EMILY and Russell Brindley always knew they wanted to start their own business, but never thought the generosity of strangers would help them do it.
The Dickson couple started fitting out their own organic vegan bakery, Sweet Bones, at Braddon’s Lonsdale Street Traders in December, but needed extra cash to get to the final stage.
“There were so many hidden costs and lots of regulations, we still needed to get an oven and hire staff,” Emily says.
With help from crowdfunding website Kickstarter, the couple were able to raise enough money to finish the job.
The website encourages people to pitch their own creative projects, outlining to potential investors exactly how much money they are looking for, with bids of anything from $1 to thousands.
Since the website’s launch on April 28, 2009, more than $450 million has been pledged by more than three million people, or “backers”, funding more than 35,000 creative projects.
With 188 backers, Emily and Russell raised their target of $10,000 in just over 20 days.
“We ended up making $12,000 in the end, some donations were as little as $1 and as high as $1000,” Emily says.
And while some backers were family and friends, half were complete strangers.
“We couldn’t believe the generosity of people we’d never met, it was mind-blowing,” Emily says.
“Donations were from all over the world – Australia, America, even Berlin. I think many backers are just inspired by a new idea or inspired by a project’s rewards, and they want to see something good happen with their money.”
Emily, a qualified chef from New Jersey, met Canberra-based Russell while he was on holiday in the US seven years ago and moved to the capital a year later to be with him.
The couple, both 28, vegans and with years of experience in the food industry, say the idea to start a bakery at Lonsdale Street Traders “just kind of fell into our laps.”
“We knew we’d wanted to do it for a while and one day our friend just said there’s this cool new warehouse in Braddon, you guys should open a bakery there,” Emily says.
“We figured we had nothing to lose.”
And some of their Kickstarter backers have even come into the store to visit.
“We’re putting their names on our store board and they’ll get sent some of our treats,” Emily says.
“They can’t believe the progress, and they should feel proud they helped us achieve it.”
Visit the Australian version of Kickstarter at pozible.com. For more information on Sweet Bones visit facebook.com/SweetBonesCompany.