If you’re going to create something, take the time to create something the world needs. And if you take the time to do so, the world will respond positively to what you have created.
That has certainly been the case for Andrew Gibbs-Dabney and his outdoor apparel company, LIVSN Designs, which he founded on the premise of creating quality products with longevity and sustainability in front of mind. The world has responded by making his latest Kickstarter campaign among the most successful ever in the state of Arkansas.
Gibbs-Dabney is passionate about what he does, and it shows in the clothing he creates. His first Kickstarter campaign, which launched last year, raised more than $78,500 – more than doubling his $30,000 goal. Those funds helped him launch both his flex canvas pants and hi-wool fleece. More than 500 people helped him realize that goal.
Earlier this month, Gibbs-Dabney launched his second Kickstarter campaign, this time for V2 of LIVSN’s flex canvas pants. The campaign was fully funded in less than two hours. To date, it has more than 700 backers who have contributed nearly $95,000. Once it reaches $120,000, it will be the second-most Kickstarter campaign ever from the state of Arkansas.
The success of Gibbs-Dabney’s Kickstarter campaigns was not by chance; he put in the work well before launching either of them. The work began with an idea.
“The inspiration for the company came from the process of going through and getting rid of a lot of stuff that I didn’t need,” Gibbs-Dabney said. “I have a background in outdoor recreation and an outdoor recreation apparel company. You accumulate a lot of gear. While simplifying my life, what surfaced were the things made with care, things that were high quality and facilitated the kind of life I wanted to live. I determined that if I were to buy something, it would be things of value.”
Gibbs-Dabney, who had experience in the outdoor apparel industry before launching LIVSN, had a good idea of what he wanted from outdoor clothing.
“I drew designs on paper of things that didn’t exist in the market,” he said. “I had pet peeves about certain things, and how those things fit, pocket depth, feature set, the way things looked. I thought we could do it better or at least different enough to where we had a right to build something. That started the journey.”
“Along with our first few designs, I wrote down the values of the company. The principles under which we would create clothing… That was the start.”
Those principles would become the pillars on which LIVSN was created: intentional minimalism, hedonistic sustainability and good corporate citizenship. Even the name, which comes from the Swedish word livsnjutare, is translated as "one who lives life deeply; an enjoyer of life."
“We are truly hanging our hat on making a high-quality product,” Gibbs-Dabney said. “We aren’t just paying lip service and saying it’s high quality. We’re putting in the time and work into the detail to make sure it lasts longer and performs better than anything else out there.”
Gibbs-Dabney decided to launch his company on Kickstarter because he wanted to be direct to the consumer, he said. “Kickstarter is really an amazing platform to get a new product out to the world quickly. That was the main thing.”
The first campaign was a big success, largely because of the work he put into preparing for it.
“We had started an Instagram, a Facebook and a website,” he said. “We started putting out into the world what our values are, our brand, our logo, what we were going to make, leaking information and then building up an email list of people that were interested in backing this campaign.
“We always told people we were going to launch on Kickstarter, so that was a way to prime the pump and create anticipation before we launched,” Gibbs-Dabney added. “We also gave out free stickers to people that signed up for the email, which was a pretty effective way to build up an email list, and that actually led to the campaign doing very well.”
Gibbs-Dabney is quick to warn fellow entrepreneurs that Kickstarter won’t guarantee success unless one takes the time to prepare. “Do the work ahead of time to make sure you build up your audience. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your beautiful product is going to sell itself.”
On the first day of his first campaign, Gibbs-Dabney raised $16,000. Now, he said, many of those same backers have gotten behind his second Kickstarter, which opened with $27,000 raised on the first day.
“We are tracking at a 44 percent increase in sales over the last one,” he said. “At this point, we’re at $94,000. It’s going really well. It’s encouraging to see that support from the people who have taken a chance on us.”
It’s not hard to see why people are taking a chance Gibbs-Dabney and LIVSN. He’s following his own advice, having taken the time to create something he thought the world needed.
“There’s a lot of noise and a lot of people doing the same thing,” he said. “If you’re going to build something, take the time and make sure you’re building something the world really needs. I believe people are responding positively to our values.
“For LIVSN,” he said, “I think the proof is in the pudding.”
Check out LIVSN’s latest Kickstarter here.
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