My Kickstarter Story Part 1

SoPupuka kickstarter pic-23

This has probably been the longest blogging break I’ve ever taken, and most definitely the most productive and creative I’ve ever been in business. A LOT has happened since my last post and I feel like I’ve now been on this current trajectory for so long that I can’t even remember how it all came about. I have so many thoughts about the last month and I’ve been struggling to process all the changes to my psyche and my behavior, my outlook on life and business… It’s a lot to piece together and I’m probably going to do a terrible job at it, so I apologize in advance if this post is all over the place.

I wanted to bring my designs to apparel for a long time. That’s where I had the most potential to make decent money. To be truly honest, I wasn’t completely committed to doing whatever it took to make that happen. I did EVERYTHING ELSE besies that to feel and look busy but in actuality I accomplished very little. I didn’t want to hire someone to do the printing for me. It was too expensive for the quantities I would be doing and it didn’t allow me the flexibility to print whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, in whatever quantities I wanted. I thought DIYing it was the way to go, until I tried my hand at screen printing and man, was that NOT the path for me. There were just too many steps and the quality…well let’s just say that it wasn’t something I would be proud to sell.

Then I discovered drop shipping. It was like a revelation! A company that will print and ship my designs onto shirts!?!? It sounded like Zazzle or CafePress but the difference is that I could sell their products straight out of SoPupuka.com. The ordering process would be exactly the same for customers but their order would go to the drop shipper and they would fulfill the order. I could just make designs, put them online and that would be the end of it, and if I was making a generic t-shirt company that was targeted to people on the mainland too, that would totally work. It’s hard to grow a Hawai’i brand using JUST drop shipper. It would severely limit my business to ONLY online sales. I wouldn’t be able to be a vendor at events, I wouldn’t be able to wholesale (too expensive), and I didn’t like that I wouldn’t have control over the creative process. Plus their clothing selection wasn’t what I had in mind, plus Hawaii shoppers really value things that are made in Hawaii, and they want to know who’s making it. I wanted my business to be a local business as much as possible, and I wanted to be able to have complete control over my product. I stumbled on this guy on youtube who talks about running a t-shirt printing company using a heat press. It’s pretty mesmerizing and he makes it look so easy. In the end, I decided that printing my designs on a heat press was the best option.

Once I decided that I was going to go the heatpress route, I was left with the decision: How on earth was I going to get my hands on one? Actually, I needed two: a hat press and a shirt press. I had two options: Put it on the credit card, or raise the money through a crowd funding platform. The credit card sounded appealing because I could just go and buy it and start making stuff right away without having to prove my idea was viable in the market. It was also super ultra risky, because what if my designs were a complete flop? We’d end up with more debt that would take forever to pay off. Taking on more debt was NOT an option, but I was pretty terrified of being a crowd funding failure. I was so close to being willing to sacrifice the bottom line over my ego. I DID NOT want to be vulnerable. It was terrifying, but it was my only option if I really wanted to do this.

…to be continued…

Read Part 2 here