Kickstarting mass-customizable furniture-on-demand


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Is Kickstarter the new way for established businesses to try out new ideas? They used to just bring out new stuff with regular advertising.

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I think traditional advertising is highly ineffective, even when an item is inherently useful or neat. I see ads on TV and i immediately don’t care, i see ads in magazines or newspapers i just tune them out and don’t look at the page, etc, etc. On the other hand, kickstarter allows for a person or business to make an attempt at direct dialogue with their target audience.
Personally i really like this idea of customizable cabinets. I am actually trying to get a really narrow bookshelf for my wife to fit in a particular area of the house but the dimentions are odd. Short of buying a custom bookshelf (which would be expensive) i’d have to make one myself.

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it seems that these days a lot of stuff - not all - seems to be ‘i have an idea and I need some money to back it.’ and the idea is actually going to be a business. So, rather than take out a loan or try to involve any other kind of financial backing in which the backer is then owed + interest, these is ‘crowd- sourcing start-up money’. I don’t see anything wrong with it - I think it’s a really great business model. Most of the rewards given these days are the product itself (should it come to fruition).

I also say this as someone who used Kickstarter to publish a really nice but rather expensive hardcover art book. KS allowed us to raise all the money and then some (we raised more than goal) and create something which would have

A. had far less in the promotion otherwise - KS creates a sense of urgency
B. use the ‘pre-orders’ as a way to pay for the entire investment
C. have a no-risk project

The people who got the book were happy. We were happy. Kickstarter + Amazon Payments walked away with their 10%. Everyone wins. More or less.

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It sounds like the Minecraft of home furnishing - which is actually pretty cool considering how creative some people get with the basic building blocks of Minecraft.

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Most products, even from established businesses, fail rather unceremoniously. I can see how Kickstarter (and competitors) can help with filtering out at least some of those.


Bookcases, forget fine furniture, you need to start with high quality cheap cusomisable bookcases - and a UI that knows about the weight of books and the strength of selves and handles requests like “paperbacks” and “double stacked paperbacks”, “A4 journals”, etc etc

I’ll share my reasons for using Kickstarter for the Massuni project, for what it’s worth:

  • First, we have had no outside investors, so Massuni’s development has been an enormous personal financial challenge. Raising cash through any means available is desirable, and investors have all taken the position that they want to see “proof of concept” before looking at it seriously. (This equates to getting orders, filling orders, and profiting from those orders, in some small quantity.) So for raising funds, Kickstarter is simply another avenue worth trying.
  • Second, as KarlS suggested, Kickstarter also offers a way to gauge the level of interest sooner rather than later. While we have spent a lot of time and money to date, there’s still a lot to be done. The sooner we can determine if it’s going to fail, the lower the losses. (I’m happy to say the response has been very positive so far.)
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Grey_Devil, your story is exactly the reason we’re creating Massuni. I have heard similar stories from many, many people. We’re not creating fancy showpiece furniture, we’re making it easy to address simple, everyday situations for real people in real homes. (And just so you know, a key part of our concept is to make items that are affordable - that’s the difference between “custom” and “mass customization”.)

Taniwha, we have purposely included simple, low cost bookcases in our system. I have resisted pressure to focus on high end items, as I believe “custom” shouldn’t, and doesn’t need to be, restricted to expensive stuff. If you look at the $180 Reward tier on our Kickstarter page, it is a simple melamine bookcase similar to what you’d expect from that Swedish store (except it’s fully assembled, not knock-down.) - and, of course, you can change the size to whatever you want!
Your UI suggestions are all great. There are engineering limits in place, and the idea of providing “preset” dimensions to fit common objects has been discussed, but not yet implemented.

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