11 Crowdfunding Projects We’re Loving Right Now
Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other awesome crowdfunding sites are full of amazing ideas, but the cool thing about the 11 we highlight here is that almost all of them make life just a little bit easier. From a digital kitchen gadget that helps you cook nutritious meals to a USB port with unlimited hubs, these inventions really are genius. But because not everything has to have a life-changing purpose, we’re also highlighting a couple that just make life happier, like a cool toy that inspires confidence and a hand-embroidered sweatshirt you can design yourself. Check them all out below and get ready to be wowed.
1. Customizable Clothing: Across the pond is a kickass crowdfunding site called Kiss Kiss Bank Bank, which is where we discovered this designer who makes customizable embroidered sweatshirts, tees and totes. There are 15 colors to choose from, plus collections of animals, patterns, adorable objects or text. With the money raised, the designer is hoping to print lookbooks and get her website up and running. Rock on, independent designers! (Photo via @hellojonesie)
2. Step to Perfect Posture: If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of your day slouching over your desk at work, eyes glued to the computer. The BetterBack is a little pack you strap around your middle section and knees. Wearing it just 15 minutes a day strengthens your core and encourages better posture. Plus it comes in a cute little travel bag so you can take it to and from work with ease.
3. Scratch-Off World Map: Using that Facebook map to brag about all the places you’ve traveled is so passé. We’re loving the idea behind Scratchy Map, which is basically a map you can scratch off the places you’ve been, bringing out bright colors underneath. It makes awesome decor, regardless of how many (or few) places you’ve actually visited.
4. A Toy That Encourage Creativity: Not only is this toy adorable, but it also inspires confidence and creativity in kids. It comes in a cute little kit, and kids can put together the animal using the pom pom for either its furry body or a great mane. It’s totally grooming kids to be amazing DIYers when they grow up.
5. Your Digital Sous Chef: This little tech tool is the Siri of the kitchen. It tells you all sorts of cool facts about the meal you’re making based on the ingredients you’re working with. It can give a rundown of the nutritional value, give you tips on spices or other little extras that will make your meal even more delish, and it can even tell you what you can make with the ingredients you already have in your fridge. The future is now, people.
6. A Toy You Can Feel Good About: While walking around your kid’s favorite toy store, it can be disheartening to realize that the most popular toys aren’t very environmentally friendly. Enter the Tobo Truck. This eco-friendly toy is made from liquid wood and no plastic whatsoever. What’s really cool is that the tracks are the perfect size to go with toys your son or daughter already loves playing with, like Thomas and all his other train friends. Major bonus: It can connect to LEGOs too!
7. Next Level Printer: Is anyone else still amazed by 3D printers? This one, called the Stepcraft, not only prints things in 3D, it can print them out of almost any material, such as wood, aluminum or even brass. Some people have used it to design and print wooden toy train tracks. Others have used it to carve sculptures or engrave signs. It’s seriously a DIYer’s dream tool.
8. Robot Bodyguard: This little panda may look like a toy, but it’s secretly a security device. Sneaky, right? iCaptura is a camera and motion detector which will alert you via phone if something is not right (i.e., stranger in the house, a fire, flood or something else catastrophic). It also has a traditional alarm so you can wake up and get out of the house ASAP if you need to. Burglars be warned — panda is watching.
9. Beer Pong Cup Washer: Beer pong is often the life of the party, but there’s no denying it’s a dirty game. Like, literally. The Clean Cup helps by cleaning the ball when you drop it in there by using blasts of air and water to get rid of all that gross hair and dirt. Now you really have no excuse not to drink.
10. Virtual Reality Goggles: There’s been talk about virtual reality games for decades, but the Impression Pi looks like one of the most promising ventures so far. It has 3D gesture control, position tracking and can connect to your phone. It also has a camera and video camera so you can capture and share your experiences with your friends.
11. Unlimited USB Ports: If your computer is a tool you depend on for work, you know how annoying it can be when you can’t connect all your devices at the same time. The struggle is real. InfiniteUSB solves that whole problem by supplying endless ports — they just plug right into each other. Plus the cords are super cute and colorful. We’re a sucker for all things smart and stylish.
Which idea blows you away? Tell us in the comments.
Getting the word out about your brand takes time, drive, and ingenuity. And it doesn't come easy for many entrepreneurs. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're chatting with Selfmade alum Taylor Morgan McPherson, founder of Sustainable Sparkle Bar, about ways in which she scored press as a solo startup brand and what she learned from Selfmade to take her brand marketing up a notch.
B + C: How did you know Sustainable Sparkle Bar was your business to start?
Glitter has always been my thing, so when I started my event company I decided to make it my niche. I started telling people I threw glitter-themed parties where people would get sparkled with glitter body art and makeup. Six months after that I applied to my first festival and to work with SUR restaurant in West Hollywood.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
I honestly can't say that I've had a specific strategy that I've followed when it comes to getting my business off the ground. I have a PR background so I was just constantly pitching new business and posting on social media.
B + C: What's the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?
I would say creating a stable income and revenue stream. With a seasonal, event-based business it can be very up and down.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
The relationships I made and the push to start an email database.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I love what I do and I believe in myself 100%. Staying motivated isn't the hard part. Pushing myself to do the work and staying accountable is the hard part.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip? Do you use any apps that help you manage your business?
I keep multiple to-do lists, hand-written and digital. I also tell clients and partners that I will have something to them by a certain time or day so I have to stick to it.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Just do it, take the leap. And don't worry about what anyone else says to thinks.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Issa Rae, I'm so inspired by everything that she's created being a creative and a black woman. It's my dream to have my own show one day based on my life and where I give advice and talk about the world. She's doing it and making people laugh and giving people joy. And it's based in LA. Watching Insecure only further cemented my dreams of wanting to live in LA.
B + C: How did you hear about the Office Depot scholarship?
One of my friends that I met through Camp No Counselors saw an IG ad for it and nominated me.
B + C: What has receiving the scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start/grow your business?
It's completely helped me level up and take my business to another level. Selfmade helped me host my first virtual event and taught me how to set up my website to sell tickets to events and get RSVPs.
B + C: How have Office Depot services or products helped you accomplish more in your business?
I got new cards to send in all of my orders with my discount code on them. I also bought a really cool 4K camera that I now use for my social media.
Let Office Depot OfficeMax help you stand out in the crowd. From signs, posters & banners to promote your business, to marketing materials to keep your customers informed, Office Depot OfficeMax offers a full suite of business services & solutions to help you & your business get noticed.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.