So earlier this month, LoudPen, a fellow blogger reached out to me via Twitter to tell me how much she liked my blog. I was ecstatic that she found me, as it was my first time being reached out to by a stranger. After talking I learned about her blog, "De La Pen, All Pen Everything" and Kickstarter campaign to help expand her blog's reach into Pen.Point: The Seasoned Traveler and Pen.Style. After checking out her campaign, I donated to it. (My first Kickstarter donation! Yip-ee!) Read below to find out about the woman behind the project and then if you are able to, definitely go donate to her cause!
DDA: What initially inspired you to start your blog?
LP: I started my blog because I wanted a place to share my opinion on fashion. Since 2010 when I started, it has grown into an international and multicultural online lifestyle magazine. I cover fashion, music, art, travel, events, and more. I want the site to be a place where people can get information on the latest designers, musicians, artists, travel destinations and hotels, not to mention know what events to attend.
DDA: What do you want people to gain from it?
LP:I want to inspire people to create their own great work and lastly, I want to unite people from all different cultures and backgrounds. That's why I always emphasize the international & multicultural part so people understand I cover Asian, Hispanic, African-American, African, European, and American culture on the site. I'm proud to say that the majority of my readership is Asian, Hispanic, and African-American so I'm glad my content is reaching a diverse audience.
DDA: People always want to know where their money is going before the just give it away. For your Kickstarter, how did you determine $2,500 as your goal? Do you have a budget that you can share with us that explains the items you wish you to purchase with this money?
LP: Yes, I definitely have a budget! I would like everyone to know that I worked on the Give LoudPen Ink campaign for 3 months prior to launching it. First, I created a budget which breaks down into: $250 for travel to Dallas which is the 2nd location for the Pen.Point: The Seasoned Traveler campaign. The $250 will cover gas & my rental car. The next part is $650 for Advertising & Marketing. I am planning to launch Google AdWords campaigns and as well as using Facebook and Twitter Advertising. I ran a Facebook ad campaign for my blog a few months ago because I got a free $50 credit and it got me 50 new fans. That's a dollar per fan so I decided to include advertising in the budget. My site gets great traffic and I have a loyal following but major brands work with bloggers who have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. If I can run a few campaigns, I would see an increase in my numbers and be able to show brands, I know how to blog and use digital/social advertising to increase my campaign reach. That would make me more valuable and make brands more likely to hire me for projects. The next $500 is for photography since that is crucial to having non-grainy photos. The last $400 is to purchase supplies like makeup, beauty products, clothes, and accessories. This is specifically for the Pen.Style shoots because since it's a series of fashion/lifestyle editorials, I want to feature great fashion and fabulous beauty in cool locations. That said, my total budget is $1800, but the reason I'm seeking $2500 is because Kickstarter charges a 5% fee for funds raised and Amazon Payments charges a 2-3% fee. So I wanted to raise enough to cover my costs and those fees.
DDA: So what do you do in order to relax from all the blogging, your day job, and planning out all these social media strategies?
LP: Honestly, right now I don't have a favorite place to relax because I rarely let myself do so. I'm not where I want to be with my business and career so I'm usually working. Once my finances start flowing more I fully intend to take vacation or short weekend trips every 2-3 months. I will say that right now, my home is my sanctuary so on the weekends, I'll chill out there and I don't do any work. I usually do a full on digital detox by not using social media either.
DDA: You've been blogging since 2008, that is a long ass time. Like you said it takes money and not to mention all the time and research that goes into it as well. So when was the defining moment that made you decide that you aren't going to die afraid, you were going to just keep inking that page and sharing with your followers what is on your mind?
LP: Yes, like we said on Twitter, I'm like the grandma of blogging! It has been such a crazy ass ride navigating the blogosphere. But I'll say it was my first trip to Uzbekistan in 2010 and in 2012 to cover events for the Fund Forum of Arts & Culture Uzbekistan. The Fund Forum is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Uzbek fashion, music, and art so I was sponsored to attend and cover some of their events. Lots of family members & friends told me not to go but I took a chance and went anyway and that was a pivotal moment for me because it made me a professional blogger officially. I had a major brand cover my travel and accommodations to go all the way to Central Asia. Then when I got back I met my business partner and we co-founded our agency, The Network. With so many unique experiences, I know I won't die afraid because I've taken so many huge risks some have failed, some have been tremendously successful. Either way, "I did it my way" as Jay Z would say.
Have you ever given to a Kickstarter campaign?
What are the most effective ways of fundraising?