Last month we reported on a “crowdfunding campaign” by Hawthorne artist David Delamare and publisher Wendy Ice to raise funds for the publication of  a deluxe illustrated “Alice in Wonderland” book.

The project was too expensive for their small business to produce in-house, so the couple decided to launch the campaign where backers donate to a creative project or pre-order a product not yet completed.

Kickstarter.com (unlike Indiegogo.com) is an all-or-nothing platform.  That means the campaign creator sets a funding goal for the minimum amount they need to create the project. If the campaign fails to meet the goal, it collects nothing.

A browse through Kickstarter’s pages provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into Portland’s creative community. Over 2,000 Portland projects have been launched. Statistically, practical product inventions are some of the best-funded.

One Portland company launched a 2012 campaign for an Iphone dock that raised $1.4 million. The historic Hollywood Theater raised  $73,127 to replace their marquee. Local production company Collective Eye Films (creators of Queen of the Sun and The Real Dirt on Farmer John) just completed their second successful campaign for a documentary on the story of seeds.

Delamare and Ice launched a 32-day campaign with a funding goal of $35,000. Because campaigns with goals over $10,000 are less-likely to fund, the couple was uneasy about their prospects.  What they could not have predicted was that on the second day of their campaign, Kickstarter would choose their project as one of just three (out of several thousand worldwide) to spotlight in their weekly “Projects We Love” newsletter.

“On day two, I was out on Hawthorne Blvd. passing out Kickstarter postcards,” Ice recalls. “I had no idea that the pledges were pouring in at a thousand dollars an hour. I came home and was flabbergasted at what I saw on the computer. It didn’t make sense.  We just don’t have that kind of marketing reach.  I was puzzling over the Kickstarter “dashboard” when I saw that most of the pledges were coming from a newsletter I had never heard of.  That’s when the penny dropped. I realized the unbelievably small odds of getting into that newsletter and burst into tears. I ran downstairs to tell David. When he heard me calling his name, he thought someone had died.”

As a result of the Kickstarter newsletter, the Alice project raised $21,241 on their second day and met their 35k funding goal in the first fifty-five hours of their campaign.  As this issue goes to press, the campaign has raised $61,031 from 680 backers.

A December 28 search showed the Alice in Wonderland book to be the best-funded Kickstarter campaign currently running in Portland. Meanwhile, indirect “Alice” sales have already amounted to $15,000 (including the purchase of an Alice painting by a museum.)

“The funds are wonderful,” says Ice, “but the validation and support from all those individuals and the Kickstarter newsletter have been just as meaningful. We started the month unsure whether collectors would pay for this kind of quality project. Three weeks later, we’re part of an enthusiastic community of backers who will be with us every step of the way.”

Ice created the campaign and is eager to share what she’s learned about crowdfunding with local entrepreneurs and artists.  She’s currently gathering a list of resources on a dedicated Facebook community page. Contact her at daviddelamare.com for the link.

As this issue goes to press, the Alice in Wonderland book campaign is still running. It ends at midnight Sunday, January 5.  To watch its progress, contribute or to pre-order a book, go to the Kickstarter.com website and search for “David Delamare”. NT