JACKSON — In a Kickstarter category littered with failures and barely-made-it campaigns, Jackson startup Give’r has already brought in more than 13 times its funding goal for its new waterproof leather mittens.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform used primarily by young companies to connect with a wide audience while essentially pre-selling a product. Businesses set a funding goal and tell the story of their product. In return, they hope to gain big media attention and convert enough sales to turn their product from a prototype to a reality. The catch? If a business doesn’t meet its funding goal, it gets none of the pledges from its backers.
However, that wasn’t a problem for Give’r, which funded its Frontier Mittens in short order and more than tripled its goal in the first three hours.
“I am psyched to let you know that our new Frontier Mittens are live on Kickstarter and were funded within the first hour!” lead product designer Will Phelan said in an email the day the product launched. “We have doubled our goal, and the stats are still rising. This is huge news, as the first day in a campaign is the most important for setting the ‘tone’ for the following days. In short, when a campaign is funded, potential backers feel more confident as they are pretty much participating in a pre-sale at that time!”
And since then, the numbers have blown the Give’r team out of the water, even after having experienced two prior successful Kickstarter launches for a unisex sweater called the Ol’ Faithful and the 4 Season Gloves — the product that formed the backbone of the new mittens.
“The support and energy has far exceeded what we had imagined!” Phelan said in an email Tuesday.
And the team had a healthy imagination going into the project. Their pullover in 2018 pulled in more than $157,000 from nearly 1,300 backers. And in 2016, they crushed their $25,000 goal to release their waterproof leather gloves with nearly $225,000 from more than 2,000 backers. The high-end gloves led Outside Magazine to call them “the world’s most bomber 4-season gloves,” while the company also landed in other high-profile publications including Sports Illustrated and Men’s Journal.
The mittens came about because of the one complaint about the gloves the team heard most often: “My fingers get cold in gloves; I only wear mittens.” Occasionally, buyers of the glove complained about that exact problem with the original gloves, leading the mitten design to “demand status” that pushed them toward their third Kickstarter campaign.
Other glovemakers haven’t been so successful on the platform. One maker released heated gloves and mittens on the site to the Kickstarter equivalent of crickets: $3,200 pledged out of a $25,000 goal. Another leather mitten maker launched their product earlier in 2019 with a modest goal of $4,000. They pulled in $6,000. A zip-up leather mitten from 2014 went unfunded. Upcycled denim mittens also failed.
Among a wall of mittens that either launched or attempted to launch on the Kickstarter platform, Give’r is far and away the No. 1 funded mitten launch of all-time. The company also holds the record for the most-funded gloves on Kickstarter, with the stiffest competition being a successfully funded heated glove that pulled in $87,000 less.
“All we can say is ... WOW!” Give’r founder Bubba Albrecht said in a Kickstarter update on the platform after sailing far beyond funding goals on the first day. “Truly, there are no words for the joy, excitement and stoke that has spread throughout the Give'r community on this most excellent launch day for the Give'r Frontier Mittens. We are spinnin' in celebration.”
The Kickstarter campaign runs through Nov. 2, and the company said it will fulfill all preorders before Christmas.
Editor’s note: The author in April 2019 began to work closely with Give’r to run their Facebook advertising campaigns through 9 Cloud Web Works. But Mark Wilcox began covering the startup journey of Give’r in 2016 for the Wyoming Business Report and works hard to ensure journalistic impartiality in his continued press coverage.