By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 5, 2012
Before Kickstarter.com pulled the plug on personal care projects, meat-scented soap and a new fix for bed head secured the funding they needed.
So, what is more likely to be a successful in today’s personal care marketplace—a 100% vegan, organic skin care line or a bar soap that smells like meat?
Well, the latter had more success—in the world of crowd funding, that is.
Those ideas were among the more than 62,000 projects that have been pitched on Kickstarter.com, an online funding platform that as of July 5, 2012 had collected $272 million in funding.
Today, Kickstarter.com is designated for “creative endeavors” such as theater projects, music, art and tech gadgets, but at one time personal care products could be found among the documentaries, video games and clothing lines.
Those firms included Cosmetic Psychiatry (billed as a line of artisanal lipsticks), Just Pure Minerals and Natural Candle Pastries, a two year-old company that has been selling candles in several stores in the southeast region and had recently been accepted into Whole Foods.
While those projects failed to secure funding, MeatSoap and Morning Head can stake as claim as the only personal care ideas that did.
Meat Soap was a short run of bar soaps that proved to be a successful project on Kickstarter.com
Alli Dryer, an architect and self-professed avid soap collector was one of four people who created the concept of Meat Soap. Her team included Rob Borkowski, a geneticist; Brian Lee David, a graphic designer; and Daniel Vaughn, an architect and food writer. They banded together and launched Meat Soap on the crowd-funding site on Jan. 24, 2011, and for the next 29 days watched intently to see if they could raise the $1,500 needed to make custom-molded bars of bacon-scent soap that would be sold in butcher paper.
“We wanted to make sure there was an audience for our product before we made an investment in pig shaped soap molds, glycerin and animal fat,” she told HAPPI.
Prior to the launch on the site, Dryer and Borkowski’s only market testing was the bacon-scented soap they made as a gift for Vaughn.
Meat Soap reached its $1,500 goal. In fact, the firm tallied $1,905 from 42 backers.
But for Dryer, it wasn’t about making money, much less becoming the next Yardley.
“We weren't expecting to make a big profit from our launch,” she said.
Still, with the funds secured, Meat Soap bars, stickers, and T-shirts were shipping across the country and even as far away as The Netherlands—to those who signed on to support the launch on Kickstarter. There was even a Meat Soap Meet Up on April 15, a last hurrah of sorts, as the team is no longer making carnivore-inspired soaps.
“We are set up to make more soap but we dialed back on production because the team got pulled in different directions after we shipped,” Dryer told Happi.
Max Valverde seems to have longer-term aspirations.
Almost 500 backers blew past the $1,000 funding goal set for Valverde’s project: a product that would help eliminate bed head.
In fact, Valverde raised $6,367 for his hair cap that features a proprietary super absorbent cloth material inside. Dubbed Morning Head, users add water to the interior of the cap, place the cap on their head and rub it around. It wets hair completely so the users can style their hair as their normally would after a shower, without the shower.
This cap cures bed head in seconds, says creator Max Valverde, who sought funding on Kickstarter.com
And as long as the cap is wrung out completely, it can be reused up to 30 times, noted Valverde, who has a BS in mechanical engineering from Brown University, works as sales engineer for a construction manufacturer and is co-founder of nakedshell.com, which makes iPhone covers.
“It is a product concept I have had for a while. I routinely shower at night and would wet my hair in the sink in the mornings to get ready for work. I experimented with many different means and methods, but none effectively solved the hassle of fixing bed head. I knew there had to be a better way,” he said.
After experimenting with different materials and configurations ranging from baseball caps to winter hats made of absorbent materials, Valverde designed a prototype and then headed to Kickstarter.
“I learned of Kickstarter after backing a friend's short film…. I saw the power of Kickstarter and was impressed by the community's ability to fund creative projects,” he said. “I chose to useKickstarterbecause I loved the Kickstarter community and felt that I could properly vet this idea without patronizing friends and family.”
As of mid-June, Valderde had shipped more than 1,300 caps to 22 countries and is taking in orders via his website, www.morninghead.com.
“We would like to get into brick and mortar stores eventually,” said Valderde, “but we need to continue to spread the word in the short term.”