What is crowdfunding ?
We just launched our latest crowdfunding campaign, Raven Rova Rides On!
Crowdfunding is a method of raising business capital that falls under the “decentralized wealth” and “alternative funding” categories.
Crowdfunding is when many people, a crowd, help a business meet a financial goal. It usually brings a product or service to life.
Why is it beneficial ?
Crowdfunding is brilliant because it takes the financial burden of loans or investing personal savings off small business owners. This allows them to grow the business without going into debt.
It’s good for consumers because you get a direct say in what businesses you support.
You are empowering equality and promoting decentralized wealth.
Small businesses owners are not at the mercy of financial institutions.
While we’re not knocking business banking, the fact is that a traditional bank wants to see up to 5-10 years of business records before they will consider lending to you. So, how is a business in their first 5 years supposed to get capital ? Enter alternative funding, such as crowdfunding (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, iFundWomen) or community backed zero interest loans from Kiva.
How did we get this far ?
At Raven Rova, Founder Karleen has used her personal funds as “seed money.” The cold hard cash she earned working. All because she was passionate about making Raven Rova real.
She's got skin in the game, amounting to around $20,000.00 since 2018.
The seed money paid for our prototypes. We tested and refined these products. We got other riders to try on and test ride them. We improved the prototypes and went into production in 2019. We used crowdfunding!
The 2019 Crowdfunding
This allowed us to produce the Falcon Pants, and a small run of Falcon Jackets. We actually did not reach our full goal.
Founder, Karleen was in a hit and run accident 3 days after the campaign launched. The culmination of 2 hit and runs that summer, she ended up with a compression fracture on vertebrae C-5. Karleen was in a neck brace for 2.5 months. So, she just didn’t have the capacity to promote the campaign to the full extent. Don’t worry; we still raised enough to go into production! It was a success!
So, this is a perfect example of crowdfunding being flexible and focused on helping small business owners achieve their goals - even when "shit happens."
Unofficial Crowdfunding During Lockdown: The Raven Pants!
Once the Falcons launched, we got more press. Women Riders Now wrote two fantastic articles about Raven Rova. And in concert, the virtual Women’s Motorcycle Tours Conference happened in March 2020. In the depths of lockdown, women all over the country came together for this motorcycle conference.
Karleen was on an expert panel hosted by JoAnn Donn, the Gear Chic. “Ask the Makers, Indie Motorcycle Gear for Woman” Along with other female first gear brand founders.
You spoke loud and clear!
Orders for the Raven Pants flooded in! We had enough to pay for half the Raven Pant production run. Again, Karleen subsidized the difference with her personal funds. We also made a small batch of Phoenix Leather Jackets. This all was possible because of the community!
2021 - 2022
Those two production batches carried us until now! If we grow at the same rate as last year, those items will be gone in June.
The Drawbacks of 2019/2020 Production Batches:
We had a smaller following in 2019 and 2020. So, we made our best guess about which sizes to order. We sold out of size 20 & 22 Falcon pants immediately. We sold 95% of sizes 16 & 18 pants. We didn’t even have sizes 04 or 24 of the Falcon Pants yet!
Tons of you spoke up! I can’t even count the number of women who emailed me asking for theses sizes! You also asked me for a restock of the Falcon Jacket. Plus, I got tons of requests to do the Falcon in another color.
So, in early 2022 Karleen formalized these requests with a customer survey. We kept it open for a month to make sure everybody could participate. She’s also had countless individual email & chat conversations. Thanks ladies!
What’s different in 2022 ?
We have a substantially larger following, about 250% email list growth and we grew our sales by 159% between 2020 and 2021!
Products have been tested by you. We know which ones work for different bodies and riding styles.
Founder, Karleen, has also been through many personal life changes. All to the good. Still, she can no longer use personal funds to front production.
Doesn’t Raven Sell Enough?
Raven Rova has a positive revenue stream. Remember, revenue is before operating expenses are deducted. So, we sell enough to cover our operating costs and keep a little cash on hand for unexpected expenses. Founder, Karleen earns no money from this business.
Our Operating Expenses:
- Annual government fees and taxes
- Annual sales & use tax remittances to CA
- Annual Shopify (our e-commerce host) fees.
- Warehouse & logistics expenses including shipping, storage, shipping supplies, and paying the humans who do this service.
- Import duties and taxes on new production batches entering the USA.
- Business Insurance & Tax Prep Fees
- Shows & Event Booth Fees (we have done 2 since Covid hit)
- So, your orders. AKA our revenue stream cover these expenses.
MOQ’s: Minimum Order Quantities
Producers have them, we must meet them. As I mentioned, we have an excellent relationship with our production team. We have negotiated for a smaller MOQ, 50% of their standard.
Still, if you are familiar with the accrual accounting method this is a classic example. We need to pay for the products to be made before they reach our store.
In the early days we experimented with allowing pre-orders on our website.
We didn’t like the customer experience it created. Subconsciously, you expect your item ASAP. Even if you logically know there is a wait time. So, we only sell in-stock, ready to ship items on RavenRova.com.When you support a crowdfunding campaign, there’s a different expectation for delivery time.
Conclusion: Crowdfunding is a Win-Win!
Bonus: it’s a nice “f you” to the patriarchy! Especially with iFundWomen as our platform. Decentralized wealth is a step towards closing gender and race gaps. Empowering entrepreneurs to establish themselves and grow sustainable business.
When you support crowdfunding. You are making change in the world and supporting the businesses you care about.
Please support our Crowdfunding Campaign!
Order Gear $225-$450
Donate $5 & up
Share the link, it's FREE!
- Karleen, the rebel riding this crazy cycle that is Raven Rova