The end of Kickstarter thoughts
Well I've officially finished mailing out all but two pieces for the kickstarter. Those two had special extras added on, that will take a bit of time to do, but the backers in question are already aware of that time frame.
So... it's time to wrap up my thoughts on the entire process!
I was really worried about the back end for kickstarter, because everyone had complained about how awful it was. At the end of the day, the only real 'awful' part was that it was difficult to sort the backers based on reward tiers. I found having a back up list of my own spreadsheets with the backers sorted by reward level was the best way to handle that. The survey process was a little frustrating for me, as I wanted to really get ON with shipping and hated waiting for people to reply with their address, but otherwise it was really easy to handle.
For my end, I learned quite a bit. I'm accustomed to shipping a lot of art out, and figured that shipping the way I do to conventions would totally work. Welp, I was slightly wrong in that! At the end when the packages were all put together, there was less art per package, so I didn't have as much of a support system in the boxes that I really wanted. Sending flat was great though, I felt confident that the art was going to be safe, I just wasn't pleased with the fragility of the boxes at the end of the day (one backer showed me a photo where the post office had mangled the box. The art was fine, but the box was mushed from them probably stacking something considerably heavier on top of it).
The poor postmaster's eyes bugged out of his head when I walked in with fifty + packages to ship lol! But I had already taken care of paying for the postage and labeling them so all he had to do was receive the packages, and that was okay. The really big snafu I hit was when it came to international shipping! I was quoted ar easonable price for the boxes I had, and given the customs forms to fill out, but when it came time to ship the art? Welp, turns out the post mater who quoted me had mismeasured the box, and I was around 2 inches too big for standard shipping! Which meant that the packages I had that day had to be sent priority mail, so shipping went from $12 each, to FIFTY dollars each! Needless to say, I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily it was an easy fix, I just had to cut the boxes down so that I lost the 2" and it went back under the shipping cost (though five packages were sent priority because I aws too stressed to handle undiong everything and redoing it all from scratch).
So what have I learned for the next kickstarter? Well if the total of the length, width and depth of the package is over 36", I'm going to have to NOT do international shipping, except on a case by case basis. The next kickstarter will be a shorter package, so I won't run into that problem.
I also learned that boxes with tissue is, while light, not really great for how brutal the post office is on them! I'm talking to my local packing supply lady about the best way to ship the next kickstarter's package, so expect that to be smoothed out and more secure.
I found that having an assembly line to get through the mats worked great, and I was able to cut 130 mats in about an hour while watching daredevil, so that worked well. The photo corners gave me a LOT of trouble, but several people voiced relief that they weren't going to have to peel tape off of their art when it got there, so I think I'll stick wtih them, even if they are frustrating! The paper corners worked a lot better than the plastic ones, with less slippage, so expect those to be on al lof the prints and not just the unmatted ones.
Doing custom add ons worked well, though I learned that my phrasing for the survey needs improvement! I'll be doing a custom add on section on the next kickstarter for sure. I will also be doing clearer photographs.
The local printer I used was amazing, and so hands on and great. The worry I had for small imperfections on the prints was nonexistant when the printing happened. They were BEAUTIFUL. And I found a glorious silver and gold pen for signing the prints! That works smoothly!
All in all I'm really excited to do the next kickstarter, it's been an incredible experience.
If you have any thoughts and suggestions about improving my kickstarters, please feel free to send me a note through the contact form on the site. And again, thank you everyone for making this such an amazing experience. You all are wonderful.