On todays episode of CrowdFund Genius we have Jaron from We Wear Wood. Jaron shares with us how he is able to raise his funds through Kickstarter in order to create and launch his company We Wear Wood. Which features a set of Apple products all made of wood. Whether its your iPad, iPhone or your Macbook, Jaron and We Wear Wood has you covered. Tune in and remember to subscribe as CrowdFund Genius takes you down another journey of a successful crowdfunder on Kickstarter!
ZacBob: Welcome back crowdfunders to another excited episode of CrowdFund Genius. On todays episode we have Jaron Hall, a college student who is looking to raise 6 grand to launch his all wood stickers and product covers for your Apple device.
But before we start our interview, I want to ask my listeners for a favor. If you have any crowdfunding questions, you would like to be answered on the show, feel free to tweet the questions to me @CrowdFundGenius on Twitter. And maybe we will select your question to be answered on the air of one of our episodes. Okay lets move onto our interview.
So before we start talking about your crowdfunding campaign We Wear Wood, tell us about yourself Jaron.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure, so I am 20 years old and I’m a college student here in Utah, I will be attending the University of Utah this fall. So how did I get into this business right now? I’ve always been involved in the web. Basically im pretty familiar with websites and what not. I’ve always been an Apple fan, been raised and I have the first iPod ever made. I’ve always loved my Apple products and decided to come up with something creative and unique to add onto it to make it look cool.
ZacBob: Now that we know a little about you, tell us about your Kickstarter campaign, We Wear Wood, where wood meets high tech. Share some of the ups and downs of the campaign so far and the inspiration behind We Wear Wood. Also don’t forget to tell us about what brought you to Kickstarter.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure so the campaign has been launched for 9 days now. It was launched on the 20th, and its currently about 27% funded on my 6 thousand dollar goal, we chose Kickstarter instead of other platforms because I’m most familiar with Kickstarter. We have worked with other start-ups that have been funded on Kickstarters as well. I know the layout and everything and I believe it’s the most popular one. I have seen similar campaigns ran through there as well. The inspiration for coming up with it, like I said earlier I’m an Apple fan, and I knew this was a product that people on the Kickstarter community would like. Pretty much everyone that looks at the Kickstarter video, there is a high chance there watching it on an iPhone, MacBook or an iPad. So I knew a lot of the audience there would take interest in it. So that’s some of the inspiration behind that.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure so we have iPhone cases and they’re made out of bamboo, rosewood and maple. And the bamboo and maple come in the three designs; we have the tree, the city and the world design. And then we have the iPad and MacBook and there both made out of red oak wood veneer. And they are laser cut and have the design of our logo with the MacBook light shining through it. Then we have the wolf howling at the moon with the tree silhouette. Then lastly the city skyline with the moonlight shining through it with the Apple illuminated logo there.
ZacBob: Now with the iPhone does it just snap on like a regular case would?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea it comes in two pieces, and we can include a link to some pictures later, but it comes with a top and bottom and you push them in and they just snap together. They stay on well, its not ever going to fall off on accident.
ZacBob: And everyone listening, if you don’t know, you can check out our website CrowdFundGenius.com and click podcasts and you will be able to find this episode and all the links to the crowdfunding campaign, website as well as some pictures of the elegant We Wear Wood product. Now Jaron, what about the iPad and the MacBook, how does the wood attach exactly?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure we make these all on our own, it starts off as a red oak veneer. And on the back of it we have a 3m double-sided transfer adhesive. So we peel off one side of it and stick it on there. So when it comes to you it will arrive flat in the mail. You will pull it out and it will probably be in-between two pieces of cardboard to keep it flat and make sure it doesn’t get damaged during shipping. And you will peel off the back of it like you would a sticker. Get your MacBook or iPad and clean it up before hand so it’s not dirty. And then basically just align it so that the laser cut out is aligned with the light on the MacBook or the Apple logo on the iPad. Then just place it on there and rub it on like you would a sticker. It will stick on there really well; it’s not going to ever come off on accident. And in the case that you do want to remove it, it’s not going to leave any permanent residue at all and should come off pretty cleanly.
ZacBob: So is it interchangeable? Like I could take it off my iPad and place it on another iPad?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: No, it is made out of a thin wood veneer. And because its such a thin wood we don’t want to add any bulk to your iPad or gadget. Because its so thin, if you remove it, it probably will get damaged. In fact I have removed one of them off my iPad just to test it, and it bends and stuff, so it would be pretty tough to put on another iPad.
ZacBob: Appreciate the honesty, and its still an easy way to dress up your iPad, or MacBook, not to mention the keen iPhone case. Now since your still in the middle of your campaign at the time of this recording, what is your current goal?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Like the funding goal?
ZacBob: Exactly, what is your funding goal Jaron?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea so our funding goal is 6000 dollars. And like I said were about 27% funded right now.
ZacBob: And you need that 6000 dollars in order to get a better manufacturer right?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yes, I’ve studied some other Kickstarter campaigns in the past. We wanted to make sure that we set a goal that was realistic, like we knew we could reach. We didn’t want to set anything outrageous. We didn’t want to set something to low. We didn’t need a ton to fund to get started, we basically are just trying to get funded to get past the high costs that come with manufacturing. For example, the adhesive; To get the adhesive rolls in the really wide widths, they’re really expensive, its over 1000 dollars for one of the rolls. And so that will help cover that cost, it will help us buy manufacturing in bulks and save cost cutting there. Those are pretty much the biggest reasons to raise funding on Kickstarter.
ZacBob: Lets dive into your pledge amounts, currently I only see about 4 pledge amounts on your campaign. Is that correct?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: only 4?
ZacBob: I believe so unless you added some and I’m not seeing it.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: I think were up to around 50 or so, 54 backers.
ZacBob: No I’m sorry I meant actual pledge amounts. You already have 54 backers for your 4 separate pledge amounts.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: No your right sorry, we have three. They are basically each pledge amount will get you to one of the products, any product that you decide because we have so many. We also have so many variables. Like you could have 3 MacBook designs, and they fit each size MacBook, the MacBook 11, 13 inch and 15 inch. So there is a ton of variables. We didn’t want to make a pledge for each individual variable. So we decided to make one and kind of have them tiered so the first 200 pledges are only 25 dollars. And then the next 100 are 30 dollars, and the next “unlimited” are 35 dollars to kind of get a sense of urgency basically.
ZacBob: So basically its set up like an early bird special right?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea, yea exactly.
ZacBob: Well four pledge amounts is definitely keeping it simple. Keeping it simple when it comes to your pledge amounts is definitely a growing, successful trend. What made you set up your pledge amounts this way?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea I got that idea from Crabby Wallet. That’s another Utah Kickstarter campaign. They have a pretty simple wallet and they raised over 300 thousand, and that’s what he had as his pledge amounts. And I thought you know what, that’s a really good idea I think I will go with that as well. So that’s how I decided to do it.
ZacBob: So far with 54 pledge amounts, which pledge amount has been the highest performing? And why do you think it performed so well?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Well of course people are getting the cheap one while they last. Of course I have had some close friends who are just to be nice pledging the higher ones. But the majority of them are all on the cheapest one while they last. There limited to 200, and we should be surpassing that somewhat soon.
ZacBob: And your cheapest pledge amount that majority of backers are going for is 25 dollars, is that correct?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea, so pretty cheap compared to others if you want to get a wood iPhone case, or wood iPad or MacBook cover. 25 dollars including the shipping in the US is a pretty good deal.
ZacBob: And that’s your choice for 25 dollars right? Either the iPhone case, iPad cover, or MacBook cover. And those come in a variety of designs.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea, exactly, so for 25 bucks you can get any design of the MacBook cover, any design on the iPhone with your choice of which wood you want. So rosewood, maple, or bamboo. Or your choice of desing on the iPad cover, which fits the iPad Air, or the iPad Mini. And then the iPhone 5, and iPhone 5S, and any size of MacBook.
ZacBob: And currently, well I believe earlier you said you have 54 backers is that right?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea that’s correct.
ZacBob: Not bad numbers for being this early in your campaign. Lets move onto your crowdfunding video. It came in about 2:27 minutes long, and is a very good length for a crowdfunding video. You showcased your product nicely, and you even made a cameo to talk about the We Wear Wood product. What I really like, is how you, yourself, Jaron is taking your audience through every stage of the build. From you picking up the large roll of wood in your convertible, all the way to applying the finishing touches on We Wear Wood. So if you could just take a few moments, to share with our audience a behind the scenes look at the We Wear Wood Kickstarter video.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: So I have a buddy here and he has his camera. And he did all the filming for me. He also knows Adobe Premiere, so he was able to edit the video for me. I was sitting next to him the whole time showing him what would look good. But he actually had most of the ideas himself in the video. He was able to make the video turn out really well, I was very surprised and very happy with the results.
ZacBob: That buddy of yours, is he a freelancer or a consultant of any kind?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: He’s just a friend that I’ve been friends with since elementary school. Ill throw him a quick shout out. His name is Boaz, and he helped me with the video. So I threw him a few bucks, because he really deserved it. The video really is great quality. Ill give him more later on.
ZacBob: I don’t know if your familiar with the video recording equipment. I know earlier you mentioned Adobe Premiere. So do you know what type of camera he shot the video with?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Oh, what was it. I don’t know my cameras that well, but it was a nice one. He said that the camera not including the lens, was about, if you wanted to buy it used off him about 500 bucks. Not including the lens. Including the lens I’m sure its over 600-700 dollars. But he had really nice tri-pods and a slider attachment on top of the tri-pods so that the camera could slide from side to side. And it was really nice.
ZacBob: Going back to the length of your crowdfunding video. Earlier I mentioned it was only 2:27 long. Did you do a lot of research on that, or how did you come up with that number?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yeah, well I had some friends that have ran Kickstarter videos, and successful campaigns and they recommended a 2 minute video. So I tried really hard to keep it at 2 minutes, but we shot so many good clips that I felt had to be in the video. So we ended up being over 2 ½ minutes. But I still think its short enough were its not to long. I know a lot of people are watching the entire video to our Kickstarter campaign so that’s good.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea before the campaign launched I sent out quite a few emails. I had an offering to send them a press kit, if they were interested. So I had a few blogs that had some blog posts prepared to post once the campaign was launched. So after the campaign launched I gave them the links. And they submitted they’re blog posts. And after the campaign launched things started to increase a little bit more. And up to this point I have about 14 or so blogs that have mentioned about me. Some large and some of them really small. But it helps yourself build up the press pyramid basically. So yea I do have a few.
ZacBob: And has those bloggers and blog posts been converting to pledges for you?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: I don’t know what the actual, typical conversion rate is to get somebody to write about you verse how many emails you send out. But I’ve been pretty satisfied with the results, I have 14 blogs right now. It is pretty time consuming to send out all them emails, but I think it will definitely pay off. And momentum is already kicking in, I’ve already had a few people just today write about me. So yeah.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea are Instagram is the biggest right now. As I’m sure you can tell, our product is very visual. You know I could try to explain it to you over text, but if you just see the product you instantly understand what it is and its very eye catching. So we really focus on Instagram we have quite a big following on there, over 3000 followers with a lot of pictures. And we created that Instagram page long before our Kickstarter campaign even started. Basically for us to get a lot of customer feedback, people giving us good tips and everything, and it basically validated our idea. So Instagram is our biggest, and we do have a few followers on Facebook and Twitter. We really should be improving on that, but Instagram has definitely been our biggest.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Obviously we post daily, and then we go out and find people that would be interested in us. So we will go on there and communicate with people, get involved. Find people that have MacBook’s, find people that are Apple enthusiast, people that love their iPhone, or else people that love Kickstarter as well. And we’ve found quite a few places on there of people that just love all their Apple products, they have their iPhone, iPad, MacBook. You know you name it and they just love the idea and they will follow us back. That’s the biggest way we’ve been able to market our Instagram page.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: We haven’t done any… Well we haven’t tried to make our own hash-tag and make it go popular or anything like that. We haven’t tried that yet, but we still have a lot more that we want to try in terms of giveaways and things like that. But we do search certain hash-tags and try to get involved. For example #MacBook, or #iPhone5, #Kickstarter. We would just search through it and see what’s going on. And it really just helps you kind of understand what’s out there on Instagram right now.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea we actually do have some Facebook ads running right now. And yea we are directing them towards people that have iPhones, an iPhone 5 or 5s. And people that have an iPad, or iPad Mini, or iPad Air. They (Facebook) currently don’t allow you, or they don’t have the option to allow you to target just MacBook’s, which would be convenient. But we will just deal with what we can do for now. So yeah we’ve been having those Facebook ads running for less than a week actually.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Were just using the ads manager right now. I’m not super familiar with Facebook ads but I’ve ran some before to help out with other start-ups. But yea we just used the ads manager and targeted people who like you said are running on Apple devices or people who are within certain ages and are in the U.S. and if they take any kind of interest in Kickstarter or Indiegogo and it will target them.
ZacBob: There you go crowdfunders, a quick Facebook ads breakdown if you want to target Apple, iOS users, or if you want to target Android users. Facebook ads is where its at. What about email lists? Did you have an email list going into your campaign or are you building one now?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: As email list in our customers, or like PR stuff?
ZacBob: Both actually. I’m always telling our audience to start immediately with building an email list. You can go through MailChimp or Aweber and sign up to start building that oh so important email list. A lot of people will through up at the very least a landing page, that will collect emails of people who could potentially become interested when you launch your campaign.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea so on our website, before our Kickstarter campaign was even live, people were able to submit their email address, so that way they would get alerted once our Kickstarter campaign is live. And people can then start getting pre-sale orders basically. So we have a pretty small list of people who submitted their email and wanted to get alerted when their bamboo iPhone cases are available and what not. As for PR, we do have a fairly descent list of blogs, and I kind of sorted them based on their domain authority, how big they are and what not. So yeah I have a pretty big list for PR.
ZacBob: Okay so you said that you were collecting emails through your website before the launch of your Kickstarter campaign. So how soon did you start collecting email addresses on your website, also how soon did you start putting together that list of media and bloggers email addresses?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea probably about 3-4 weeks before campaign launch. I started sending out some press pitch emails and then I kept on sending them up until…. Well I keep on sending them up until this point now, I sent out some follow up emails occasionally still.
ZacBob: What about Staff picks, or popular projects portion of Kickstarter. Some of our guests on CrowdFund Genius are fortunate enough to grace these sections of Kickstarter and reap the rewards. Is We Wear Wood one of those projects?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: On the Kickstarter page, we have not. I’ve looked up online to see kind of what it takes to be on the staff picks or popular page. I don’t know, from what I found its kind of a mystery or you just get lucky if your put up on there. At least on the staff picks, for the popular I guess your Kickstarter just has to be super successful. I did however create a small package of some our prototypes, like a MacBook, and iPad covers and actually shipped them off to Kickstarter headquarters in New York City to kind of let them know that I’m thankful for their services and the product they created. So maybe that might also catch their attention, but we’ll see. I just figured they might like them, I’m sure there is plenty of Apple fans at their headquarters there.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Yea, I don’t really have a coach, but I have a few mentors that I go to for when I have certain questions. I didn’t go to any crowdfunding classes or anything. But I’ve mostly learned everything through books and online. I’m a huge fan of “The Lean Start-Up,” that book. Or “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss, that’s an excellent book. And then, well I mostly just find all my information online really.
ZacBob: Completely off the subject, but because I to am a fan of Eric Reis’s, “The Lean Startup” and I’m a Tim Ferriss fan as well, do you have a favorite podcast?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Lets see, there’s not that many iTunes podcasts that I listen too. But there are a lot of video podcasts that I watch on YouTube a bit. I’m a big fan of Kevin Rose at Google Ventures. He has some really good inspirational, well they’re not meant to be inspirational. But him interviewing entrepreneurs and they get me inspired right. And then Tim Ferriss 4 hour workweek blog, that’s a pretty good blog to follow too.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: I did yea, the one about Soma I believe. Yea that was an interesting blog post that I definitely used a lot of tips from that tutorial in my PR efforts.
ZacBob: And in case we have any new crowdfunders listening, make sure you check out our show notes on our website CrowdFundGenius.com, just click podcasts and find this episode We Wear Wood to find links to Tim Ferriss’s Hacking Kickstarter posts, and all the other wonderful information Jaron has shared today. Is there anyway Kickstarter could have made your experience better on their platform?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Not so much Kickstarter, but I did have quite a hassle with Amazon payments. Amazon payments handles all the merchant services for Kickstarter. So for those of you that don’t know, when you back or pledge on Kickstarter and they accept that payment through Amazon. And it was just that my campaign got delayed by about 2-3 weeks. Because there was a lot of hassle with trying to get my account verified by them (Amazon Payments). So We Wear Wood is a DBA of another LLC that I’m an owner of. And it was just really hard for them to kind of understand that. To approve the legitimacy of this business and get it approved (by Amazon Payments) legally. Other than that Kickstarter has done a fantastic job, they approved my project very quickly after I submitted it.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: I wish that I had spent, well I mean I heard it before that 90 percent of your work happens before you even launch your Kickstarter campaign. I’ve heard that before and I listened to it, but I really wish I had prepared more before I launched. Because it really is true that your Kickstarter campaign is limited to however many days that it goes, but there is no limit to how many days you can prepare before your campaign launches. So do everything that you can and make sure your ready when you launch. So that way you have blogs lined up to write about you, you already have a good social media following, and of course you will have to make sure your idea is validated before your Kickstarter. But mostly just preparation and really, really working on PR before you launch. Because like I said you can have blogs lined up waiting to post so that way once you launch it just hits really hard, and I kind of wish I would’ve spent even more time with pushing the PR efforts there.
ZacBob: And now for question number 2. What is the best advice, tip, or tool you can share with our audience that would help them complete their very own crowdfunding goal.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure a big part of raising money on Kickstarter is your network that you have around you. Like a lot of your backers will be people that are your friends, or friends of your friends. So having a large network that you can reach out to; like for example, right when I launched my campaign I sent out Facebook messages to all my friends and family to have them share. And a lot of them backed my project, and a lot of them, got dozens of shares on their Facebook page. All though it is kind of hard to prepare for quickly for a Kickstarter campaign, because growing a network can take awhile. But its really important, to raise the money on Kickstarter. Because a lot of the backers on Kickstarter find out about it through Facebook. So having close friends and family helped out.
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Sure you can check out our website which is WWW.WeWearWood.com. We also have our large Instagram following @WeWearWood on Instagram. Then you have us on Facebook, which is Facebook.com/WeWearWood and then on Twitter @WeWearWood. If you want to connect with me, you can find me on Facebook, my name is Jaron Hall. And then on Instagram its @JaronHall and on I believe its @Jaron_Hall. Because there is some guy camping on the other Twitter handle. But yea, that’s were you can reach us at.
ZacBob: Well that concludes our show Jaron, thank you for coming on and sharing all these incredible insights, I have no doubt that you will reach your crowdfunding goal in the next week or so. Any last words?
Jaron from We Wear Wood: Nothing much, just really appreciate the opportunity to be on here, and thank you ZacBob.
ZacBob: Jaron from We Wear Wood. Just so everyone knows, We Wear Wood did hit their crowdfunding goal and had a total of 89 backers in doing so. Thank you for listening to another episode of CrowdFund Genius, remember to hit subscribe so you can continue to get awesome crowdfunding advice from our genius show guests. As always happy crowdfunding and ZacBob out
We Wear Wood Kickstarter Link
We Wear Wood Website
We Wear Wood Twitter
We Wear Wood Instagram
We Wear Wood Facebook
Jaron Hall Twitter