As unique fundraiser ideas go, Spellbook Gaming Boxes are up there with Adaptalux and Lolo Lids – only they’re a few shades geekier. OK, so they’re quite a bit geekier, but since we’re firmly entrenched in the Age of the Nerd (kudos, Leonard and Sheldon), we’re inclined to find them utterly charming.
All wood and leather, these boxes look like the sort of arcane tome you’d find Samwell Tarly pouring over. Only they don’t tell you how to kill White Walkers. These smart, leather-bound books are actually gaming boxes (the clue’s in the name). They come supplied with your choice of foam insert, so you can use them to showcase Magic the Gathering cards, D&D game pieces, a run-of-the-mill drafts set or any other gaming paraphernalia you can think of (we may have exhausted our gaming knowledge two points into that list). Or you can buy a few — there’s a host of designs to choose from — and build a library to rival the Citadel (GOT knowledge is still on point though).
This is the second Kickstarter campaign for founders Quentin, Dan and Graham. They might not look like your archetypal nerd (they’re tanned and everything), but don’t let that fool you. “We’ve been gaming for years,” They happily admit when we catch up with them. “And building stuff. Last year we launched the Hex Chest.” A dice box that took the crowdfunding community by storm, verifying their Nerd Credentials in the process. “We knew then that we wanted to create a similar product for Magic the Gathering players. It took a few iterations, but eventually the Spellbook Gaming Box was born.”
One successful crowdfunding campaign later, and these guys set out to wage another.
“We relied on a lot of the techniques and manufacturing methods we learned developing the Hex Chest.” The trio explain, “We already had a wonderfully active and supportive community of Kickstarter sweethearts. They’ve been awesome with suggestions, and we incorporated their feedback during our campaign. It’s hard to beat the community, support and excitement that Kickstarter backers bring to a project.”
A second campaign targeting the same market meant they weren’t starting again from scratch, a fact that helped propel their latest endeavor far beyond their first. “We launched an Imgur post that went viral.” Our new favorite nerds mention almost casually, “We got good traffic on Reddit, so that got the word out. The Spellbook was popular on 9Gag when they reposted it, and a few news outlets found us too. Our biggest coup for sure was the Imgur post; we were phenomenally lucky.”
Was it luck? We’re inclined to think it had a little something to do with all the hard work they put into it. It takes more than unique fundraiser ideas, mad woodworking skills and a community of gamers to transform a $5000 target into nearly $200,000. “It was hard work.” The boys agree, “We did everything we could to take care of our customers and community, to be responsive to them and their suggestions. Social media was crucial, and it was our backers who helped to boost the popularity of the Imgur and Reddit posts.”
Even once you’ve got them to admit they put a lot into their campaign, this modest bunch are still loathed to completely lay claim to their success. “We’ve been incredibly lucky twice now,” They repeat. And why do they think they were so lucky? “Making a product that stands out to an audience you understand is really effective.” OK, we’ll give them that one.
So, have they got any other tips to share with would-be campaigners? “The one big lesson we’ve learned is that it’s extremely important to have a follow-up plan. If you’re lucky enough to catch the eye of a lot of interested people, make sure you have a way of turning that positivity into momentum. Get emails, start creating a community and get a pledge page going ASAP. A baseball only hangs in the air for so long…” They add, before admitting rather sheepishly, “That sounds really corny.”
So what’s next for this merry band of gamers? Have they got any more unique fundraiser ideas up their sleeves? “Fo sho… but we need a couple of months off before planning our next campaign.” We get that, even wizards need their down time.