It’s finally here! Please help support our crowd-funding project by going either to www.indiegogo.com and search for “chocolate” or go directly to our project by going to this shortcut: www.emoc.info Lots of great tasting chocolate awaits you! Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled for our weekly surprise awards. Our first one will be announced sometime next week.
I am happy to announce the latest member of our advisory board. Jon Emmet is an experienced avid editor for television entertainment, and all around great guy. His enthusiasm, support and encouragement for our new venture is both inspiring and appreciated. We believe his participation on our advisory board will bring great insight and great energy and look forward to working with him.
On a separate note; he is gracious enough to help us edit our Kickstarter video.
We had a very productive week this week. To start, we had a meeting with a business consultant, setup by our business advisor. This gentleman works with large corporations, and startups to guide them towards success. He’s also an angel investor. Today’s meeting was not about looking for money (right now that’s what our Kickstarter project is for), but rather to see if our business is on the right track. I’m happy to say that he feels we are, and that we are right to focus on our upcoming Kickstarter project. We have several goals attached to the project. The obvious one is to raise the funds needed to buy equipment so we can produce a product. The other goal is to show demand. This is investing and business 101. If we can fund successfully we can show that our product has a demand (investors love to see this). This gives us a base to grow our business from. Besides Kickstarter, he had some other great suggestions that we will be incorporating into our business plan. We are looking to hire him on as another consultant and look forward to the experience and knowledge he can bring to the table. More on that later.
We are also happy to announce that we have secured a videographer to help film out video for the project. I don’t have details yet, as this was arranged by one of our advisory board members, and I have yet to meet with him. We also were able to see early versions of our animated logo. It’s a great start! Our artist is hard at work moving it along to a “final” product for us to use in the video!
We were planning on doing a project about a year ago, and at the time realized that perhaps that wasn’t the best way to go. Our reasons were sound at the time. Kickstarter requires that your “project” have a specific, limited goal. At first we thought we’d just ask people to help us raise money for a single piece of equipment to satisfy Kickstarter’s project requirements. We soon realized we need a lot more to get our business off the ground and then abandoned the idea.
After looking at traditional funding options (angel investors) we came full circle and realized that if we could just get the equipment for making chocolate and build molds, that would get us far enough to help raise the rest of our total needed funds. So, we decided that we’d ask for funds to purchase just that equipment, which in turn would also allow us to produce the rewards that we’d want to offer. So we will now be doing the Kickstarter project after all.
For those of you not too familiar with the website. Well, it’s what’s referred to as a “crowd-sourcing” website. Which basically means, you are asking for funding support from anyone for a project with a specific goal, like trying to record an album or create a comic book. The idea is that if your project is interesting and compelling enough, people will want to support you and contribute money. To encourage people to help, you offer “rewards” at different levels of contributions. For example: If you are trying to produce a comic book. Simple offering a copy of the comic book (pre-order) for so much money etc.
The catch with Kickstarter is it’s an all or nother scenario. Which means that if by the end of the project deadline, you don’t succeed at meeting your funding goal, you get nothing. Also people who offered to contribute to the project then give nothing.
We will be running the project for 30 days. We are allowed to run it up to 60 days, but from our research, most projects that fund successfully fund with a 30 day duration. I think that makes sense in a way. Any more than 30 days, and you run the risk of fatigue or people simply forget to contribute thinking they have plenty of time.
There is plenty of work still to do. We have to get our project video produced (a must for any project), and are still revising our rewards. Finally we are consolidating our contact network. I believe people (especially those who’s projects fail to raise the funds) that once you launch your project, you simply wait for the word of the internet to tune int and throw money at your project. Most projects that are successful, perhaps not surprisingly enough, get most of their supporters from their own connections and social networks.
Yes we will probably get some people that simply stumble onto our project and support it, simply because they like it. Obviously we’d love that and more, but can’t count on that as the entirety of our support framework.
Please don’t forget to sign up on our Kickstarter email list, and we will let you know when the project starts, share our progress, and announce cool, surprise rewards. When our project launches, you can click here to go right to our page.
Thanks, and wish us luck!
I’m happy to announce that we just added Tadao Masuyama to our advisory board. Tadao is a 3d modeler specializing in visual effects for the entertainment industry (Film, Television, and Commercials). Besides being very talented, he’s a pleasure to work with and I’m proud to have him on our team. He’s already been instrumental in converting our 2d logo into a full blown 3d version, as well as a few other models we are considering as rewards for our Kickstarter project (more info to come). We are looking forward to his generous support, and skills will be an incredible asset.
Welcome aboard Tadao!
Our master plan to complete our first round of funding just took a giant leap forward today. A very talented 3d modeler whom I know from the Visual Effects business was generous enough to help us move forward to reality. His name is Tadao Masuyama, and he helped bring our logo to the 3d world. Why would you turn your logo into a 3d model you ask? Well, if you’ve read a little bit on our blog, you would have noticed the word “3d” prop up a few times. Since our process is based on using 3d models to help fabricate our molds, what better way to give out rewards on our future kickstarter project (or other promotions for that matter) would be to give chocolate in the shape of our logo. In the case, the shape of our mascot. After all, he is basically the shape of a piece of chocolate already. So, it seemed like a perfect fit. Here’s a turntable of the final piece.
We are excited to FINALLY get our business cards, letterhead, and envelopes printed. They were a bit expensive (especially the business cards). As you can see by the included photos, the business cards were “die-cut” which means they were custom cut. Anything with the word “custom” means more $$$. But, I think they were well worth it. Check them out:
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and memorable business cards are a great place to start. My only complaint is the color is a bit off on the letterhead and envelopes. Turns out my designer didn’t include the same color profile in the adobe illustrator files for the envelope and letterhead that he did in the business card file, and that appeared to be the reason why the business card color came out okay, but the others did not. I partially blame myself for not spending more time to check.
Unfortunately Illustrator is not one of my stronger programs, so I didn’t figure it out until more troubleshooting later (for a different issue). I also lay a little responsibility on the printer. They were nice enough to offer re-prints and did several runs, but they were stubborn on trying a different file or file type as their definition of a “new job” is by file type and not by content, which I respectfully disagree with. Also, being that they deal with digital files all the time, you would think they would have noticed that one file had the color profile and the others didn’t.
Like everything in life, you learn from your mistakes and move on. Not much damage was done, and thankfully out of the three things I had printed, the one that will get the most exposure is the one without the color issues. At some point, I’ll have more printed, and I’ll be more aware of that next time. I’m sure this will not be the last mistake I make in building this new business, and all I can do is listen, and learn moving forward.
We decided to take our blog one step further. We got a great web developer (believe it or not, we found him in Romania through www.fiverrr.com). Anyway, we had him make the blog responsive and work with mobile devices. I believe this was a smart investment as we are increasingly becoming a mobile-centric culture and it stands to reason that the blog should look good on as many devices as possible.
Go to www.everythingsmadeofchocolate on your cellphone or tablet, and watch the magic happen. 😉
We had our first meeting with our business advisor today. He’s really awesome and generous with his time. He’s a co-founder of an angel investment group, and will be a great asset to help us get off the ground. We gave him our business plan for his review to see if we are on the right track.
We also learned a lot. It was almost too much to put down. One of the highlights that came up was putting together an “advisory” board. This is simply a group of people that are support of your business idea, and can bring something to the table (so to speak), either experience in a particular industry or other useable skills. At the beginning, they will not be anything more than advisors/supporters, however, in the future, there is a possibility of either stock or other investment opportunities.
I already named my friends Eric Bram, and Dariush Derakhshani to the board. Both have already been extremely supportive.
We finally got our blog up and running. Actually this is the second go at it. The first time we ended up having trouble with the theme breaking, so we kind of started over. Thankfully we hadn’t really utilized it yet so it wasn’t too much of a loss. But it’s up now and humming along. Still work to be done to configure it for guests.