Kickstarter is a wacky and wonderful ecosystem, a terribly creative place that is also home to its own clichés, buzzwords, and banalities. It's perhaps the modern internet's greatest trust exercise (outside of online dating, amirite?), a place where cranks, crazies, visionaries, and “Community Engagement” consultants of all stripes attempt to get you to fork over your hard-earned cash on the premise that their big idea will become a real live product someday. One that actually works, and will really be delivered to you, and won't set your kitchen on fire.
That's right, anyone can make a Kickstarter for whatever coffee scheme they have cooking up. Why, you could even do it yourself! Though if you do want to make your very own Kickstarter for your new combination coffee grinder/milk steamer/waffle press, or whatever other disruptive new concept you've got brewing, it's probably a good idea to avoid the same traps and clichés that many other coffee-related Kickstarters have fallen into.
I've combed over years of Kickstarter pleas to create this handy, instructional guide on what to avoid when creating your own listing. Keep living the dream, Kickstarter capitalists, and who knows-maybe someday we'll feature you on Sprudge!
1. Say your technology represents “a whole new way to brew coffee”.
There's actually about a 90% chance your approach to combining coffee and hot water is in fact a variation on one of the few main approaches to immersion or percolation brewing. That's totally fine though! There's only so many ways to put water on coffee. The differences between a Kalita Wave, a Hario V60, a Beehouse dripper, and a 5 dollar plastic Melitta are all in the little refinements they bring to the same drip cone situation. Don't be ashamed! Own it! You're trying to make the bestest French Press there ever was thanks to your genius reverse-polarity mesh filtration system!
2. Go “Artisanal” everything.
Look, we feel you. We know the hipster heritage marketing sells—Sprudge is based in Portland, after all. But really, unless you are a skilled, professional craftsperson legit hand-crafting this stuff on your antique wood lathe (driven by geothermal heat or whatever), please, please lay off with the “artisanal” label. You're diluting the brand, and the word is not that cute to begin with.
3. Describe your coffee as “…the highest quality coffee exported from Colombia. Unlike other instant coffees that are made of lower quality coffee…”.
I'm sure the instant coffee that you're using is delicious, but…there's a lot of dope coffees coming out of Colombia these days. Are you really using some crazy auction lots in your instant? And why are you emailing us about instant coffee in the first place? I think there's what marketing people call a “disconnect” happening here.
4. Name one of your backer levels the “Hipster Package”.
Especially when the reward is a “jute bag, hand-crafted by the team and straight from Hipster Berlin”. At this point “hipster” doesn't really mean much of anything—it's a lazy shorthand for a complex nexus of cultural shifts around youth, work, creativity, identity and class access. Not really a discrete group of people to be attracted by your goodies from “Hipster Berlin”.
And really, everyone knows that Hipster Oakland is making the best up-cycled granola-swag coffee jute bags these days. And do you know why? It's because their uninsulated non-zoned warehouse communal living experiments never get cold.
5. Make a melodramatic black and white photo depiction of all the frustrations your invention hopes to solve.
Wait, umm this is amazing actually. Do this. If you can help me avoid looking as frustrated as this lady when I make coffee, sign me up at the super mega cool beanz backer level!
Top photo adapted from Laughing Squid.