If you have the creativity, passion, patience, and internet access, you too can bring your business dreams to reality with the power of crowdfunding.
As founder (and first member) of The Avocado Club, I just want to say how truly appreciative I am of all the support that myself and the club crew have received over the last year and a half. From our Instagram followers, our podcast guests, our artists, our collaborating brands, our sponsors, our consultants and basically any individual that has helped shape what we are today. This of course includes my amazing family and friends who have been putting up with my entrepreneurial antics for 30 years.
Also, a very special thank you to the almighty avocado.
Random? Maybe. Niche? Perhaps. If you’re like me, then you have a serious case of acid reflux. If you’re also like me, then you don’t give a sh*t and you love all things spicy anyway. Especially hot sauce.
But there needs to be more of a justification to choose hot sauce as the FIRST EVER original product of a brand that has completely changed my life, right? Right. And there is!
Hottee Aguacatee (hot-ee agua-cot-ee) is the perfect physical representation of what I firmly believe The Avocado Club stands for:
Hot sauce is simple yet so complex. There are quite literally an unlimited number of recipes that exist and are still being developed as I type out this sentence. And now that the sentence is over, another 24,000 have just been created.
Ok maybe that’s not true but it does create that dramatic effect that I aimed for, right?
Jalapeños | Energy
Tomatillos | Respect
Shallots | Complexity
Ginger | Kindness
Garlic | Bravery
Lime | Preservation
Sea Salt | Adventure
Cilantro | Growth
White Vinegar | Foundation
Avocado Oil | Wellness
This COMMUNITY of ingredients (see what I did there?) that makes up the sweet heat in Hottee Aguacatee directly represents a practice that I continue to perfect every single day.
And most importantly, it represents the now 15,000+ Club Members who have shown their daily support for the brand since we launched.
I chose hot sauce because it is the perfect celebration of how powerful a passionate community can be and what can happen when you bring good people together to do good things. Additionally, the average bottle of hot sauce is a unique, artistic reflection of the hot sauce maker’s (hi) personality.
No, I’m not calling myself a “Hottee”. That name is reserved for our customers.
Also, it’s like really f*cking good and I’m excited for you to try it.
You can’t spell Brandon without “Brand”! For as long as I could remember, I’ve always wanted to own a product. More specifically.. something you can hold in your hand. A gadget. A gizmo. A whats-a-whoosie. A thing. You get it.
But more importantly, I wanted this “thing” to make an impact. To make a difference. To actually f*cking matter, right? Right.
I learned a very long time ago how important it was for a brand to have a strong sense of social responsibility. Finding ways to give back to the communities that have given you and your team members significant value.
This is exactly why The Avocado Club will be donating a portion of our profits to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Most don’t know that avocados have very strong stress-relieving properties.
And as someone who has personally struggled with both anxiety and depression, this partnership felt like a super natural fit!
This section is (arguably) the most important of them all. Why? Because I’m about to break down exactly how I was able to successfully spread awareness and excitement of a product yet to release to groups of audiences that desire it most.
“Groups” being the key word. “Facebook” being the first key word before the second key word. Still with me? :)
If you clicked open this article, it’s most likely because you’re planning a crowdfunding campaign, already have one live or are simply just interested in learning more about how it all works. Or maybe you just love hot sauce. Whatever the reason, welcome 👋🏼🤴🏻
It doesn’t matter if you have the product 100% ready or not. If you feel that it is, awesome! But if you’re expecting to receive a high number of backers come launch day, it’s absolutely essential to get this awesome product of yours into the right hands way before you’re ready to push “Launch”.
The most efficient way of doing this is via Facebook Groups. Seriously. This “social” experiment (see what I did there?) tested a potentially valuable hypothesis:
“If a Facebook user joined a Facebook group related to their passion or general interest, would they be more likely to engage with an offer (related to that interest) than someone who was not a part of that group?” — Brandon thought as he shoveled tacos into his mouth.
Here’s the post that I shared across all of the RELEVANT groups that I discovered for FREE on Facebook:
I actually had to stop taking sample requests because of the amazingly-overwhelming response. That’s an excellent problem to have and one that I am hoping you’ll have as well!
Use your personal Facebook profile to post
Be transparent with your ask! Don’t overpromise anything
Mention exactly WHY you’re offering samples
Have a CTA that enables interested group members to reach out to you for questions in case the thread gets too crowded (it will).
Keep your message handy and available for sharing to other RELEVANT Group pages
Get your Notes app or an excel sheet ready for all of your amazing leads!
Branding & Packaging
It makes or breaks your brand! And in my opinion, it’s the most enjoyable aspect of launching any new business.
After receiving nearly 200+ requests (and growing) from this ultra-targeted Facebook Group outreach, I knew that I had to do something really special for this samples experience. You’ve got your potential backers’ attention, right?
I jumped on Amazon and ordered a package of sturdy paper boxes, crowns and keys (meant for cake decorating) and about 5 lbs of recyclable shredded green construction paper for filler. Each of these boxes were assembled with a custom branded sticker pack (thanks to our new partners at MakeStickers!) as another fun way of saying “thanks”.
Now I am completely unaware of the product that you’re hoping to fund via crowdfunding and I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to fit that food truck sample in a pretty box like the one above…
The goal here is to simply create value and then take it even further by adding in some fun extras. And that leads me to the next VERY important and SUPER helpful part of this strategy.
An enormous amount of credit towards the growth of The Avocado Club goes directly to partnerships. Networking with brands that compliment the work that we do as well as those whom we feel we can provide value for. YAY FOR MUTUAL VALUE!
And because we’re all about the avocado, guess which sort of brands we reach out to? Yep, you’re right. You’re so smart :)
Because all of these brands were utilizing avocado in creative ways, we thought it would make sense to reach out directly from our Instagram account and say a little something like…
Instagram DM is an enormously underrated form of networking. Especially if you have a great looking Instagram page!
My goal here was to partner with a custom stickers brand to feature brand stickers inside of each sample delivery. And through this successful partnership, all parties were receiving very special value:
1. My value was that I got to include more awesome content within each box and save on the production cost.
2. The stickers brand found value in spreading brand awareness too about 200+ sample recipients and anyone who comes across our Kickstarter campaign.
3. The sample recipients found value in.. well FREE STICKERS!
So let’s recap what exactly each sample box includes:
A bottle of the most amazing avocado-based hot sauce ever!
A branded sticker pack
A temporary tattoo pack (yes, we used the same strategy)
A bunch of shredded green paper (because it’s fun!)
Oh yeah! And one of these friendly little cards (courtesy of our friends at VistaPrint)…
The eagle-eyed Medium readers may’ve noticed a couple unique works of art featured earlier in this article (go ahead and scroll up if you haven’t, I’ll wait!).
As much as I would have loved to take the credit for these amazing works, they were created by talented artists that I reached out to. The goal was to have them create Hottee Aguacatee in their own unique style so that I could use this creative to promote the kickstarter campaign across social (just like I’m doing right now).
Each artist was discovered via Fiverr.com and the rates were very reasonable. This is also a more creative, less expensive way to create social content over capturing high-end product photography.
Also if these artists have strong audiences, they will be very likely to share your campaign once it goes live!
Reminder: Make sure you have the artist create the right sizes for your social channels!
Now all that’s left for you to do is fulfill samples of your product and spread all of that awesome awareness before you launch!
If you have any questions or would even like to hire me for your Kickstarter campaign, send me a DM at @brandonbassador on Instagram and let’s talk 📲