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Hey all, I started the company formerly known as From Holden (we're renaming), and wrote all the copy for the Kickstarter campaign. I posted a reply on Dan's blog, would love to answer any other questions or hear any other thoughts there or here!


In that post, your response to the risks section is that "there is literally no chance we're going to fail at delivering incredibly crafted shirts to all our backers." That is so completely disconnected from the world of reality that it shows a tremendous lack of foresight. Read literally any prospectus for companies much more proven and stable than yours and you'll see a litany of legitimate risks surrounding the business. Yours is no different. As a company who has, by definition, never done this before, your risks are quite high.

What if the fabric from your supplier is inconsistent in quality, do you have another supplier? What if your estimates are off, and labor+fabric costs more than $8, will your margins allow you to deliver? What if every other large manufacturer has discovered that the cheaper labor available overseas more than offsets the increased shipping costs? What if your manufacturer has a work stoppage, do you have another manufacturer you can turn to of high quality? What if their factory burns down? What if their quality is inconsistent? What if they don't deliver finished goods on time? What if your fabric gets damaged en route, do you have insurance?

I know next to nothing about clothing manufacturing, and I just listed more risks than you did. The risks section is not intended to be an exercise in braggadocio.

Trey, I'm not saying there are no risks -- there are. I promise there will be hiccups along the way, anything you mentioned could happen. As an entrepreneur, I work as hard as I can to mitigate these risks by having multiple mills, sewing contractors, etc. but shit WILL happen. What I meant is that, no matter what happens, I'm going to make and deliver high quality shirts. Small hiccups will happen, but the only thing that makes us fail is me giving up, and that isn't going to happen.

I'm sure you mean well, but people as capable as you have gone into business with the same intentions and failed.

Not to mention, the Kickstarter's "risks" section is precisely meant for what you just wrote above.

shit WILL happen.

The reason why the question about risks is asked is because one way you can tell a person with experience from a person without is that the person with experience can speak about risks in more detail than "shit happens." They can enumerate specific risks, make general predictions about which risks are more likely to hit them than others, and estimate the costs that would be incurred should such a hit happen. This indicates that the person has been around the block a few times and knows how to differentiate between large, real, business-killing risks and more theoretical ones.

The opposite approach is to make bold statements like "no matter what happens, I'm going to make and deliver high quality shirts" with an obligatory disclaimer like "small hiccups will happen" tacked on afterwards. This communicates that you're aware that risks exist, but not what exactly they are, or which ones are the most dangerous to your business. Which sends the message that you haven't been around the block a few times. To be frank, it sounds like amateur hour.

It doesn't surprise me that a potential backer would prefer the first type of response over the second. I would too.

I posted an updated Risks section and will be continuing to add to it and edit. Any feedback very welcome!

Definitely, working on a more accurate risks section now!

I think you're getting somewhere, but I'd say you still have a ways to go.

I don't back a Kickstarter campaign because I want one of the things they're selling. If I want that, I'll just wait. I do it because I want to back the venture.

You write: "To build a revolutionary product, we knew we had to build a next-generation apparel manufacturer from the ground up, tailored entirely to the way men want to shop." And then your risks section is mostly about the risks of selling one batch of shirts. There is such a vast amount of hype and haziness on the Kickstarter page that I have no confidence that you guys know what you're doing.

It's a five-person company that needed to raise $5,000 just to buy fabric? You guys seriously couldn't come up with that kind of dough directly? Or from friends? Or put it on your credit cards? It just makes no sense to me.

I figure the reason it makes no sense is that you're not actually using Kickstarter to kick-start the company. Instead, I guess you're using Kickstarter as the pop marketing channel du jour, a way to take pre-orders and get some hype. So naturally it wouldn't make sense.

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