On February 2013, Zach (@zachmonky) Mueller launched his first crowd-funding project, the Red Fontaines on Indiegogo. The project achieved its $10k funding goal within 18 hours and doubled its funding by months end. Since then, strong demand for the elusive Red Fontaines drove up prices and the deck was sold at a premium on eBay.
Zach recently launched the Blue Fontaines on Kickstarter, a follow up to the popular Reds. With no surprise, the project was fully funded in approximately 12 hours ($20k) and now trending trending towards an incredible 350% (source: kickspy).
We were able to catch-up with Zach for a quick Q&A on the Fontaines, his experience on Indigogo and his thoughts on crowd-funding.
Tell us a little about the background and the inspiration behind the Fontaine Playing Card series?
Fontaines were a deck I made one night in Photoshop out of boredom. People started liking them. So I made them! Simple as that.
Why did you launch the first Fontaine on Indiegogo (and not Kickstarter)?
Truthfully because I didn't know Kickstarter had an approval process - I made the IndieGogo page literally hours before the launch. I was more prepared this time around, so I chose kickstarter.
Since you have such a large fan-base from Theory11, wouldn't it be easier to launch Fontaine through Theory11?
Don't think it would be 'easier' to release through theory11 - Fontaine is my passion project, and making them through Kickstarter allows me to do it all on my own.
From making the design, to the trailer, to the shipping - I do it all and I love doing it. Watching a video of a kid in Australia opening a package that I know I personally packed, labelled, and stamped is an awesome feeling.
Having theory11 or any other company sell them would mean them taking over shipping, packaging, marketing and some percentage as well - while that may be 'easier', it wouldn't be the same for me. Not to say that a collaboration with another company is out of the realm of possibilities in the future, that's just not in the picture currently.
Can you tell us about the packaging issues that you had with the Red Fontaine? What were the lessons learned from the Indiegogo project?
Definitely learned a lot of lessons from the first deck - ESPECIALLY when it came to shipping. I lost over $3,000 on international shipping alone last time, so we've increased the shipping costs on everything not only to lose less money, but also to invest in better packaging. Several orders had to be replaced due to rain, or a busted bubble envelope - we'll be paying extra care this time!
So far, what are the difference have you noticed between Kickstarter and Indiegogo?
The Kickstarter community is way cooler. The interaction, the organization of messages, the update system - it's all just a bit better in every aspect. I love it!
What are your thoughts on how Crowd-funding has changed the playing card scene?
It's awesome. Anyone can make a deck of cards, and it's not an impossible feat to get funded. Some say that it's over saturating the market, but I believe it just makes people more creative, more driven and gives the creator a job. I think that's awesome.
Finally, what is you favorite playing card deck?
Smoke and Mirrors v5 - the originals. Love that deck. Although I have a soft spot for anything Art Deco, and the Rarebits are the best 'deco'ish design I've seen. Close second.
Thanks for your time Zach and all the best.
The Blue Fontaines will be due out to backers on March 2014.