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Crowdfunding for Pole

By on October 2, 2017

The phrase “struggling artist” exists for a reason. A life in the creative arts tends to mean a life without a ton of money. Whether you’re an actor, visual artist, musician, poet, or dancer, the truth of the matter is that you will likely find yourself living through lean times at some point in your life. This is true of pole too: it’s an expensive hobby! Classes and lessons are pricey, pole clothing and heels can run pretty high, and when you get into things like competing and performing regularly, it can cost a ton – even for professionals, who are making money for their time! You have to HUSTLE to make it work, but it can be done.

But what if you’re just starting out? Or you’re trying to get a pole-related business off the ground? Or you do hustle, but you have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is just a little out of reach? If you don’t have the start-up capital, how do you make it work? An ever-increasing number of polers have been turning toward crowdfunding sites to make their dreams a reality.

Crowdfunding could give life to pole events like this one!

What is crowdfunding? In short, it’s funding sourced by a crowd of contributors, usually in smaller dollar amounts that add up over time. The idea is simply to break down the cost of a project or endeavor into donation amounts that most people will feel comfortable contributing. There are many sites out there for crowdfunding, some of which focus on specific verticals or areas, like funding for creative pursuits, personal causes, entrepreneurship, etc. The rules for each site vary, but in general, you can set up tiers for donations, and some sites require you to offer something in return for different tiers, i.e. donate $100 to a musician’s album campaign, and you’ll get a signed copy of the cd and have your name listed in the liner notes. As another example, I’ve personally donated to campaigns for new products and received said product as part of the deal. Different sites have different rules and fees, but most of them make it easy to share across social media – and that’s the main way people attract folks to donate.

The idea of using crowdfunding for artistic endeavors is not remotely new. During my days as an actor, I saw countless campaigns asking for help to fund various short films and other projects. Even today, it seems like most of my actor and musician friends are participating in some kind of campaign. And, if these campaigns get funded, it can mean the difference between getting a project off the ground, and letting something die on the vine.

One example of a pole-related endeavor that relied on crowdfunding to get started is X-Purr, by Natasha Wang and Arloa Reston. We covered their launch here. X-Purr had a very successful launch campaign on Kickstarter, meeting and exceeding their $5,000 goal, with a grand total of just over $6,400 from 118 contributors. Their product was successfully launched last year, and they’ve gone on to add more clothing to their t-shirt line, as well as had some fun experiences along the way, like appearing on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome for a chance to win additional capital!

X-Purr

X-Purr, funded via Kickstarter

Another example of crowdfunding in the pole world is the wonderful altruistic campaign to raise funds for Jason Lam. When Jason was seriously injured in a circus-related fall in May 2016, the pole and aerial community came together to raise money for his recovery efforts. Crowd-funding for altruistic reasons can be an incredible thing, and in Jason’s case, it raised over $82,000 toward his care. You can easily see the quality of his therapy and rehab in the videos he posts on his Instagram and Facebook accounts – his progress has been phenomenal. The money raised through crowd-funding was clearly put to good use!

In addition to seeing crowd-funding be used for businesses and for helping others, I’ve also seen it used for competitors. With competitions happening almost every week, across the globe, there are some fantastic opportunities out there that can require a lot of money. Asking for contributions to help fund a trip to a competition is not super common, but I do see it from time to time, and I’m always curious about the success rate of the campaigns.

Some folks might be a bit skeptical about donating to competition campaigns. You could ask the question, ‘Why are you submitting to competitions if you cannot already afford to travel to the competition? Isn’t it a little indulgent?” On the flip side, you can also ask, “Is this really any different than crowdfunding for a film, or album, or showcase?” This is art, and the artists love it – they are just as passionate and devoted as artists in any other field, and they deserve to be! So, if a filmmaker can ask for money to produce their latest piece, why can’t a pole dancer?

Photo Submitted by Monse Hemmer

As part of my curiosity about the success rate of campaigns, I reached out to a member of our community who has donated to a variety of campaigns in the past, to get their perspective. This person asked to be kept anonymous, but they are a well-known member of our community. They told me that they tend to be more likely to donate if they know the campaigner personally, or if the person or company has shown them support in the past. The purpose of the campaign is also taken into account, i.e. is it for personal tragedy, product, travel, etc.? Personal tragedy or altruistic campaigns are more likely to earn their dollars, but with products or travel, they look at the business plans and evaluate how successful they think the product or person will be – a person or business with a good plan is more likely to get a donation.

Do you think crowdfunding is for you? Be sure to do your research on which site best fits your needs – take into account the type of campaign you want to run, what the requirements are for each site, and what their fees might be, as well as whether you have to reach a certain threshold of donations to receive your funds. If you are trying to launch a product, make sure you have a stellar business plan in place before your launch – it’s very annoying to donate to a product launch, only to have that launch delayed by many months due to poor planning on the part of the business. Case in point: I’m still waiting for a pair of wireless earbuds from a campaign on Indiegogo, and it’s been a year and a half since I contributed! I want my $99 back, Phazon! Don’t be like Phazon, folks.

Do you have experience with Crowdfunding for Pole? Or, do you have any feelings about this practice? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Danielle C.

Danielle C.

Creative entity, cat mom, dog auntie, consumer of too much sugar. Pole and lyra enthusiast, amateur foodie, local explorer. One half of Poleitical Clothing. Read my musings at www.poleitical.com.
Danielle C.

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