.

Anine Kirsten:

Any book. This is very hard question for me. I’m going to skip this one, unfortunately.

Roy Morejon:

Fair enough.

Anine Kirsten:

You blindsided me, you blindsided-

Roy Morejon:

Get you on the spot, that’s the nature of this interview, right? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Anine Kirsten:

Running a very successful company.

Roy Morejon:

I’m sure you will be. Last question in the Launch Round, you’re doing great. What is the future of crowdfunding look like?

Anine Kirsten:

Oh, bright. Very, very bright.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. This has been great. I truly appreciate it. Your campaign is killing it. Please, give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy the product.

Anine Kirsten:

Hi guys, Amine here from Nimuno Loops. We can build toy building blocks or Lego, Kre-O, Mega Bloks, on any surface now. We do have to be restrained by flat, plain or square, base plates. We can build anywhere. Go and check us out on Indiegogo. It’s Nimuno Loops, and we’d love to see you there and I cannot wait to see what you guys are going to do with it.

Roy Morejon:

Anine, you have been great. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all the show notes, a full transcript, links to everything we talked about today, and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Anine, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Anine Kirsten:

It has been an honor. Thank you for inviting me.

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a better business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter Guide to Crushing It. If you loved this episode, leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find the show, and helps us get better guests on here to help build your business. If you need a more hands-on crowdfunding strategy, please feel free to request a quote on commandpartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, we’ll see you soon.