Crowdfunding has certainly seized the cultural zeitgeist of late. Seems like a week doesn’t pass without us posting something about crowdfunding initiatives in Louisville.
As our Terry Boyd said in a post late last week, cities are running hot and cold “in their receptiveness to the coming digital crowdfunding revolution. Consider Louisville hot.”
We first really dug into the crowdfunding trend last fall when we stumbled across Tyler Deeb’s meteoric Kickstarter success, raising better than 2000 percent of his $6,250 goal to bring his artistic playing cards to market. Deeb, likely the “hottest” Kickstarter campaigner to come out of Louisville so far, has parlayed his success on the crowdfunding site into a startup business that he launched online last Thu., Feb. 7, Misc. Goods Co.
Last year, Deeb created a stunning (and simple) deck of cards and turned to Kickstarter to raise money to have the cards printed by the US Playing Card Company, the printers behind the iconic Bicycle Playing Cards.
Within a couple of days, his Kickstarter ask had gone viral.
We first popped in on Deeb in October, 10 days into his campaign, when he’d already raised 1000 percent of his goal with 20 days left to go.
We last checked in with Tyler Deeb back in November shortly after the Kickstarter campaign closed with 4022 backers and having raised $146,596 for the project (which turns out to be the charmingly round 2345 percent of his initial goal). Deeb had hired lawyers, fulfillment managers and assembly line volunteers. He was crunching numbers (or his “process guy,” Eric Jimenez, was crunching them), trying to make each fulfillment and shipping decision as cost-effective as possible.
What came next? Well, you can watch the fulfillment process in this fantastic time-lapse video by Justin Gustavision, a video that ends with the words “Thank you for your the [sic] almost unbearable support.”
“It’s not intense enough,” jokes Deeb about the video today.
Getting all of those orders out of the door proved a daunting task, one that took a a lot of hands and a lot of patience. When we talked to Deeb in November, he promised to fulfill all 4,022 orders early or on the promised date in mid-December. Indeed, I received my deck of cards and t-shirt well before the promised date (yes, I backed the project– how could I not get swept up in his enthusiasm?).
Deeb’s Kickstarter numbers are extraordinary in regard to more than just the number of backers and money raised. A full 25 percent of all of Deeb’s Kickstarter orders came from overseas. Deeb says there are a lot of playing card collectors in Europe, especially the UK, and he shipped products as far as Australia, Afghanistan, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Part of the project’s long reach is due to the fact that Kickstarter made it a “Staff Pick” after the first very successful few days. Even more success landed it on Kickstarter’s “Most Popular” page. Both of those positions led 65 percent of all backers to find Deeb’s project directly through the Kickstarter website.
Deeb says on his website: “Within 48 hours, I went from humbly hoping to get a project funded, to owning a successful start-up company.” Misc. Goods Co. is an online store where you can purchase decks of cards, t-shirts, uncut sheets of cards and handmade cherry, walnut, brass and leather playing card carrying cases.
Deeb will be adding more items to the store over time, focusing first on playing-card-related merchandise and later branching out. He’ll be creating “practical products that could use the aesthetic that I’ve created with my cards,” says Deeb. The new merchandise will “better embody the name of the company [Misc.],” he says, but without alienating the initial card collecting-centered investors.
“I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as exclusively a card designer,” says Deeb.
The wooden carrying cases are set to ship on March 1 and the 2nd edition playing card decks (in black and red) will ship on April 1. The new cards will feature “larger number/letter/symbols, 2 unique Joker cards and and subtle tweaks to the court cards,” according to the website.
His current dream product? A thermos.
The first edition, limited edition numbered cards are available until they run out. You can purchase them on the Misc. Goods Co. website or check them out in person at Derby City Chop Shop. Future runs of cards and merchandise will likely be available at local boutiques at places like Why Louisville.