We got the chance to speak to Ryan Rist, the guy whos Kickstarter got smashed in 2 hours!
Find out more about his project and what helped him succeed below.
Q. What made you want to start a kickstarter project and on coasters?
I’ve been wanting to start a Kickstarter project for the past couple years, ever since I discovered crowd funding. I loved the concept from the beginning, pledging to numerous projects and enjoying the innovative products that people produce. I wanted to create a normal household object that no-one else has seen anything like.
I hated the mess condensation would leave on my table at home, and I didn’t like the boring solutions already on the market. So I set out to develop a coaster that someone could customize with any image, from logos, to family pictures, to favourite sports, etc., and that absorbed water as well.
Q. How did you prepare for your launch, did you do a lot of work beforehand?
I’ve been working very hard since last December, developing prototypes and refining the production process. The past month or so I have been doing my best to get the word to everyone I can think of, everyone from bloggers and news reporters to family and friends. I am really pleased that all of the work I have put in has paid off with such a strong start to the project.
Q. I know you have a long way to go with your project but tell us about some highlights of your project so far?
Meeting the goal is the biggest so far! Other highlights for me have been the recognition. Fox CT News came to my school and interviewed both me and my principle, and to top it off a Director at the Seattle Interactive Conference invited me to be on their entrepreneurship panel in October. I will be the youngest person in the 4 person panel, and will be younger than 99% of the 500 person audience. I’m also honoured that my project is getting documented and written about.
Q. What difficulties have you encountered so far?
The most difficult part so far has been the production process. My dad has been instrumental in helping me figure out how to produce these coasters while keeping both quality and efficiency. I will only produce the highest quality coaster possible, which does provide its challenges. But I don’t want to compromise the product that I am trying to create.
Q. What processes did you choose and what made you choose them over others?
I chose an almost handmade production process for the plastic that would allow me to make the highest quality product possible and by keeping away from mass manufacturing processes like injection moulding I am able to keep control of the standard of the coaster, every step of the way.
It’s kind of boring and complicated but it goes as follows:
- CAD and 3D printing used to develop prototypes and finalize design.
- A Master copy is then made with the lathe on a CNC machine out of acrylic.
- Completely envelop master copy in liquid rubber.
- Let the rubber cure/harden. I’m now left with a rubber mould with an indent that exactly matches the master copy.
- A two part plastic is made with 12 different colour options and poured into rubber moulds.
Finish! Every coaster that pops out is the exact shape of the master copy.
The printing has also gone through several tests to make sure that the ink and methods used makes images and logos absolutely pop, which makes them a great addition to any table or night stand. The results from my tests have proven them to be very functional while visually pleasing, and guests have always admired them when they’ve come to my home. They’ve been quite a talking point because they are functional with a personal touch.
Q. Do you have tips for people wanting to start a funding project like yourself? What do you think the main thing you have learned from your experience so far?
The best advice I have for someone looking to start a Kickstarter project is to begin networking long before the launch date. I’ve attended numerous Chamber of Commerce meetings and emailed or cold called everyone I can think of leading up to this launch, and I believe that has made a big difference in early momentum. I’ve also contacted all of the local press, and as a result have been featured on Fox News CT and the local newspaper. Because of these networking efforts, I’ve found a very supportive community that I’m sure will help the project succeed.
You can keep up with his project here!
Also here’s Ryan’s twitter.