A father raised thousands of dollars on Kickstarter with three successful projects, allowing him to not only fulfill a lifelong dream, but also to support his family during a period of unemployment.
Kyle Sorenson, a mechanical engineer, largely credits his success to having a unique product. He received funding for two Sly Kly projects for metal dice and one for carbon fiber playing cards.
“It’s one of those heartfelt moments as a dad when your kid can see ways of making a dream come true, because I always had the dream of making my own products and putting my own product out on the market just by myself,” he said. “To show that to my kids and let them know this is possible and they don’t have to go into debt and take out a loan -- it was a great feeling.”
The idea for his first project, precision metal dice, was driven more by a love of aluminum than a love of gaming. He said he loves to take items made out of ordinary material and turn it into something extraordinary by upgrading the material.
His first attempt at marketing the dice fell short of being fully funded -- he raised $8,500 of a $10,000 goal -- but when he relaunched it with a lowered $5,000 goal and additional color options, it was fully funded in one day. He raised more than $24,000 by the end of the month.
Since then, all of his projects have surpassed their goals. His carbon fiber playing card campaign garnered $55,932 in January, and his most recent project, for polyhedral dice, raised $31,387 at the end of July. The orders have come in from around the world. The products became especially popular in Japan after the dice and cards were featured on a Japanese blog.
“It is amazing to raise tens of thousands of dollars in a month’s time,” he said.
When Sorenson became suddenly unemployed for six months while working on the carbon fiber playing card campaign, he said the Kickstarter project kept his family of five from missing a beat.
“That helped seamlessly with the income,” he said. “Every bill was paid and we didn’t accrue any more debt. About the time the money was running low, I found a new position to increase our monthly income. It was a huge blessing -- I didn’t think I would ever be able to survive not working for half a year.”
He said his kids, who are all under the age of eight, love following the projects. The family goes out to eat to celebrate the completion of each project then chips in to get the items delivered to backers.
“My basement turns into large shipping room with a bunch of tables and envelopes,” he said. “My wife and kids help me. It’s kind of a fun thing; once or twice a year we ship out hundreds of packages and it’s awesome.”
In the future, Sorenson said he hopes to create an online business where he can continually order and sell cards and dice, but for now he is working on a fourth Kickstarter campaign.