It's the end of day 12 and we broke the $6,000 mark.... over 1/3rd of the way to $17,000! I'm so thankful for all the support I've had so far, every little bit has been a huge help - from all the generous pledges to sharing this project with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.
I wanted to do a FAQ post to answer some questions about the basics of this project. Feel free to leave comments and ask any other questions that I might have skipped or that you are curious about!
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT FOR?
This Kickstarter project is to raise the necessary funds to bring in the product inventory to sell on my website.
The money raised from this campaign will go towards importing chiyogami yuzen washi paper that is hand-silkscreened in Japan, and will also go towards making some of that paper into wedding items such as invitation embellishments, favor boxes, and The Rare Orchid's signature clothespin magnets.
WHAT INSPIRED THIS KICKSTARTER PROJECT?
This project is my "lemonade". It was inspired by an unfortunate incident that happened to me this past September when my laptop and external hard drive were stolen from a rental car in Los Angeles (yes, I am NOW a cloud user). The idea for a Kickstarter came as I was feeling defeated by my loss and trying to make "lemons into lemonade".
As my dear friend Susan Yuen (who was a tremendous help and support in making this project possible) likes to say, crowdfunding is a "game changer". This type of fundraising opens up a whole new world for small businesses and others who might not be right for venture capital, angel investors, or even bank loans. I felt that crowdfunding was also a great way to spread the word about my new venture. I wanted to be able to share my passion and products directly with customers, something I hadn't been able to do online when I was focused on selling wholesale to stores.
$17,000 is not a made up number! It's the calculated amount that it will take to bring in the appropriate inventory of products. As a seasoned business owner, I made sure to carefully factor in all the required expenses (including fees from Kickstarter, the credit card processors, shipping etc.), and ensure that the website will be able to have an uninterrupted cycle of product to meet my customers' projected needs - while also being able to fulfill all the rewards for this campaign. Each factory and vendor I work with also has minimum buying requirements, as is standard with any manufacturer or wholesaler.
Washi is not only my passion, it's a beautiful and versatile paper that is a great material to work with for a wide variety of projects. I could go on and on about what washi is and how much you can do with it (and I think I will in another update post later!), but there are other components of washi that make it a worthy cause:
-IT'S AN ART FORM. All the washi I plan to sell and make products out of is hand-silkscreened in Japan. Each color is added layer by layer with different screens, some papers using 10 or more screens for one paper design. The color pigmentation achieved with silkscreening is unparalleled, and it takes skill and patience to create each design with stunning precision.
-IT HAS CULTURAL VALUE. You certainly do not have to be Japanese to enjoy the cultural value of washi. Everyone can appreciate the rich history of this paper craft and admire the designs filled with traditional prints and images.
-IT'S NOT WIDELY ACCESSIBLE OUTSIDE OF JAPAN. There are very few sources to buy these beautiful papers, and even fewer that have such a diverse, contemporary collection of patterns as the ones I've been able to gather. I also plan to offer large, full size sheets (25" x 38"), which is particularly hard to find - especially online.
-IT'S MODERN. This point is specific to The Rare Orchid. I have worked very hard to find a selection of patterns and colors with a contemporary feel. While all the papers hold some sort of traditional design elements, the collection I am trying to bring over includes many new color combinations never seen before in this style of paper. You will find it hard to buy hot pink washi paper else where!
I hope you found this update helpful in filling in some of the details about this Kickstarter project! I'm using this update feature on Kickstarter as a chance for you to get to know me and my story more closely, and invite you to request any subjects you'd like me to write on in the comment section.
Thank you again for all your support and for taking the time to read more about my campaign.