Why I don't "Crowdfund" or use Kickstarter

Heidi Rettig's Faux leopard coat and vintage bag.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with mood sprays or crowd funding. I just wanted to show you my vintage faux leopard coat and the red bag I bought in Paris fifteen years ago.

Now, on to the point:

Every once in awhile a friend will ask me why I don't put the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays on Kickstarter. I have vision for my products beyond what you see here (mostly marketing and sample sizes) but it's tough to leverage the cash to make some of those dreams come true.The crowdfunding concept is attractive and Kickstarter's success stories would make any entrepreneur want to try for the gold.

But here's what I've learned after working in philanthropy: there's no such thing as "free money." Here's another thing I've learned from a decade of helping nonprofits raise money: You can ask for money but you can only ask one time. No - really.

Think of it this way and your successful grant applications will noticeably increase: If you have just one opportunity to connect with a funding source - are you ready? Can you present a carefully thought out idea (you would be surprised how many people believe that a casual social relationship with a funder will be more important than have an actual idea to discuss.) Does your work fit the donor's funding interests? Is it a quality product? Will you pursue the goal with or without funders' support? Do you have the skills to pull any of it off? Because if you're not ready even though you swore you would be then you can't ask again. If you do get the money then you have a set of responsibilities to the donor. Are you prepared for that?

So much energy goes into the creative presentation of ideas - that's a truly beautiful thing and crowd funders do that really well. Where it often falls apart is on delivery. Because happens when you accept support but your end product is just, kind of..."meh"...? What happens when the idea never comes to fruition? That's powerful information you're sending to your community of supporters about your products and your abilities to pull it off. Botch it and you'll never be able to ask again.

If you've given support to more than one Kickstarter project the chances are you've received something pretty average in return. Okay, it's a gamble and not every gamble pays off. But would you give money to that entrepreneur again? Or just look for someone else the next time around?

Also, my experience has been that people get tired of the "ask." How many times have you received an email from a cause promising that they'll never ask you for money again? Never is as long as it takes for the next email to arrive, just a couple of months later. Like a guy on the street corner with a cup out - passerby eventually become indifferent to his plight. In the case of nonprofit arts, I don't think that your email list makes any distinction between the tickets you're selling as an "ask" and the quarterly plea for donations. An "ask" is an "ask." They will become indifferent to repeated requests. So what do you want the most from them? Ask for that. One time.

I don't crowd fund because I'd rather just sell you my truly beautiful thing - my Mood Sprays - because I am pretty confident you will enjoy the scent, the luxury packaging, and the humor on the labels. If you enjoy them you will return to the website for more. Mood Sprays are a real idea, in the marketplace, for real-time feedback. And the feedback and support from customers is incredibly satisfying. (Best "starter" mood spray for the novice user: Apathy - smells like fresh-peeled grapefruit!)

I so appreciate my relationships with the folks who have taken a chance on my products - it has been wonderful to get to know all of you and your candor over the past two years has helped me refine the project in so many important ways. Good reviews give me energy for the next steps. Thank you!

I feel good about every box I ship - I've hand-blended every bottle and I know that if it smells good enough for me it smells good enough for you. So, I guess from that point of view, I could feel confident about putting my work up on a crowd funding site. But honestly - it feels so much better when you buy Mood Sprays just because you enjoy them! Thanks for listening.

[steps off soapbox]

Heidi

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Special for Denver, Colorado RIGHT HERE.

Inspired by the people I met on a recent trip to Denver, I'm running a new ad in Colorado's Westword publication.

 

 

This week's special: Purchase a full-sized bottle of Apathy and you will receive a set of four mini-misters as a bonus gift!

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The Best $5 I've ever spent.

What's the best $5 you've ever spent? Leave a comment on the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays' Facebook page! If you post a response you may win a free set of mini-sprays!

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Simply Charming in Winchester, VA now stocking aromatherapy mood sprays!

  

 

Anti bad mood aromatherapy sprays are now for sale at Simply Charming in Winchester, VA!

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Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Dysfunctional Families.

 

Let's be real. Not everyone has the kind of mother that warrants the delivery of FTD’s Best Mom Ever™ bouquet! There’s no greeting card that says, “Mom, the years you didn’t speak to me were the best years of my life.”If only there were a web shop called the "Guilt" Group.

But it’s not just the social mandate on Mother’s Day gift giving that's so stressful. It’s the ham dinner ritual children are forced to attend each year. All through brunch you listen to your Mom tell you how “proud” she is of your doctor sister and how “relieved” she is that you, a Humanities major, “finally turned out o.k.”

Sitting there pushing the restaurant’s non-Vegan food to the edges of the plate your teenage dreams -- of running away to 1980’s New York City to wait tables for 90 hours a week at a Chinese restaurant to pay for a tiny apartment with a tub in the “kitchen” and just enough room for a twin mattress and a giant can of roach spray -- still sound pretty good, actually.

HR Products' mood lifting aromatherapy sprays are great gifts for less-than-perfect Moms - and their children. You're never too old. Each scent is a blend of essential oils chosen to elicit a positive emotional response to apathy, narcissism, passive and aggressive behaviors.

For Mother's Day, 2012, customers who purchase a bottle of Passive™ aromatherapy mood lifting spray will receive a full-sized bottle of Aggressive™ at half price. That's a $19.99 value for just half of $19.99.

Also through May 13, 2012, customers who purchase any anti bad mood spray will receive a 3 ml glass mini-mister bottle. "Ideally, you would not whip out an 8 oz. bottle of The Antidote for Ego™ at your brother's birthday party," says Heidi Rettig, CEO of HR Products. "This mini-mister is the perfect compromise."

And Father's Day is just around the corner.

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New Labels.

Over the next few days, we'll be working on uploading photos of the new labels to the shop's website. The new labels include the funny descriptions from the website - a request from 100 percent of our customers! Here's a preview of the new labels from front and back:


 



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Mood Sprays on Refinery29.com

This was our first piece of press - and I love it. I had it made into a poster for my office. I started out thinking the anti-bad-mood sprays would be a cure for anger, apathy, sadness, and aggressive behavior at the office and at home. I love it when people have their own ideas about how to use it. This feature by Refinery29.com is perfect:

 

 



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Aromatherapy mood lifting sprays on DailyCandy.com

Our anti-bad-mood sprays were featured in a hilarious anti-Valentine's slideshow, "(Not So) Bitter Party of One" on DailyCandy.com  

The feature made me so happy - I love DailyCandy.


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Why I Developed A Set of Anti-Bad Mood Sprays: 1.0


Why did I develop a set of anti-bad mood sprays? Not just for you. Not just for your office or your home. 

I did it because when I arrived at my office this morning, one of the building tenants had parked in the driveway entrance to the parking lot. And left his car there for 45 minutes so no one could get in or out of the office garage. Which meant I had to find a spot on the street and then, when he finally left, drop what I was doing and move my car again. The fact that he thought he could do that without worrying about the rest of the building's schedule? That's why I developed

Aggressive™. 

Blended with aromatherapy essential oils to calm me down. Which is good. Because sniffing herbal room sprays is so much more acceptable than letting the air out of his tires.Or whatever I would have said if I'd run into him in the hallway.Fresh orange. Maybe I can pretend I'm somewhere else. Like an citrus grove in Florida. Instead of this old, smelly, office building where I don't even get to use the parking spot that I PAY FOR. 

--Heidi

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