When Elaine Li of Sweet & Shiny Café (214 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick) experienced costly and unexpected repairs for her café and cake decorating business, she turned to Kickstarter for help. “It saved my butt,” said Li.
Kickstarter, the popular crowdsourcing website, has inspired millions to launch pet projects and businesses. Kickstarter campaigns, which are supported by donations, must reach or exceed their fundraising goals to receive funds. This all-or-nothing approach means that of the millions of proposed projects, only a small handful are successful. For those lucky projects, it’s unclear about what happens after a successful Kickstarter—until now.
We talked to Elaine Li as well as and Seth Syberg of CocoBurg Inc., makers of vegan, gluten and soy-free coconut jerky who each launched their businesses after successful Kickstarter campaigns.
For Li and Syberg, life after Kickstarter wasn’t perfect. Syberg’s goal of becoming an “above the board business” meant months waiting for the state to approval various licenses.
“All that stuff took so long. I’m happy to report that I feel like I’m over all the worst parts and from here it’s about getting it out into the world, moving forward and expanding.”
Like any small business, Sweet & Shiny Café and CocoBurg Inc. experienced their share of growing pains.
“End of the first year I would get so depressed and like ‘I don’t know why I did this’ ”said Li.
For these Bushwick businesses, Kickstarter is an important reminder of how far their businesses have grown since their campaigns.
‘You literally built this place from nothing and now you’ve got so far.’ It’s a good reminder,” said Li.