Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with crowdfunding, a word that’s new enough that it doesn’t appear in my spellchecker. It’s a concept that’s become popular in recent years and tea companies have certainly embraced it, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version. Though not a completely new concept, it’s one that was arguably “kickstarted” four years ago when a company called Kickstarter got underway.

Kickstarter (Screen capture from site)

Kickstarter (Screen capture from site)

The company says they are “a vibrant ecosystem where backers join creators to bring new things to life.” What this means, in practical terms, is that would-be creators of various projects can post them to the site and potential backers offer an investment of as little as one dollar and as much as thousands, in exchange for some kind of a reward to be “paid” upon completion of the project.

If that doesn’t make things as clear as you’d like, look here for more details. Of course, while Kickstarter might be the best known of the crowdfunding sites, they are not the only ones, with Indiegogo, Crowdfunder and RocketHub being a few of the other names on this increasingly lengthy list.

Tea people are among those who have taken to crowdfunding to finance their projects. Focusing my attentions on Kickstarter and Indiegogo I found that both sites have featured a number of tea-related projects. Some of the projects I’ve highlighted at my own tea site included a simple automatic gadget for making tea; a tea bag that allows for brewing bottled tea – in a bottle – in a few seconds; a company that makes mood teas; and a tea delivery service.

If you’d like to get a better idea of how crowdfunding tea stuff works here are a few examples. At Kickstarter, as of this writing, Elevenses – The Card Game of Morning Tea, has made more than twice its $5,000 (AU) goal. There have been 502 backers giving as much as $120, and it still has 15 days to go. Elevenses is described as “a card game in which respectable 1920s socialites strive to serve the finest morning teas!”

At Indiegogo, a project that ended in mid-July of 2013 met with considerably less success. The aspiring makers of something called Leaf – The Cleverly Innovative Tea Maker, fell far short of their goal of $300,000, having only raised just under $2,000.

So why did one project succeed quite nicely while the other made barely a dent in its goals? It’s not for me to say but there are plenty of Web sites out there that claim to have the lowdown on successful crowdfunding. For starters, take a look at these Crowdfunding Tips for Campaigners, offered up at the Indiegogo site.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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