Brixton Cycles successfully raised a staggering £62,225 from 1,485 backers in just 35 days! We caught up with them to find out why their project was so victorious.
Brixton Cycles is London’s oldest worker-owner bike co-op and has been voted the capital’s #1 small bike retailer by the London Cycling Awards. For more than 32 years, the co-operative has been a key part of the fabric of Brixton; not only serving the cyclists of South London, but promoting eco-conscious lifestyles and encouraging the next generation onto two wheels, often lending tools for free.
With the business’s current premises due for demolition (to make way for new luxury flats), Brixton Cycles faced moving costs of around £150,000. As a co-op, this was much more than they could afford, so they turned to Crowdfunder to help them out.
With a loyal customer base going back three decades and a strong reputation for their positive contribution to the local community, Brixton Cycles’ campaign really resonated with the public and they smashed their original target of £40,000 just five days after their public launch! Let’s find out how they managed such a successful campaign.
A failure to prepare is a preparation to fail
Brixton Cycles didn’t just come up with the idea and then immediately launch their campaign. Oh no – these guys took their planning very seriously: “We spent six months preparing our campaign. It’s crucial to invest enough time in working out who your potential supporters are and building their engagement. Anticipation is everything!”
Brixton Cycles launched a mailing list where people could register their support, conducted online and offline focus groups, had a pre-launch Q&A with their customers and held a huge launch party!
First up they decided to create a newsletter, which is a great way to help identify and communicate directly with the people who really care about your work: “By the time our campaign launched, our newsletters were going to more than 900 people! This was a great way to keep our most-engaged supporters involved with the development of the campaign and we actually launched to this group 24-hours early. This meant that by the time the campaign went public, we’d already raised £10,000!”
Brixton Cycles spoke to their customers to find out what sort of campaign would appeal: “We had an open meeting where anyone from the community could come to ask questions and share ideas. It was great to involve our customers and supporters in the creative process and made them feel like ambassadors for our cause!”
They also ran an online focus group on Facebook where “we could both ask and answer questions from a select group of customers. For example, ‘How much might you pledge to our campaign?’ This helped us to budget and set realistic goals.”
Once they had everything ready to go, Brixton Cycles planned an exciting launch event and invited all their local contacts, customers and supporters who follow them on social media and through the newsletter.
“We had to take RSVPs as the venue could only hold 200 people. Even then, so many people wanted to come that we had a queue down the street! The caterers wouldn’t even accept payment, asking instead for the funds to go towards the crowdfunding campaign.
“All of our party guests were asked to pledge on their phones that night, entering them into a raffle which was drawn at the end of the event. The prizes, donated by our suppliers and friends of the shop, included two brand-new bikes!”
It’s clear the guys at Brixton Cycles worked incredibly hard to achieve their show-stopping results and have lots of tips to share! They told us: “You need to put in the work as crowdfunding is not easy. Once your campaign is live it is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week commitment. You have to put your heart and soul into it.”
However, doing a marvellous job is far easier when you have a good team around you: “It’s important for one or two people to lead thecampaign, but having a team to support you is really important and can also make the process much more fun!”
Speaking of which, try and get somebody with a bit of press savvy onboard: “We’ve had more than 30 pieces of press coverage since we started talking about the campaign – from Road.cc to the BBC – which is a great way to reach new audiences.”
Last but not least, be realistic when setting a target: “Be brave but realistic with your target, and aim to smash it! The overfunding feature on Crowdfunder works really well.”
The response to Brixton Cycles’ campaign has been “fantastic!” Not only have they raised the funds they need, but their campaign has also been great marketing to notify everyone about the move, and could potentially lead to new customer acquisition in their new space. We wish them every success!
- To find out more, visit the Save Brixton Cycles project page or follow their progress @brixtoncycles.