This Valentine’s blog is to express my love and gratitude to the amazing people who funded Helga Wear's first local production run on Kickstarter, and of course, to tell you my real life love story.
It was spring of 2015, I was mid way through my self-employment training program, planning to secure funding to take my Ida prototype to patterning, grading, sampling and finally production.
photo courtesy of canstockphoto.com
Instead of traditional funding, I chose crowd sourced funding through Kickstarter. I built a campaign, set a time frame and target funding goal, and launched my campaign online to ask the world to help fund my project, Helga Wear, in it's infancy.
My advisors were against the idea, considered it risky even, because of the catch - if you fall short of your funding goal in the time frame you set, you walk away empty handed.
Despite the fears, it was a great and successful campaign, and fun too! I am forever grateful to my amazing network and the wonderful strangers who saw something in my idea, who felt something from my story.
But the Kickstarter really only sets the backdrop for the love story I’m here to tell. The real love story is all about the $100 reward - the Local Lionheart Special.
I'm getting to that.
To encourage folks to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign, rewards are given in turn for donations. The rewards are left almost completely up to your imagination; it’s expected to include the product being produced as one of the rewards, catering to the enthusiastic early adopters. But the most successful campaigns also include rewards at a wide range of dollar values.
My rewards ranged from $10 social media shout out ‘Thank-You’ to a $1000 tattoo of your initials on my forearm (yes, people actually bought that option, but that’s another story). Also included were the very first, locally produced Idas, in a dusty purple, and after exceeding the funding goal and reaching my first stretch goal, in matte black as well. YAY!
At the $100 mark was the Local Lionheart Special reward - only for the bravest folks living in the lower mainland. I offered a round trip to one of my 3 (secret) places to watch the sun set over breathtaking Vancouver City... on the back of my Honda Shadow.
Meanwhile, across the city at my close friends’ place - my refuge of home cooking, eternal sauerkraut, long cemetery walks and of course, everything music. Where, unbeknownst to me, my champions were telling their long-time friend and neighbour what I was up to. Although we were strangers, he had been hearing tales of our illustrious adventures over the years, and I imagine he decided it was time to get in on it.
His Kickstarter pledge came across my desk under his avatar name, Neon Mouse, a delightful visual. But when I showed up to his door, I got it. He was quiet and gentle, shining with Vancouver's neon nocturnal glory. Bright and handsome, yet soft, intriguing. He flooded me with attentive conversation and surprised me with islands of comfortable silence as we watched the sun set from a secret vantage point - out of this world. And there was something in the way he *perched* behind me - proud, calm, cat-(not mouse)-like in a sunbeam, on the back of my roaring ride, content in careening kilometres.
When I dropped him back at home, I had a feeling life would never go back to the way it had been.
I won’t give any more away, he's famously private, suffice to say we were married this past August, and his love and support have elevated me, and Helga, immeasurably along our journey.
I love you, Neon Mouse, here's to MANY more escapades at such great heights!