The Cost to Create is a new series that invites creators to share how they spent the funds they raised on Kickstarter in detail. Our first entry comes from two-time creator and former Kickstarter staffer Carol Benovic-Bradley, who raised $713 for her project, Winky Skull Enamel Pins, in 2017. If you’re interested in sharing your Cost to Create story, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had been working at Kickstarter for three years and still hadn’t run a project when we announced our first creative initiative, Make 100, in 2016. I had spent the past few years talking to creators about best practices when it comes to running a campaign, and Make 100 seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try myself. So I combined my love of enamel pins and creepy stuff and launched a project for Winky Skull Enamel Pins.
My original budget for the project was $500. This factored in the cost of making 110 enamel pins (about $300), funds for some design help ($100), and some additional budget for shipping and packaging expenses ($100).
I ordered the pins and got the design work done before my campaign launched because I wanted to receive the pins in a timely fashion for backers. So before I even ran the campaign I spent $275.22 on the pin manufacturing and $100 on design work. I really banked on my campaign getting successfully funded, but figured I could always sell the pins one by one or on Etsy if the campaign didn’t go well. Luckily it went well!
In the end, my campaign raised $713 (142% of my original goal) from 70 backers, 66 of whom pledged to receive the pin. After fees and dropped pledges, I had a total of $642.53. Here, I’ll break down how I spent that money.
Manufacturer: Made By Cooper
Details: 110 enamel pins and backing cards
A fellow Kickstarter creator referred me to Made by Cooper, a good quality, affordable option for manufacturing the pins. However, the trade-off for the affordable price was time. It took over two months from the time of my order to receive the pins.
Designer: Courtney Moy
I asked Courtney, a friend of a friend and a designer I’d worked with before, to come up with some potential designs for the pin. I ended up going with a version that another friend made for the final pin, but I used Courtney’s original sketches for the backing card (see image below).
I bought some fancy envelopes for shipping the pins, but once I looked closer, I realized that they didn’t have any adhesive glue on them (WTF!). So instead of sinking more funds into buying new envelopes, I got some heavy-duty tape to make sure that they stayed sealed during transit.
Initial shipping: $50
I hand-shipped a few rewards. I only had a few backers in countries other than the U.S. I was surprised that shipping something to Canada was just as expensive as shipping something to Germany!
Additional shipping: $107.55
Shipping company: Shyp
This is probably TMI, but right around the time I was fulfilling my project, I got my wisdom teeth removed (see this update). Turns out that when you get your wisdom teeth removed, you do not want to go to the post office. So I ended up using Shyp. They picked up my remaining rewards and shipped them out for me. It was a little more expensive than doing it myself, but I had funds remaining that could cover the cost.
The final breakdown
What I learned
Overall, Winky Skull taught me that even when a project seems simple and easy, delays can happen. Production of the pins took longer than I thought it would, and life (wisdom teeth removal) got in the way. Also, shipping things isn’t as simple or straightforward as I thought it would be.
All that aside, it was a super fun project to work on and I still get compliments on the pin to this day. I definitely have a few other enamel pin ideas up my sleeve.
Lastly, it was a great first foray using Kickstarter! I was so excited that my friends wanted to help me make this project happen and there were even a few folks I didn’t know who supported Winky Skull.
Want to share your Cost to Create story with Kickstarter? Reach out to us at email@example.com with the subject line “Cost to Create.”