Published: September 21, 2011
Dario Antonioni, who runs Orange22, a design consultancy in Los Angeles, said he decided to try Kickstarter after seeing Mr. Wilson’s success, which sent “shock waves” through the design community, empowering designers.
Mr. Antonioni, 38, turned to Kickstarter in July to finance the Botanist Minimal bench, a bentwood seat he designed. In the past, he said, his firm would have risked its own money, hired a manufacturer and hoped for enough retailer and consumer interest to turn a profit, or at least break even.
“The beauty of Kickstarter is it does away with that whole model,” he said.
The appeal for backers, particularly those who finance design projects, is what they get in return: a gift like a T-shirt for smaller contributions, and for larger ones, a well-designed product at a substantial savings. Mr. Antonioni’s backers, for example, could get the Botanist bench by pledging $299; it will eventually retail for around $800, he said.
Mr. Antonioni has raised more than $36,000 on Kickstarter, exceeding his $20,000 goal and enabling him to place an order with an Asian manufacturer. And in the process, he said, he received valuable feedback from “a global audience” without doing costly market research or renting a booth at a trade show. “We don’t need a business plan,” he said. “We don’t even have to leave our studio.”
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