Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Blankape

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am pleased to welcome Aprile Larracas to our cozy little blog to talk about her project Blankape.  Thank you for joining us today Aprile!

Thank you for having me. I appreciate your interest in our project.

So you’ve made a cape blanket is that it?   Could you describe your product in detail?

The Blankape is the fun blanket that you can velcro on so it stays with the kids all the time.
I’m sure you’ve seen kids drag their blankets everywhere! With the Blankape they can wear it everywhere. They can keep warm and cozy with it, and also have fun with it as a cape. All kids love capes! I think as soon as they wear it, it just automatically gives them imaginative superpowers. They can do that with the Blankape. Even superheroes need to stay warm :-)
They can also wear it outdoors - to the park, camping, when they’re watching a game, an amusement park or even a night stroll around the neighborhood.

This seems exactly like the kind of product I see advertised on my daughter’s TV shows.  The Blankape could totally be right after the Stompie commercials and the Snuggie commercials.  So why come to Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is not only a great funding platform, but also a great way to test my market. I believe I have a great product, but does everyone else think so too? With Kickstarter, I will be able to see how many people are willing to buy a Blankape at very little cost. I would love to advertise on TV, but it takes a tremendous amount of money to do so. I’m not counting it out at all, if the Blankape does well I would definitely use the money to get the word out. But I’m the underdog, the little guy, just a local mom who believes in something and is actually going for it with limited resources. So I’m starting from scratch. Kickstarter is free, so why not?

How strong is the Velcro on the Blankape?  I assume you have to balance the ability to hold the Blankape up with the safety of not strangling the kids.  

It is strong enough to keep it on you, but safe enough to come off right away so that it does not strangle the kids. Safety is my priority. It started with a small velcro attached directly onto the body of the Blankape and it would come off as soon as you put it on. Instead of making the velcro bigger, I just added the velcro onto a strap so that the weight of the Blankape is not totally carried by the velcro.

So what inspired you to make the Blankape?  How long have you been working on it?

My kids have inspired me to make the Blankape. As a mom, I’m always looking for convenience and something easier for my kids. I’m also always looking for something fun for them and to let them just be kids. The Blankape was just that - something I needed, and something they wanted. I’ve been working on it for about a year now.

You’ve totally nailed my “Girl Scout Test” when it comes to personifying your project.  How much of a family affair is the whole Blankape project?  

This is a family project. I made these for my kids because I needed it, and it’s been improved to accommodate their imagination. Every Time they wore their Blankapes, ideas would be thrown around like, “Mommy, can you make me a blue one? Mommy, how about camouflage? Mommy, the hood is too big. Mommy, it keeps falling off.” What better way to improve your product than to have your customers test it, right? My kids, nieces and nephews all became a big part of the Blankape. They let me drag them out in the cold to take pictures or videos, they gave me suggestions, and most of all they’ve encouraged me that all kids will love it!!

Woah woah woah... your project ends at the end of February yet your estimated delivery date for the Blankapes is March 2013?! Does that mean you already have them made?  How prepared for the “Post Campaign” are you?

I have several manufacturers I’ve been working with and they are ready for production. It takes them two weeks to make 500 pcs. Mid campaign, if it looks like we are going to meet our funding goal, I will give them the green light to start production. If we have Backers beyond our expectations I can use the other manufacturers I’ve been working with so that we meet the March delivery.

How hard is it to manufacture the Blankape?  I mean I wouldn’t think a standard “blanket factory” could just crank them out since it’s a new product type.  

I’m working with different manufacturers who are capable to complete my needs. They can work in parallel depending on how much Backers we can get.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

My brother in law told me about Kickstarter. I didn’t know about it at first but I saw some cool projects and I found myself coming back to it all the time. It almost became an addiction. lol I would check it everyday for new projects, great deals, or to see if the projects made it, etc. It was amazing to see different projects and you somewhat connect and hope that they do well. There are a lot of the “little guy” trying to make it, and you can’t help but wish big things for them.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

Before we launched Kickstarter, I’ve given out Blankapes to family and friends. I’ve recieved pictures with their Blankapes and stories about their experience. I plan to share it with my Backers. I also have a Facebook page that I constantly update. I’ve shared stories about my experience, behind the scenes footage of making our campaign video, etc. I post a lot of pictures hoping our facebook fans will see how you can use a Blankape and where you can use them.

The Blankape: A Fun Blanket -- Kicktraq Mini 

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

Facebook is my primary source because that’s where most of my family and friends are. I’m also on twitter and have sent out emails to people that might have interest. I’m also contacting mom bloggers to review/share my product, journalists, etc. I’ve asked my friends and family to help spread the campaign video and I’m getting a lot of help and support from them. I

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Research, research, research!! I didn’t realize it but it’s so much harder than it looks. I thought that since everyone liked my product that they were going to automatically buy one. It’s not working out that way. It takes a lot more...way more...for someone to pull out their credit card to make a pledge. I’m spending as much time everyday as I am when I was preparing for Kickstarter launch.   

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

I’m just a mom trying to share a product that me and my kids enjoy. It’s even become a necessity for us. I am just hoping that I’ve shown how great it is through my campaign video. Kids can become anything they want with the Blankape. So far, my kids have become superman, spiderman, little red riding hood, and even Zombie killers. lol When they put it on, they are able to save the world. It has also become a security blanket for them. We can’t watch another movie without Blankape, it has become part of our movie night scene. My kids love them, and I hope it brings other kids lots of smiles and superpowers when they have it on too.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

Thanks so much for having me! I appreciate your time and effort for this interview. Thanks again!!

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