Several of Chicago’s most successful Kickstarters are coming back for a crowdfunding encore.
Five Chicago makers, including the designers behind the Fourneau Bread Oven and Manual Coffeemaker, are part of a month-long program called Kickstarter Gold, a set of refined and relaunched products from some of the tech company’s favorite, and most successful, campaigns.
“We selected Kickstarter Gold creators for their creativity, ingenuity, and success using the platform,” said Kickstarter on the Gold website.”They’ll be making new works inspired by their past projects, so backers can discover extra-amazing ideas, plus special rewards that aren’t available anywhere else.”
Kickstarter noted that repeat creators are key to their crowdfunding ecosystem, and are highlighting over 65 “Gold” campaigns this month.
“In fact, a third of all pledges to successful projects —over $1 billion since 2009 — go toward projects by creators who have run two, three, four, or even 100+ projects,” the crowdfunding site noted.
Halfway through the month-long campaigns, three out of the five Chicago projects were more than 200 percent backed. The Center for Lost Arts (founded by Kickstarter cofounder Charles Adler) will host a reception for three of the projects on July 15.
Here’s a look at each of Chicago’s Kickstarter Gold projects:
You’ve probably seen the “You Are Beautiful” stickers and massive public art displays scattered around the city. The project, founded by Matthew Hoffman, sought to be a simple reminder of confidence and encouragement. Hoffman raised over $30,000 in 2013 to create a book documenting the decade-long work behind You Are Beautiful. Now Hoffman’s ambition is to have a large public piece in each state, and eventually bring installations to countries around the world, and he’s seeking to raise $25,000 to fund the next iteration of You Are Beautiful. Over halfway through the new campaign, they’ve raised over $13,000 from 352 backers.
In 2015, Ted and Sharon Burdett, the husband-wife cofounders of product studio Strand Design, raised over $160,000 to produce the Fourneau Bread Oven, a cast iron kitchen device that helps DIY bakers better bake bread in their home ovens. Since launching that Kickstarter, they’ve sold over 1,000 devices directly from their website (the Fourneau oven retails for $225) and won the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Startup Challenge. Now they’re back with the Forneau Bread Oven 2.0, a retooled device with several new components, such as a redesigned hatch and a peel that stays in the oven. With just over half the month-long campaign gone, they’d already tripled their $50,000 goal, raising over $150,000 to bring the new Forneau to life.
Product designer Craighton Berman is a crowdfunding pro: He’s successfully raised funds for five products on Kickstarter, including the Manual Bar Blade, Manual Tea Maker and Pinch, a gourmet salt and pepper set. Now he’s created the Manual Coffeemaker No 3, “an understated glass pitcher—hand-blown with a double walled design,” the Kickstarter says. The vessel can hold an entire pot of pour-over, French press or cold brew coffee for several coffee consumers to enjoy. Berman is seeking to raise $60,000, and was about three-quarters to the goal halfway through the campaign.
Chicago designer Rob Loukotka has funded four illustration projects previously on Kickstarter, including a drawing of all 126 products created by the fictional ACME corporation (from the Coyote & Road Runner cartoons), which raised over $105,000 back in 2012. Now he’s updating the poster with metallic gold ink, and successfully hit his $5,000 goal, raising over $12,000 with half a month left in the campaign.
Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits, partners in the Chicago design & art studio Uusi have crowdfunded several of their design projects, generally centered around tarot cards and pagan imagery, over the years. Now they’re working on an original deck of hand-inked “Oracle” cards. “An oracle deck is similar to a tarot in that it is an object of meditation that encourages it’s participant to explore and uncover authentic truths about their individual character that unite them to the extremely powerful and ancient current of universal, creative energy,” the duo explain. They more than doubled their $20,000 goal, raising over $58,000 with a week left in their campaign.