"What Happened Next Was Amazing!"
Guest blog from our incredibly successful crowdfunder Welsh Wallace
I had not heard the term “crowdfunding” until a few months ago when I was approached by Michelle from Bloom VC. Being an avid tweeter I was having a moan how my disabilities from injuries I had sustained a couple of years ago was blocking my attempts to get on training programs as people only saw my disabilities and not what I was capable of. I am fully blind, one working-armed welsh lass, normally hooked up to oxygen and unable to stand for more than a few minutes. But even though my body may seem ready for the scrap heap I knew within myself I was capable of doing so much more than sitting at home collecting benefits.
You see I have a talent for sculpting with clay through touch. If I am honest, I am not that bad at it either. Before I would just be making the odd piece as presents for Jeff Wayne or Marti Pellow but so many people on Twitter kept asking me if they could buy my work or commission me to make a special piece. After having nearly every door closed firmly in my place I spoke at length to Michelle who gave me the support and confidence to put together a project proposal to raise enough money to create my own business selling my clay work. Working out the basic lowest expense scared me. £2500-£3000 was the absolute basic total to get off the ground and to me seemed an unachievable amount.
Once approved the project went live. What happened next was amazing. I had set the 60 day option to reach my target because I did not expect allot of interest if I am honest but so many amazing people on twitter reached my target within 2 weeks and beyond the 100% target. It gives you a sense of determination you didn’t have before because with so many people believing in you, you become more driven to succeed to not let them down. Waiting for the project to close was probably the hardest wait. While I waited I cracked on designing the shop brand and sourcing materials and suppliers, obtaining forms, to register the business etc and designing clay work pieces so a lot could be done before hand.
Once the money was received I then cracked on. Not a penny was wasted. Every penny I had saved for a rainy day was also spent. But to be filled with renewed confidence in you, and drive and motivation felt amazing. People who did not know me except from on twitter, through to people who did know me in real life, gave me so much support, either through promises or shouting from the rooftops to their friends about what I was trying to achieve. Unable to sleep as my mind kept working on designs, creating the website, making clay work and promises did not feel like work. And the support from Bloom did not stop once the project finished. If I needed advice, they were there. If I needed support, they were there and still are.
Also from the crowdfunding I did not have the stress of a loan hanging over me. So everything I make can be ploughed straight back into the shop to create a larger range. It genuinely feels like I am making presents for friends than items in a shop, it is that enjoyable. The promises I offered were from the range of designs I was making for the shop. Various costs but I charged the same amount that I will be in the shop as I felt it fairer to use the profits rather than expect the money for nothing. The Heritage Boxes went down a storm and I cannot wait to get feedback once they are delivered next week. My shop goes live in 2 weeks time and I have never felt happier.
Everyone wrote me off except Bloom and the people on Twitter. Now my Housing Association has given me special permission to work from home as they know how hard I have worked to get this far.
I have been given a future that I now have control over. I have my self respect back and that is priceless but completely owed to crowd-funding.
I hope to return the favour in the future by making promises to others and help them achieve their goals and dreams. Crowdfunding helped me achieve mine – they can help you achieve yours.