From Kickstarter to Major Toy Deal: The Story of the Hugalopes
Jazz Tigan, co-creator of the Hugalopes, came by our office for lunch yesterday to update me on his progress. Kevin Coleman also stopped by and recorded Jazz for MixTent's Storybin. The last time I saw Jazz and his co-founder Cris was 10 months ago. They were just on the beginning part of a journey to turn their "fuzzy Mr. Potato head" style toy into a reality. They had hand-sewn some prototypes, and they were contemplating a Kickstarter project.
A lot has happened in 10 months. Jazz and Cris ran a successful Kickstarter project, raising over $21k -- way past their $8k goal. Then this past April, they announced a licensing deal with Jakks Pacific, a top five top toy manufacturer that also licenses brands like Disney, Warner Bros, Star Wars, Nickelodeon and others. From dream to licensing deal, Jazz and Cris credit much of their success to the funding and publicity they got from the Kickstarter project.
I was super curious to get tips from Jazz on how to run a successful Kickstarter project, so he agreed to let me tape the meeting so other entrepreneurs can learn from his experiences as well. Jazz shared tips not only about Kickstarter, but about being an entrepreneur in general.
In the video, Jazz offers tips around the importance of timing the Kickstarter project, how many tiers to offer and at what amounts, how to make sure you go over your goal and get the project funded, how to (and how not to) publicize the project, and much more.
Kickstarter is changing the way entrepreneurs bring ideas and products to market, allowing them to rely less on venture capital and angel fundraising, and more on stoking demand for their concepts before going to market. It's a great form of ghetto testing and helps provide validation from the marketplace before you spend a lot of time on the business. If you've run a Kickstarter project and you have tips to share, I'd love to hear them in the comments section below.