Du North Designs held a wine and cheese night at its location in McLennan on September 15. The occasion doubled as a customer appreciation event and as a launch for Du North Designs’ crowd funding campaign to raise $10,000 by October 1, to help finance its own exclusive clothing line.
While Du North Designs outlined its campaign on Facebook, it discovered that crowdfunding is a difficult concept to convey on social media to those who are unfamiliar with the process. To correct the situation, Du North decided that inviting people to the wine and cheese night would be a more effective way of explaining the concept and its crowdfunding objectives.
“Even though we have been putting it on the internet we are struggling with people just not knowing what crowdfunding is, so we thought, let’s do this wine and cheese night to get out the message.” says Krystina Dubrule who with her husband Daniel owns Du North Designs.
Those who contribute to the funding campaign get a Du North item of equal value such as shirts, leggings, a dress, a headband. From the perspective of those doing the crowd funding, it provides the opportunity to raise the money to do the project by selling the merchandise before buying it. If Du North fails to reach its crowd-funding target then it receives nothing and all the money is returned to the people who made the pledges.
“We have some out of the box rewards where we will host a ladies night here for fourteen ladies and that is $250, which would workout at $18 each,” says Dubrule. “There is also a fashion show for a non-profit organization, and we will put on the show at their location up to 100km. We do all the logistics, all the advertising. Any purchases that come as a result of that show up to a week later then we give 25 percent of that purchase back to that organization.”
The crowdfunding platform that Du North is using is BoostR a rewards-based platform aimed to assist Albertan entrepreneurs and run by ATB Financial. Other larger platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are based in the US.
BoostR charges 4 percent of the funds raised while Kickstarter takes 8 percent, which depending on the size of the project can make a substantial difference.
“People can contribute to our campaign from anywhere in North America but we are trying to keep it as local as possible,” says Dubrule.
BoostR also holds pitch events to promote Alberta business initiatives. Alongside four other Alberta small businesses, Du North was chosen to participate in a BoostR Stage pitch event held at the NAIT Shaw Theatre in Edmonton on September 27.
The other businesses participating were 30 Before Thirty, Automated Urban Farming System, Burlesque BOOM and Sugared & Spiced Baked Goods.
Du North Designs presently employs six staff and has 1,169 distributers across Canada.