5 Crowdfunders to Watch — Goats, Chainmail, Hockey and More

These women business owners are raising money for ventures that specialize in farming, fashion, food — and everything in between.

Rachel Wilson By Rachel Wilson

At The Story Exchange, we firmly believe that women are capable of starting companies and turning profits in any industry they want — and this edition of our ongoing crowdfunding column proves it. The female entrepreneurs featured below are busy with everything from goat’s milk products and baking tutorials to hemp-filled snacks and chainmail ties.

Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:

1. “Bleating” the Odds (via Kickstarter)

(Credit: dancinggoatsdairy.com)

(Credit: dancinggoatsdairy.com)

The Business: The North Shore of Massachusetts is home to the Dancing Goats Dairy, run by Erin Bligh. There, goat milk is used to craft small artisanal batches of cheeses, soaps, caramel and more, which are sold at local stores, farmers markets and a small farm stand. Bligh has grown the operation from a two-goat pen that she rented from a nearby farm into a 14-goat operation on its own land, but now she has set her sights higher.
The Money: By or before Dec. 13, the folks at Dancing Goats Dairy hope to raise at least $15,000. They plan to put the money generated by the campaign toward building and updating the farm’s facilities, revamping product packaging and creating a formal office space.

2. Chainmail, Your New Sunday Best (via Kickstarter)

(Credit: Bezpoke Maille)

(Credit: Bezpoke Maille)

The Business: Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Katia Zhukova is a self-described “portrait and figure artist” who found her niche in chainmail, an ancient art created by linking small metal rings together. To date, Zhukova has only offered her chainmail designs — which extend far beyond armor — to close acquaintances. But now, she’s in the process of launching Bezpoke Maille, an Etsy store that will sell chainmail ties, home decor and more.
The Money: Zhukova aims to raise $1,000 by Dec. 13. If successful, she’ll use the funds to purchase materials in bulk, allowing her to craft enough product to get the store up and running.

3. Hemp-Filled Delights (via Indiegogo)

The Business: Hemp is weaving its way into mainstream culture, thanks to businesses like Universal Fuel Foods, a “lifestyle brand that promotes the essence of ‘food as fuel’ and medicine.” The Amsterdam-based company, run by Colette Nickerson, is dedicated to whipping up healthy, energizing snacks like their super square, which is an organic, dairy-, soy- and gluten-free bar containing nuts, berries, seeds, dried fruit and, of course, cold-pressed hemp powder.
The Money: Nickerson needs to raise $26,548 by or before Dec. 19, money she will use for start-up expenses such as a website and e-commerce page, package designs, trademarks and patents, nutritional lab work, distribution and more.

4. Empowerment in the Kitchen (via Kickstarter)

The Business: After working in the food industry for over 20 years as a chef and adjunct culinary instructor, Kristi Barber decided to take her cooking career into her own hands aby launching Bake It Right with her husband. Based in Nashville, Tenn., Barber’s venture specializes in breaking down baking recipes into step-by-step guides that are easily understood by the average Joe or Jane. Bake It Right also offers online cooking classes and e-cookbooks.
The Money: Barber is trying to raise $6,500 by Dec. 24. With that money, she will pay for website updates and to launch an e-commerce site, establish course content, test recipes and complete legal documents. And aspiring chefs take note: Pledgers who give $100 or more will gain access to all of Bake It Right’s training videos.

5. Women on the Ice (via Kickstarter)

(Credit, L-R: Jarred Alterman, George Spiers)

(Credit, L-R: Jarred Alterman, George Spiers)

The Business: Post-collegiate hockey is widely regarded as a man’s sport. Now, self-proclaimed amateur hockey player and professional filmmaker Rachel Koteen is trying to flip that script. Koteen is working to capture the first season of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), the first and only professional women’s hockey league in North American to pay its players.  Her documentary, “NWHL: History Begins,” will follow the beginnings of the league and profile several of its main advocates. For Koteen, the documentary is about more than hockey — it’s about women dreaming big and pushing for their advancement in all areas of society, including professional sports.
The Money: Koteen is looking to raise $45,000 by Dec. 8 (she has already raised nearly $40,000) to continue developing the film. The funds will cover crew, equipment, transportation and media storage costs, in addition to legal, insurance and administrative fees.

Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at info@thestoryexchange.org.

Posted: December 2, 2015

Rachel Wilson5 Crowdfunders to Watch — Goats, Chainmail, Hockey and More