Well, that certainly could have gone better.
The funding period for Faire Play 2 has ended and we’ve come up short. Like, way, way, way short. You can still purchase the models for the Faire Play 2 chariot, gladiatrix armor, and Empress Makeover Kit over at The Bazaar, but the Kickstarter’s gone off and joined the choir invisible.
Before we proceed, allow me this big, red, throbbing, baboon-ass of a caveat. Nowhere is it written that one is entitled to a successful Kickstarter. You buys your ticket, and you takes your chances. Zheng Labs rolled the dice and came up with a big old nothing-burger this time. C’est la vie.
But you can’t hit if you don’t swing, right? Build it, as is told in the Book of Costner, and they will come.
And come they did, in droves. Faire Play 2 received a tremendous amount of favorable media coverage in online publications across the spectrum, from The Huffington Post to Newsmax. There are Kickstarters that would kill for that kind of exposure.
And yet, despite a truly inspiring amount of publicity and online good will, Faire Play 2 missed its goal by roughly eighty percent.
But as Grandma Zheng always used to say, if you’re going to fail, you might as well fail spectacularly. So there’s that.
What happened? Let’s explore some possibilities.
#1. In hindsight, launching a Kickstarter contingent on the cooperation of cats might not have been the smartest business plan.
Everybody knows there’s no way you’d ever get a cat to pull a chariot. Ever. And even if you did the cat would find a way to kill you in your sleep. The Venn diagram of people with Barbie dolls, 3D printers, and cats is also vanishingly small, which further limited the number of potential Faire Play 2 backers.
#2. People are used to getting amusing content for free, and converting Kickstarter video views into Kickstarter backing isn’t a viable strategy.
I had a tremendous amount of fun creating the Kickstarter video for this project. My hope was that people would watch the video and then think, “Yes! Imagine what this guy could do with greater resources. Here’s two bucks.”
Alas, in a world where hilarious dashcam vids of road-raging mascots are free for the taking, asking people to selflessly contribute to one’s artistic endeavors is hoplessly naïve.
Still, STILL! Many people did contribute to the project for precisely that reason! I’m thoroughly grateful to the hundred or so idealists who supported Faire Play 2. You folks are the best, and the world would be better off with more people like you.
Also, apparently 3d printed lithopanes are a terrible idea for a backer reward. Who knew?
#3. Nobody plays with dolls anymore.
It hasn’t been a great year for Mattel. Barbie sales crashed 21% in Q3 of 2014 and have been sinking for three years straight, and Mattel’s CEO left for greener pastures.
I’m doing what I can to revitalize Barbie’s image, but I can’t imagine a kid born after 2010 picking up a doll when there’s an iPad nearby. The market for aftermarket Barbie accessories, already quite nichey, gets smaller every day.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but model this Barbie-compatible tire iron. In this house, Barbie changes her own tires.
It’s free! Download it here. You’ll have to heat-deform it after printing to get that nice bend in the shaft.
So, what’s next?
Oh, man, I am so excited for the Next Thing.
I’ve been working on the Next Thing for the last couple of weeks and hope to announce it soon. Here’s a wee teaser image for you.
And big, big, BIG thanks to everyone who supported the project. I’s got good peeps.