Some people warned me of the roller coaster ride that is a crowdfunding campaign.
(I write this post from the backseat of our packed-tight minivan, en route from Des Moines to Philadelphia with The Lion King. My two kiddos are thankfully snoring peacefully, my cat’s curled up in my lap, I can’t feel my feet and there’re 10+ hours left to go. Please forgive typos, non-sequitors and overall rambling!)
Where was I? Ah yes, the roller coaster. Here’s the thing: no one said that I’d be riding in the front car, with many friends and family filling up the rest of the cars, screaming and gasping along with me on the twists and turns. This fervor and support have been tremendous, and overwhelming — the magnitude of which I haven’t wrapped my head around yet, as I chug forward with the daily details.
While it’s true that I’ve been working my tail off with this one-woman operation, while balancing motherhood and travel/transition, some epic things fortunately fell into my lap. Here they are!
1) A FORBES REVIEW. My best friend and newswoman Mitra Kalita connected me with her colleague Jenn Choi, a children’s play and productivity columnist for Forbes.com and blogger on Toys Are Tools. I was simply hoping Jenn could help me brainstorm some PR/marketing pitches to other media outlets. As I explained my journey in creating the Mamachic to her, she became intrigued and asked me to send her a sample. Upon receiving it, she told me she loved her Mamachic, called it magic, and the next day I was featured in Forbes.
2) GOOD MORNING AMERICA’S SHARK TANK WIN. A producer from ABC’s Good Morning America found the Mamachic Kickstarter page and emailed me, asking if I’d be willing to be in a Shark Tank segment with a Mother’s Day theme. Uh, does a fish have lips? YES YES YES!!! Equal parts terrifying and enthralling, I was reeling with figuring out details when she came back to me and said they changed their theme, but they’d keep my info for future segments. “We really liked the Mamachic,” she reassured me. Momentarily deflated but somewhat secretly relieved, I figured it was all for the best… when lo and behold, she called me this past Wednesday saying, “We want you to fly out tomorrow so you can be on the show Friday.” GAH! I found myself scrambling to overnight Mamachic samples to product testers around the country, figuring out logistics with childcare as well as ironically canceling a previously-planned trip to New York with my kids.
I was sleep-deprived by the time I got to my hotel in Times Square, endlessly rehearsing the approved pitch that the producers were keen on keeping under 20 seconds. How did it go? You be the judge (along with Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec).
Whew! It was a relief that I didn’t screw up my few minutes of live TV, unlike the two years I fudged-up big time in Sacramento. End-to-end, the whole experience was unbelievably satisfying. And fun. And… it made me miss TV. For all the fun, zany people I get to meet…
3) I MET FUN PEOPLE. In the ABC Studios bathroom, I ran into sweet-as-can-be style maven Gretta Monahan, who was there doing an army wives makeover segment; she stopped in her tracks, oohing and ahhing at the Mamachic. She even snapped a few phone photos of me wearing it (still in the bathroom) before I went out for my Shark Tank segment. After I won, I got this tweet:
— Gretta Monahan (@grettamonahan) May 15, 2015
Also, Robert Herjavec couldn’t have been nicer, as he actively chatted with my “rival” entrepreneur Abby and I before our segment. We shot this fun and cheesy boxing-themed promo with Abby and I as opponents with huge blow-up gloves, and Robert as the ring ref! Abby and I were pretty much cracking up the whole time, and honestly Robert got into it as much as we did. At one point, he put me in a headlock. For real.
4) SOME SURPRISE BACKERS CAME OUT OF THE WOODWORK. My family and close friends were on board from the start — none of this is at all possible without them. And sure, there’s an abundance of strangers who pledged to the Mamachic Kickstarter, and they obviously have high hopes for the actual product. That fact alone fills me with such joy. But when I started getting blips on my phone with Kickstarter notifications naming long-lost friends, childhood playmates, high school buddies, church youth group confidants, college dorm-mates and fellow Duke cheerleaders, I knew they were in it because they believed in me. Now with over 200 backers and counting, my heart feels ready to burst. Thank you. The generosity and trust that you have shown makes me want to work that much harder to make this happen.
5) WE HIT OUR GOAL OF $20,000 QUICKLY. Just over a week into the campaign and we were there! Amazing. Now I’ve set a stretch goal of $30,000 to accomplish some “reach” objectives, like creating in-store packaging and developing prints and patterns. I know that I — we — can do this. Who’s with me?SHOP NOW