As I eluded to in the last post, I am working through the numbers trying to decide if an episodic production and release through Kickstarter is a viable option.
So, we now have a course and a destination… Which honestly is a very welcome and refreshing change.
Why use Kickstarter?
As a marketing platform it allows to reach a wider audience, not just my current customers but those new to the hobby and those who never knew DreamForge was even a ‘thing’. I think we all know that the train has stalled, and its going to take a lot of effort and lots of attention to get it rolling again. Perhaps there will be a time that I can move off the Kickstarter platform, but for now… The broader exposure is required. This exposure comes at a price, Between the Kickstarter fees, the currency transaction fees and the backer support fees in the form of a post Kickstarter service to collect shipping and allow backers to add items or options, we are looking at near 10% in fees alone.
Not every Kickstarter campaign will succeed, that’s OK. If the demand for a particular kit is not there, then its not… No harm no foul, we move on to the next product offering. I completely expect for there to be unfunded projects that never make it to plastic and possibly (if there was enough interest) may see a resin release instead. There will be changes to how DreamForge approaches on hand inventory and even they type of products offered, not all offerings need to be Iron Core specific, it provides far more flexibility in product development than making sure each product fits neatly into the project I have already started. If I get an itch to do…well anything, it gives a platform to see if all of you are also interested.
How will that work? And what does that look like from the customers side?
The plan is to have a very focused Kickstarter for a single product, its actual production costs and any profits expected will need to be folded into the funding goal. This is a strong departure from the retail model, where revenues are gained over time and the investment/debt is front loaded.
Product availability outside the initial Kickstarter will be limited, 10% to 20% beyond the total needed to fulfill the Kickstarter will be run, some of that will be soaked up by the inevitable issues, damaged kits, mispacked or missing items from a kit and kits that never make it to the backer and get lost in transit.
There may be re-runs offered on popular kits in future Kickstarter’s, but there will be minimums that need to be met, typically a 500 unit run will be needed. If I feel that the kit will sell, I may assist with purchasing some of that re-run myself, to provide stock on hand. The best way for a customer to approach this is to buy what you want and what you think you will need at the time of the offering, I cannot make a promise that there will be a second run if the overall interest is not there.
Customers will need to pay for the actual shipping costs for the products they back.
Shipping, as we all know is stuuupid expensive from the US to anywhere outside its borders. Each Kickstarter will be shipped directly from China to mitigate the expense to the customer as much as possible, this means most of the world will likely see a drastic cost reduction, but the US will see an increase. Why don’t I just ship the US from the US? Well, because it’s a hidden cost, one that would need to be calculated into the Kickstarter… Someone has to pay to get it to the US before it could be sent out from our warehouse, add to this the staffing costs, the shipping package costs and overhead, and it becomes a real issue that has not been factored into the per kit price… We are running as lean as possible, to provide a per kit price that is as low as possible, there will be no room for uncalculated expenses.
How are the Kickstarter's structured?
This is open for revision, but the plan is to absorb the costs and required profits into a 1000 minimum unit run. If it costs $40,000 for the molds, production, boxes and services, then the cost of each unit would be $40.00.
What happens if a Kickstarter goes nuts and the total funding far outstrips the required funding goal? Do you get a discount? Discounts will be offered when you pick up multiple kits, not by the overall success of a product. Those are profits that get re-invested to make DreamForge healthy, to pay for game development, to pay for additional stock, to help pay for re-release of the current line of kits, as those tools will need to be re-cut at some point. I am not pulling the discount off the table, but for the foreseeable future, I have a lot of catching up to do and core development that needs to happen for DreamForge to grow and thrive.
I want to be clear, this is not going to be a song and dance Kickstarter model, there ‘may’ be extras offered if there is room on the sprues, ( I will try to pack them the best that I can) but anything extra in the form of products adds to the costs and I am not bulking the costs to deal with that. I am trying to keep the price per kit to you as low as I possibly can.
Longer term with the releases and stock on hand.
Obviously, this model does is not ideal for some aspects of brand development, limited supply concerns may not be ideal but it’s not unusual when we look around the industry and other companies that made their way on Kickstarter. I am not GW, I do not have their sales volume or the resources available to behave like GW. Please understand that expecting a small manufacture in plastic to be able to behave and function as one of the top two or three in the industry, may not really be a reasonable expectation. I will strive to get there, but until the financial aspect of that shift make sense, I will be doing what is best for the growth of the company with the resources available.
I think we can all agree, that Iron Core needs at least two to three full factions, terrain and a rules set, so as we move through these requirements, I will try to weight when it becomes viable as its own free standing IP. The goal is to grow the brand, expand the product offering, make available some of the older kits and even start to offer some options for those not interested in Iron Core. Fantasy, Cyberpunk and a myriad of other avenues are available and the wider the base of offerings, the more stable the base.
All of this is dependent on me, making what you want, delivered at a reasonable price within a reasonable time.
I am very excited about the prospect and the future. I am really looking forward to exploring your ‘needful things’ and if they can be created and successfully funded in an episodic, backer driven environment. I hope that you join be on this new course and help guide my had in future releases.
Soooo many itches to scratch, so little time :P
- Through surveys sent to my mailing list… So please sign up on the DreamForge-Games website if you have not.
- Through my Facebook group DreamForge-GamesArtist Retreat (please do not try to message me here) For whatever reason FB and I do not sync well…. I must be an old fart, not a huge fan of FB or twitter :P
- On Dakka Dakka (I could start my own forum but it’s a waste of energy, at least at this stage)
- And, well...here but its not very good for two way conversations.