Hats Off to Reaper
Reaper Miniatures just finished a Kickstarter campaign which raised almost three and a half million dollars. I’m so very happy for them–it couldn’t happen to nicer bunch of guys. And deserving. These guys have produced a steady stream of great miniatures for years now.
Their Kickstarter campaign was pure genius, and the offers they made–particularly at the end were so incredibly good that you simply couldn’t not become a backer. They offered a level at around $100 that garnered you easily $1000 worth of miniatures, plus there were all kinds of great add-ons for very cheap.
Kickstarter is a great fundraising mechanism for just about anything, but I think that Reaper discovered that it is absolutely perfect for miniatures. Because Kickstarter works best when you’re dealing with something that is costly to initiate, and then cheap to produce. Which is exactly how miniatures production works. With miniatures (and I’m making up numbers here, just to illustrate the point), the sculpting and the mold-making is what’s expensive, not the miniature itself. Which means that the first miniature costs $10,000 to make, but the second one costs 10 cents. Another way to look at that would be that it costs $10,000.10 to make one. $5000.10 each to make two. $2500.10 each to make four, and so on until, once you’re making thousands of them, the minis cost just a few cents each. (Again, I’m just making those numbers up, and it varies based on manufacturer and other factors, but the principle works even if it’s $5,000 for set up and $1 for materials, or whatever it is.)
All that means that the guys at Reaper are brilliant, and have figured out the way to make the best of this business model. Once their funding reached a certain point, they could load backers up with lots of value, which increased the number of backers so they got more funding, which meant they could provide more value, and so on. Genius.
(I am of course attempting a similar model with my own Kickstarter, but the realities of book printing are not the same as miniature casting. But I’ll do what I can.)
Mostly, though, I just want to tip my virtual hat to Ron, Ed, and all the other guys at Reaper. I cheered when I saw the final total. They have always been good friends to me, and I’m happy to have supported them in this venture as a backer.