Check out the 999Bottle Limited Edition design chosen by our backers!

Last week, we invited our Kickstarter backers to vote on the design of the Limited Edition 999Bottles. They jumped on the chance to participate, cast their vote and have their design voice heard. In three days, we got almost 300 votes and we now have a winner! But before we unveil that I’d like to share a bit more of why it was important for us to involve supporters in this decision.

One of many bottle shape concepts we tried. See more on Facebook.

One of the reasons Artefact embarked on the 999Bottles project was to take a concept, that we firmly believe in, all the way from our sketch pad to market. As a design consultancy, we have the privilege to work with leading companies to shape the design for innovative products and create the overall concept of unique user experiences. But we are only a small part of the entire process.  999Bottles gives us the opportunity to be involved all the way through—from the more significant details and visible ones, like the shape of the bottle, to the less obvious ones, like the bar on the cap that allows you to attach a carrying strap and then taking the idea to the public. So why did we give up some of the control in the design?

Cap with a bar for attaching a strap

We wanted to show our supporters a token of appreciation for their support.  In less than a month, more than 500 people pledged money for 999Bottles on Kickstarter. Without our supporters, 999Bottles is simply an idea.

We wanted to give supporters more ownership in the journey. Our backers’ support does not end with their pledge. We rely on them to spread the word and become champions to 999Bottles so we can reach our funding goal.

The Limited Edition 999Bottles is a way to commemorate our Kickstarter community. If we succeed in reaching our goal (and we hope we do), we may make thousands of 999Bottles. Yet these 999 Limited Edition bottles will always symbolize the passion and commitment of these first supporters. What better way to do that than letting backers choose the design?


The winner is the Personalized Limited Edition 999Bottles! It features the backer’s name and the unique number of the bottle.

The second most popular design was the Engraved World Map. It features a subtle texture and aunique number per bottle. When we asked our Facebook fans to guess the winning design, they actually chose this option.

Continue reading

Voting for Limited Edition is open until Monday May 14!

As seen in the last post we are conducting a poll to determine the final design for the 999Bottle Limited Edition. If you’d like to get your vote in, you just need to become a backer with $1 or more. You can always change your pledge level until funding closes on June 22.  Join us!

Crowdsourcing design: Backers choose the Limited Edition 999Bottle

We’ve been getting lots of questions about the Limited Edition 999Bottle on Kickstarter. This is an exclusive, one-time only, engraved design for our Kickstarter backers and we want you to pick the final design! 

We’re finishing up the details of a few concepts and we plan to release them next week with details on how to get the vote in.

Remember, there are only 999 of the Limited Edition bottles available so quantity is limited! Get your pledge in today 🙂

99Bottles Team @Artefact

The $10,000 mark: lessons learned in the first 48 hours of Kickstarter

We’re taking a moment to breathe and thank everyone for the remarkable support we’ve received for 999Bottles. We surpassed 10% of our funding goal in our first 3 days on Kickstarter! And with this milestone comes a bit of reflection on some lessons learned so far.

Marketing strategy #1: build community, early.

Start your marketing before you launch. We started a modest Facebook page a month before launching on Kickstarter. Not only was it a great way to gather early support and build some groundswell buzz, but it also gave us a sense of the issues that could come up.

We shared the process with our followers as we went along and looked for what resonated with people. It really helped us make decisions on how to conduct the launch. It also allowed us to tell the story of 999Bottles from the point of view of the people behind the project. We defined our motivation by sharing information on what plastic consumption does to the environment. We posted early prototypes of the product and packaging ideas to convey the reasons behind our design choices, and openly discussed our pricing considerations.

A side benefit of starting marketing early is that it allows you to identify and connect with influencers whose support you will need. In our case, Facebook and Twitter helped us connect with the UN Citizen Ambassador for 2011 Jonathan Eric Defante and artist Katharine Harvey.

Be everywhere. One channel it’s not enough. Over 66% of our donations come from external referrals such as, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, this blog, press, etc. It all helps drive pledges and you can track which sources drove the most. In our case, the top sources of backers were Search results, direct traffic, and posts on Uncrate, FastCo Design, and Huffington Post. The lesson is: no one channel is the answer.  So take advantage of the multiple platforms and build a large digital footprint to increase your chances of driving your project toward your fundraising goal.


Ensure you can adapt to KS structure.

Kickstarter is set up for individuals rather than companies, even small studios like ours do not quite match the structure. So when we tried to set up the Amazon payments through one of our founders, Amazon Payments rejected our account because it did not match the KS account owner we had set up. It took us several days to figure out how to set it up correctly and a lot fo back-and-forward!

BTW, use KS support. One thing we’ve learned with every challenge we’ve faced is that KS has AWESOME customer support. They are quick to get back to you and very friendly and follow-up until the issue is resolved.

Be ready to provide answers and change plans, quickly.

Oui-Oui! International shipping!!! We really didn’t think we would have such international appeal with 999Bottles so we were caught off-guard with the demands to ship the bottle to every corner of the world. We quickly re-calculated and updated the costs, but then we found out we couldn’t change the pledge rewards once you go live. So make sure you plan for even the most unforeseen places in the world from the get-go!

Be ready to provide answers! Personal thank-yous, prompt replies — the KS community is a very active one and it’s pretty much a full-time job to stay on top of messages. Fortunately, the KS site has many ways to keep your community engaged. Do use Updates, FAQs or contact your backers directly. Just plan to have a dedicated time slot every day to tend to the community so you don’t fall behind.

Another little thing that came up was demand for an Android app. Our original plan included only an iPhone app, but now that we’re getting more and more questions about it we’re starting to think about how much money, resources, timing, would take us to do this. We’re trying to listen hard to the community to determine our path forward. We won’t be able to please everyone but besides raising capital, KS is a great market test for a product. So don’t dismiss the request you get even if they don’t fit your original vision.

And finally, track everything (not just bottles!)

I’m addicted to the KS dashboard (confession: I love tracking tools!) but I got this link from Selina Rodriguez our studio coordinator (she’s the beautiful lady with Ray Ban glasses in our glam picture!) and it saves a ton of math time to figure out projections and it’s updates almost real-time.  The point is data can help you have a very dynamic project and adapt to the rhythm of your campaign. For example, on Facebook, we learned that Thursdays were our most active day so we started release important updates and promptly saw higher engagement.

New to Kickstarter? Here’s what to expect.

We’re getting very close to the official 999Bottles launch on Kickstarter. If you are not familiar with it, this is a platform that allows people to safely donate or invest in creative projects or ideas they like. It is also the easiest way to pre-order your bottle. Here is how it works:

1. You visit @999Bottles Kickstarter page (we will share the link when it goes live)

2. You select the level of support you are comfortable with. We have made it easy — you can donate as little as $1 or as much as you want.

3. For every level of pledge there is a @999Bottle reward, including the iPhone app, a bottle, a Kickstarter Limited Edition version of the bottle or a set of bottles.

4. All pledges/payments are processed through Amazon Payments and are absolutely secure.

5. If we receive enough pledges to reach our goal within 60 days, the project gets funded. If we fail, we do not collect any of the pledges and you get your money back.

Here is what CNN had to say about Kickstarter: