While flashy videos and silly gifs are always crowd-pleasers, what really makes a crowdfunded project stand out is the passion from the people behind the idea. This month, we’re seeing passion that’s off the charts, straight from engineers who are helping deaf people in developing nations to crazily talented letterpress artists. Scroll on to check out the 10 coolest crowdfunded projects that are on our radar this month.
1. A Small Business Bringing Hand-Written Letters Back: In an age where happy birthday is most commonly said through a Facebook wall post, you have to love the two ladies behind People I’ve Loved, a letterpress print shop in Oakland, California. Well, the term “shop” is used loosely, since they are currently operating out of their respective dining rooms. This duo wants to acquire a studio space so they can hold creativity workshops (um, yes please!) and have more space for their printing equipment. Just one look at their site shows how awesome their work is.
2. An Illuminating Phone Case: Having a cute phone case is essential, and this Kickstarter project takes things up a notch with customizable cases that actually light up. With over 100 designs to choose from, we can see this becoming the next status symbol for the millennial set (and younger) if it meets its funding goal.
3. Magnetic Building Blocks: By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that building toys like blocks and LEGOs inspire STEM skills and creativity for kids. This cool invention gives wooden blocks an upgrade with magnets, which allow for stronger structures. With this toy, kids can go big, creating doll houses or even mock little towns.
4. A “Smart” Menstrual Cup: Menstrual cups like The Diva Cup have been around for a while, but this invention is the first menstrual cup that incorporates technology. Not only does LoonCup keep track of your period for you, but the app also tells you how full the menstrual cup is, so you know without having to head to the restroom to check. Periods are never convenient, but at least this helps you be prepared.
5. Wireless Earbuds That Charge Through Your Phone: Most people don’t have wireless headphones because they’re expensive and a little annoying, since you have to remember to charge them. But one genius inventor found a way to utilize the cord (that can disconnect from the earbuds) to charge them through your phone, something you always have with you anyway. We can’t get over how brilliant this is!
6. A Netflix-Style Wine Class Series: Many people in the hospitality industry would love to become a bonafide sommelier, but the hefty price tag holds them back. Two entrepreneurs are finding a way around that by connecting people in the restaurant industry with some of the most-respected wine experts through a series of online video classes. Really, this project benefits us all: Who wouldn’t want their waiter to know more about wine?
7. A Documentary With a Mission: In this documentary, Jahas, a woman from West Africa, tells her story of surviving female genital mutilation. The film explores important questions like: What is it like to be part of this culture? What was it like for her to escape to the U.S. and adapt to life here? Jahas puts a human face on something we often only hear about in the abstract.
8. Stylish Speakers That Do Global Good: These premium bluetooth speakers are designed so beautifully, their looks and quality alone make them worthy of funding. But what makes this IndieGogo project even cooler is that the inventors teamed up with Starkey Hearing Foundation, a non-profit committed to helping deaf people hear all over the world. So far, they’ve helped over 20,000 people hear for the first time. No wonder everyone from GQ to Nylon can’t stop raving about them.
9. A Cover That Turns Any Outlet into a Phone Charger: Between phones, computers, tablets and smartwatches, there’s a lot to charge at the end of the day, and not enough ways to do it. This cool cover transforms any average outlet into a charging station for your devices. Best of all: It doesn’t require a screwdriver, wiring or anything else you’d need a handyman for.
10. Support Children of Refugees: Created by two do-gooders in Chicago, this incredible Kickstarter project wants to help comfort refugee children and teach all kids about global communities. Threadies are sold in twin pairs, so when you buy one for the tiny tot in your life, a refugee child gets a bear too, along with a coping kit. With more than $27,000 pledged, this company is going to be helping a lot of children.
Will you be supporting any crowdfunded projects this month? Let us know in the comments below!