Startland News is continuing its segment to highlight area entrepreneurs’ efforts to accelerate their businesses. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs — like Pawns and Pints co-founder Edward Schmalz — to share their stories to gain a little help from their supporters. Back Pawns and Pints’ Kickstarter here.
Who are you?
My name is Edward Schmalz, one of the founders of Pawns and Pints, a group dedicated to the creation of Kansas City’s first board game cafe.
Prior to this, I taught middle school in inner-city Wyandotte County and became deeply aware of how there are increasingly few opportunities for people to sit down and genuinely engage with one another. Personally, I found fulfillment from playing games with friends and so I partnered up with some of my best friends to try to create a place that would introduce others to this experience.
What does Pawns and Pints do?
Pawns and Pints is Kansas City’s first board game cafe. We want to create a place where people can sit down, have a drink, eat delicious, well-made snack food and play a board game. We are planning to have a wall of at least 500 board games, and dedicated game gurus to teach them how to play the different games and guide them to the ones they might enjoy.
How much do you hope to raise?
Our goal is $10,000, which is the bare minimum that we need to open our doors. We are hoping to reach some of our stretch goals, which will allow us to provide a better experience by allowing us to expand our game and beer selection.
What do you plan to use the funds for?
The money raised with our Kickstarter will mostly pay for the initial inventory, a section of our game collection and help us with the costs of rezoning the property.
How are you differentiating your campaign?
We’ve been going to conventions, hosting open houses to our cafe and maintaining a blog focused on board games and RPGs. We are also connecting with local podcasts and a variety of existing board-gamer groups in the Kansas City area.
Is there anything quirky with your campaign?
We’re offering a “name-and-construct-a-sandwich” reward, which allows people to submit a sandwich — complete with the name and recipe — that we’ll put on our menu. If you’ve ever wanted to be able to go to a restaurant and order something named after you, we have it as a $350 Kickstarter reward. No one’s bit into this opportunity yet! (OK — we admit it, that pun was terrible.)
What’s some advice you have to others launching a crowdfunding campaign?
Be genuine. Don’t try and be anyone or anything you are not.
Describe your product or service and how it will benefit the people who pledge for it in a professional manner. Don’t launch a Kickstarter without doing some legwork beforehand — and be prepared for a roller coaster.
Make outreach to the community a priority, and start well before you launch the Kickstarter. If you don’t have a Reddit account, make one months before you launch and start participating in the community in which you’ll be marketing your campaign.
And most importantly, any time you can afford to help someone else out, do it. You are asking for people to place their trust in you and your team to successfully complete the project you are attempting — so a good way to build this trust is by being transparent and helpful to others.
If you or your startup is running a crowdfunding campaign, let us know by contacting email@example.com.