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Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger became a runaway success on Kickstarter — it isn’t their first smash hit, and it won’t be their last. What’s the magic sauce?

How Peak Design became Kickstarter ninjas

In this article, I talk with Peak Design’s Adam Saraceno, to find out how they keep knocking their projects out of the proverbial ballpark.

“Running a photography blog, you get a press release for yet another goddamn camera bag every other day”

Peak Design — how it all begun

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The Capture Clip is where it all begun, making it easy for photographers all around the world to add Texas-style quick-draw to their photographic repertooire
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After the spectacular, and very public, failure of Triggertrap’s second Kickstarter project — Triggertrap Ada — I found deep humiliation, but also an intense admiration for people who are able to deliver successful Kickstarter projects again and again.

Not the first rodeo

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Peak Design have had more than 42k backers across their five campaigns…
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… for a total of more than $7m worth of pledges

It started with a partnership

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When Trey Ratcliff calls you and says ‘hey, let’s make a bag’, there’s only two correct answers. One is ‘Yes’. The other one is ‘Hell Yes’.
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One of Peak Design’s designers has a background in bicycle design — nowhere is that clearer in the understated elegance and simplicity of the fasteners. Light-weight, functional, and gorgeous.

Not selling saddles…

“All we had to do is to make a really, really good bag”

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Camera straps turned out to be an easier marketing exercise than camera clips
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Creating the bag and a compelling Kickstarter page is just the beginning… Once you hit ‘go’, the really hard work starts
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Peak Design added mounting points for their own Capture Clip devices down the sides of the bag, because of course they would do that — but until you’ve used a bag with clips built in, you have no idea how useful that actually is.

Putting the product first

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“We wanted the bag to make sense to someone who doesn’t even own a camera”

All tooled up and ready to go

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The team had people on the ground in Vietnam for six months before launching the campaign.

Not all smooth sailing

A brush with Patent Law

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“A container for facilitating rapid access to the interior of the container to remove articles from the container, comprising: a. a generally rectangular body having a base, two end walls and two sidewalls respectively interconnected at their adjacent edges to adjacent edges of the two end walls, the walls extending upwardly from the base to form the body with a top opening; b. a side closure flap attached to a respective one of said two sidewalls and secured against the respective one of said two sidewalls by fastener means, the side closure flap adapted to span over and covering said top opening of said body and forming a top when the side closure flap is in a closed position; and c. said top of said side closure flap having full length double zipper means for opening or closing said top to gain access to the interior of said body; d. whereby the interior of said body of said container is accessed by either flipping over said side closure flap to an open position or unzipping said double zipper means on said top of said body to access the interior through said top opening of said body of said container.”

So why Kickstarter? Cash and Marketing.

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Designing and developing a product is only part of the cost — manufacturing is far more expensive, and that’s where a $4m Kickstarter cash injection comes in.

Looking beyond photography

Lessons Learned, or: How to run a successful Kickstarter campaign

Written by

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

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