Success on crowdfunding site for travel bag idea
A young Nelson entrepreneur's crowdfunding campaign to sell a custom-designed travel bag has raised more than $400,000 - about 11 times its initial funding goal.
A month ago, travel company Minaal, co-founded by Nelsonian Jimmy Hayes, 29, launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
The funding goal of US $30,000 was reached in just six hours, and strong interest continued through the month, with the campaign being featured on the "staff picks" section of the site.
The campaign closed at 2am New Zealand time, with a final tally of 1634 backers who pledged a total of US$341,393 - or NZ$401,484.
People who pledged more than US$199 received one of the bags, so the final total meant an order of more than 1400 bags.
Mr Hayes said he was "absolutely floored" by the interest, which had actually picked up towards the end of the campaign.
"Just when we thought we'd have some idea where we'd end up in terms of support, the last few days have blown that prediction out of the water." The support was a justification for the years he and co-founder Doug Barber, from Whangarei, had put into the project.
They founded their company after travelling around North America together and finding they needed lighter travel gear that was easier to use.
Once the prototype was created, they moved to Asia to find suppliers, settling on a factory which offered ethical, Bluesign-certified manufacturing processes. Three months ago the team moved to the United States to start "hustling" and promoting the product, before launching the Kickstarter in the middle of September.
Mr Hayes said the $30,000 target had been a serious goal, and right up until launch they had been making contingency plans in case it looked like they would not reach that point.
But they had also planned for "wild success", so they were able to serve the project, no matter how many backers.
During the campaign, the pair spent hours responding to a deluge of comments and questions, typing madly late into the night, he said.
Now that the campaign was over, he and Mr Barber, both based in Vietnam, would be travelling to Thailand for a business conference, then taking some time off before they began the manufacturing process.
The Minaal ProTravel Carry-on Bag has the maximum allowable dimensions for aircraft carry-on luggage, opens flat to be packed like a suitcase, and has a waterproof cover. Its straps can zip away, and there is a separate, lockable compartment for electronics, making it easier to remove laptops for airport security checks.
Kickstarter announced earlier this week that it would be launching to Kiwi-based projects from November 13.
- © Fairfax NZ News