There is no one formula for success on Kickstarter, the world's most famous crowdfunding platform, but it’s true that the most famous campaigns have similar hooks: a saccharine promo video with major scale guitar melodies, a strong marketing presence beyond Kickstarter, and tangible pledge benefits. But often, the success or failure of a project seems to hinge on consumer zeitgeist rather than pure merit.
Really, what the heck is Remee all about? Did a bunch of sun-addled hippies fund this 50-foot electromechanical serpent? And who are the 92,000 nerds who backed the Veronica Mars Movie Project? [Ed. Note: Veronica Mars is awesome; shut up, Tyler.]
But the unlikely success stories don't end at lucid dreaming aids and terrifying desert monsters. Given the Kickstarter community’s notoriously eccentric tendencies, we knew there had to be some oddities for the home and kitchen, so we dug for the weirdest, silliest, most improbable winners in the Kickstarter lottery.
Here's what we found:
It’s a spatula. It comes in several colors. It’s made of silicone plastic. And yeah, it’s versatile. But let's be real: It's not exactly reinventing the wheel.
To be fair, the GIR Spatula is also multi-purpose, heat-proof, and highly durable—probably better than that nylon fly-swatter you use for flipping cakes. It's also available in a series of sizes, each intended for a specific function. But at the end of the day it’s still just a spatula.
The GIR ("Get It Right") Spatula raised $136,284 on a $50,000 goal. Color us impressed.
The Kitchen Safe
It’s simple: You put the cookies in the safe. That's it.
The Kitchen Safe is a time lock safe designed to keep junk food—or really any sinful indulgence—away from your longing, impulsive gaze. It’s kind of cynical, in that it banks on the average consumer's total lack of self-control. But who are we to judge? At least the Kitchen Safe offers a realistic solution to your unhealthy dietary habits.
The Kitchen Safe's June campaign raised $41,991 on a $30,000 goal.
The Square (Water Bottle)
The coolest thing about The Square water bottle is that it opens on both ends, letting you more thoroughly and more easily clean the interior. It’s also lined with a BPA-free plastic, which is nice if you’re interested in not getting cancer.
But did we really need three years of work by a team of former Apple engineers to reinvent the water bottle? Awesome design aside, we don’t know many people willing to drop $45 on a water bottle.
Clearly, then, we don’t know any of the 1,721 backers who dropped a collective $126,280 on The Square's $20,000 goal.
Belle-V Ice Cream Scoop
Okay, the Belle-V Ice Cream Scoop is brilliant. We just don’t understand why it took, well, centuries for something like it to hit the shelves. Really, it’s stupidly simple.
The Belle-V looks like a normal ice cream scoop, but it corrects for the awkward wrist angle created by the standard scooper design. It does this by simply angling the scoop in relation to the handle. Brilliant!
In a sense, a product like the Belle-V isn't improbably successful; we just can’t wrap our head around why it took a Kickstarter campaign to address such a simple problem. Anyway, its success is merely confirmation of its genius.
The Belle-V raised $36,980 on an initial $5,000 goal.
Tulid is a lid—a "reusable, leak-proof, BPA-free" lid—meant for mason jars. Owners can write on these rubberized lids with dry-erase markers, safely stack multiple jars, and rest assured knowing that their precious canned goods are airtight.
The downside? A pre-order costs $25 for three lids, and shipping isn’t expected until February 2014. If you’re not a huge fan of canning your own food, we don’t imagine you’ll be champing at the bit for these things. If you are, however, one of those mason jar totin', mommy bloggin' gurus, you’ll probably dig this gizmo—just like the 382 backers who funded the project.
Tulid raised $9,827 on a goal of $3,500.
Another frighteningly simple product, the Ring Weeder is a plastic weeding device worn (like a ring!) around your index finger. It looks easy enough—not a whole lot of explaining to do. And at $8 a pop there’s not much room for buyer’s remorse. What's somewhat surprising is the huge support the Kickstarter campaign had.
With more than 870 backers, the Ring Weeder nearly tripled its goal of $8,500, reaching a total of $21,093.
We could all use another "smart" product in our lives, because everyone knows nature bestowed us with a high-functioning cerebrum so that one day we could outsource our natural bodily functions to a Bluetooth-enabled handset.
Really, this one we just don’t get. Do we really need to "smartify" the water bottle? Well, it seems 782 people were willing to put money behind a smarter water bottle, which is exactly what the ILUMI Smartbottle is. That’s right: Now you can track your personal water intake with an app, connect the device via Bluetooth, probably tweet... or some other dumb thing.
Apologies for the rant, but the success of this project is just way too improbable.
The ILUMI raised $35,603 on a goal of $10,000.