There are two extremes of problematic Kickstarter campaigns. Either your project flops and you spend your entire campaign trying to get more backers to hit your funding goal.
Or, your Kickstarter campaign is wildly successful and thousands more backers fund your project than expected. A sea of people who can't wait to get their hands on your product sounds like a good thing, right? In reality, it can be a nightmare.
You not only have to figure out how to manufacture your product in bulk, but also where store your inventory, how to package it, and pay to ship it to those not-so-patient backers. This is where many overfunded Kickstarter campaigns flail. Logistics and shipping can be a nightmare, especially if you have no idea how to do either well.
A new shipping company has just introduced their solution to this exact problem. It's called Blackbox, and it was founded by the same people who created Cards Against Humanity. In 2010, the first Cards Against Humanity Kickstarter campaign raised just under 400% of its original goal. Learning from their own experience, Blackbox has tailored their service for independent artists and Kickstarter projects.
Blackbox goes beyond packaging and shipping your items, as startups like Shyp do. They're aiming to own the entire checkout and shipping process -- essentially every step that happens after people click buy. The company's mission is to help small artists, designers, and sellers ship their products directly to customers at lower costs and for less effort than doing it themselves.
Here's how it works:
- Sellers send Blackbox their entire inventory of stuff and install a Blackbox buy button on their online store
- Blackbox stores the inventory in their warehouses around the world
- For a flat fee per item, Blackbox handles the checkout process, credit card processing, customer service, shipping, and sales tax payments
On their website, Blackbox describes their service "like a co-op of indie artists." Everyone paying individually for postage, warehouse space and packaging is not cost effective. "If we all pool our resources, we're as big as any company purchasing at volume," they explain. "This gives us access to the best rates with USPS and FedEx, leverage with warehouses, and great pricing on packing materials."
Blackbox is open to anyone who wants to use it, but they have a special focus for Kickstarter campaigns. But, they only work with campaigns that have not yet launched so they can be part of the shipping planning process. Because, they say, "If your project has already launched and you haven't figured out shipping, may God have mercy on your soul."