Kickstarter Retrospective: Highlights And Lessons Learned Launching a Successful Sustainable Fashion Kickstarter

Jan 14, 2021
Aimee Thompson

W hew, what a wild ride! On November 24th we officially launched our first Kickstarter Campaign to fund the production of our ethically sustainable and inclusive Universal Cardigan. The campaign came to a successful close on January 4th, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support and full of pride in our team for all of the hard work, time, and effort invested to pull this off!We wanted to take a moment to reflect on and share some of the highlights, lessons we learned, and things we’re most proud of from this adventure. So, without further ado...

Our Main Highlights
1) We Were Fully Funded in 12 Hours!
Classic Black Universal Cardigan with convertible hood worn up

When we launched our Kickstarter campaign, we had no idea it would be received so well, AND be featured by Kickstarter as a “Project We Love!” It was touching to see so many people interested in sustainable and inclusive fashion. Our team worked hard to create a product in-line with our values and commitment to ethical sustainability. We knew this route wouldn’t be the easiest or cheapest, but the ethical path seldom is. In the end, we were all encouraged to see so many demonstrate their interest and support for these same values.

2) We Surpassed Our Funding Goal By Nearly 300%!
Classic Black Universal Cardigan paired with ripped blue jeans and black booties

Nothing could have prepared us for the level of support we received throughout this campaign. The Universal Cardigan was inspired by Janelle’s love for men’s fashion, fantasy, the saris in India, and the dusters worn by Cowboys in classic Westerns. It was with that vision (coupled with advice from seasoned technical designers) she was able to design the Universal Cardigan and turn a dream into reality. The end product was an eco-friendly cardigan made with a certified Lenzing’s TENCEL® Lyocell blend that drapes like a dream, is highly functional (we’re talking 4 pockets!), and effortlessly versatile! We know this campaign wouldn’t have reached the level of success it did without all of these elements coming together.

3) We Saw A Very Real Interest In Sustainable, Inclusive, & Ethical Fashion
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan on 5 foot 8 model
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan on 5 foot 11 model
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan on 5 foot 5 model

One of the greatest highlights of this campaign was seeing the outpouring of interest in sustainable, ethical, and inclusive fashion. It's Clear consumers are becoming more aware of the impact fast fashion is having on our environment, and they’re actively looking for more sustainable and ethical options and solutions. There was also a huge response to the inclusivity of the Universal Cardigan that reiterated what we’ve felt for so long: we need more gender and size-inclusive pieces in fashion.

Not everything we make in the future will be as widely inclusive, but we are thrilled that our first piece received so much support. We designed the Universal Cardigan for all genders and a broad range of body types. We wanted to create a stylish and sustainable wardrobe staple that anyone could adapt to their personal style. We’ve had numerous product testers and models try out the Universal Cardigan, and one thing that always stands out is how unique it looks on each person. It’s also been really fun to see how different people style the cardigan in ways we never thought of (i.e. at one photoshoot, a model fashioned the cardigan as a stole around her shoulders, and it looked AMAZING!).

Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan styled as a stole
Lessons We Learned
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1) Be More Realistic About Timeline
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan over floral top

Upon reflection, we would have been more realistic in planning out our timeline. Ambition is important, but in the face of a global pandemic, it’s equally as important to set pragmatic goals. Another factor we didn’t consider was that we were launching our campaign during the holiday season (when many people are on break from work). Going forward, we’d make sure to take factors like these into consideration as we build our timeline and set our deliverable goals.

2) Work With A Marketing Partner
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan layered over black dress
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan layered over light T-shirt

Crowdfunding is a LOT of work. Our team is amazing, but they were also trying to run the business of Stellari with the added pressure of trying to learn how to run Facebook ads in the midst of a time-based campaign. This was an added stressor we would avoid in the future by collaborating with a marketing partner, so our team could focus entirely on what they each do best.

3) More Images & Videos (Less Text)
Classic Black Universal Cardigan with beige skirt
Classic Black Universal Cardigan tied closed over black dress
Stormy Gray Universal Cardigan layered over black t-shirt

While this campaign was an improvement from our first crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo, we still see room for growth. Pictures and videos are worth much more than words. We’ve found the best way to connect our audience with our product is through high-quality images and videos that illustrate the features and benefits you want to highlight. Also, imagery is a much better way to help people understand how a garment will fit and move. In the future, we’d go much heavier on the imagery and lighter on the text.

What We're Most Proud Of
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Classic Black Universal Cardigan worn over light brown top

1) Going into this, we were confident we would hit our fundraising goal, but we were blown away by how quickly it happened. It truly meant a lot to us.

2) Being chosen as a Kickstarter “Project We Love.” This is a rare designation for only the highest quality Kickstarter campaigns and was such an incredible recognition of our team’s hard work and dedication.

3) Honestly, one of the greatest points of pride for us is (FINALLY!) releasing this product. It’s been a looong road and an especially challenging year. Just making it through with the support of our community, friends, and family is something we’re grateful for and proud of.

We’re full of gratitude for every highlight and lesson from this experience, and most of all for supporters, like you, who believe in Stellari’s mission and values. 2020 was full of challenges, obstacles, and even pain for every single one of us on this globe, and we should all be proud of what we’ve overcome. A huge thank you to each person throughout the course of this entire adventure who has supported (whether it be emotionally or financially) and encouraged us! Happy 2021!

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Read more about the Universal Cardigan

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Aimee Thompson

Aimee’s a writer by day, gamer by night & ice cream connoisseur 24/7. During Shelter in Place, she’s mastered the Jedi Mind Trick and plans to use this to get early access to Fable 4.

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