We spoke to Richard, one of the creators behind the increasingly popular SMÖRGASBOARD board game, to find out more about their journey after crowdfunding.
SMÖRGASBOARD – a board game for foodies launched on Fund it in June 2012, at a time when access to finance through traditional routes was virtually non-existent for small start-up companies. While researching the game and the market, industry experts all told them that SMÖRGASBOARD was too niche, that it could never work… But Richard and Maggie spent a long time developing the game and were convinced of its potential, they just had to figure out how to roll a six and get straight to GO. For them, crowdfunding was a new and exciting opportunity.
Not only was crowdfunding through Fund it a way to get the money they needed, but more importantly, it was a chance to test the water. By ensuring a certain number of games were already pre-sold before committing to go into production, it took a lot of the risk out of the venture. They could also communicate with funders throughout the campaign and get valuable feedback. This also offered the opportunity to share their story, for funders to become part of the family, and ultimately have a really strong connection with the finished game.
Their Fund it campaign didn’t just connect with individuals, it was an opening and a talking point for approaching prospective clients before production even began… Like when they went on a trip to Ballymaloe with a prototype under their arm. Darina Allen herself couldn’t help fall in love with Richard and Maggie’s story and agreed to stock the game then and there!
The relationship with retailers wasn’t always as easy to manage, however. Crowdfunding is not the usual way of doing business, so the process had to be explained and expectations on delivery times had to be managed. But it gave Richard and Maggie the opportunity to tell the story behind the game and create stronger bonds for long-term business. They generated between 20-30 stockists before their Fund it campaign ended, and with all of those early retailers still renewing orders, it was definitely worth it!
So where has their crowdfunding journey brought them? SMÖRGASBOARD formed a Ltd. Company last year and is now a profitable business for Richard and Maggie. They are also spreading their wings and you may just find SMÖRGASBOARD in a well known multiple in the UK soon! SMÖRGASBOARD – a board game for foodies was an early project on Fund it, when crowdfunding was brand new to these shores, so Richard and Maggie are considered pioneers by their peers. They have been able to impart their experience and their knowledge to others who wish to crowdfund board games, and would advise anyone to consider crowdfunding for their project.
Here’s some tips from these pros:
~ Don’t underestimate how much time the campaign will demand – it needs to be a full-time job for those few weeks.
~ Use all the social media channels you have, including multiple accounts on the same platform.
~ Use as many media contacts as you can find – Radio gave them huge exposure, with pledges going through the roof after interviews and mentions!
~ Keep the campaign short and keep feeding news and ideas out throughout.
~ If you’re funding for a product (rather than an event), have a launch night for all your funders – They can meet you and find out more about your product and in turn they’ll be the best advocates you could hope for. Funders of SMÖRGASBOARD still drop them a note to say ‘hi’ now and then.
Thanks so much to Richard, Maggie, and their son Tom and daughter Rose (the team’s trusty quality controllers!), for sharing their dreams, their business and their story with us.
Want your own copy of the game? Hop on board here!