By Ryan Allan

Please check out our OWL Adventure Lab crowdfunding page. You can contribute directly, buy a perk or find answers to questions about the Adventure Lab. There is a gallery of photos here.

50 Backers of OWL Adventure Lab

Check out OWL Adventure Lab Crowdfunding Journal #1 here.

It’s 3:30-ish in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure it’s Tuesday…Wednesday, and….

Sorry, I just disappeared to post on flipping Facebook about a new contribution (you’re awesome Anonymous!), then respond to an Instagram post, write 14 e-mails and confirm the beer at an event we are hosting in two weeks.

But I’m back now. What was I saying? Oh yeah. Crowdfunding is a GRIND.

There was never the expectation that we’d magically get all the money we need to reach our goal ($33,250) in a couple days, but there was an outsider hope. The same hope that lingers when you buy a lotto ticket for the jackpot…just for fun.

Nathan Ledyard Art Print IndieGoGo Flier
We have an awesome new perk!

We went into Week 1 with a plan. Contact our family, friends, colleagues, business associates and random friends from social media. Pitch them our plan, ask them to contribute or share, give us feedback, and hopefully contribute again. We’re proud of our business, of our concept and the work we did on it. But there is an inherent awkwardness in reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken too in years to say,

“Hey Buddy. How’s it going? I hope things are well. I’m starting a new business, and we’re crowdfunding our start-up costs….Remember that time we did something stupid together in high school?”

Right away, we realized we just weren’t the type of people to send out form letters. Nor did we really think that would work. Not only did we want to tell them about this thing we were proud of, but we really wanted to reach out. So we started sending personal messages to everyone. EVERYONE. And that takes time. Multiply the letter you send at the holidays updating people on your life & asking about theirs by several hundred for each of us.

The first couple days the contributions were coming in pretty regular. Then the weekend hit, and it slowed down. The second Saturday we didn’t get even one contribution. It was a bummer. But then right away Sunday morning we hit again, and our spirits lifted.

Tim Stempel biking on the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California

Last weekend we took bikes up north to spread the word & put out flyers.. We had a coffee at Coffee Coffee. They have a flier wall in the bathroom. Success. Walked into Surfy Surfy and talked to the proprietor. He didn’t seem to buy the idea, but was nice and let us leave fliers. Success. Then we hit the streets. We rolled south all the way to Seaside Reef just past Cardiff and back. We hit every coffee shop, surf shop, bike shop and juicery. What’s a juicery you ask? A heavenly place. With juice.

Surfy Surfy Hats in Leucadia shop with OWL Adventure Lab FliersEvery time we stopped we asked if we could leave fliers, we talked to people and pitched our idea. Sometimes together as a team and sometimes apart. It was hot out. It was muggy, and we just kept grinding it out and going and going and grinding some more. Each time we went into a new place we opened ourselves up to criticism, rejection and indifference. This whole crowdfunding thing is an emotional roller coaster.

But we also opened ourselves up to excitement, enthusiasm and acceptance. The wins were more frequent then the losses. We stopped at the Shaper Studios/Vissla Self-Shape Surf Comp and everyone we talked to seemed to get it. We left feeling good and inspired.

Sunday we hit the streets again joining a group bike ride, then going our own ways. Monday…I don’t remember really…

Panniken Coffee and Tea in Encinitas with OWL Adventure Lab FlierTuesday we met up again to talk to people in North Park. Always pitching the idea. Sharing the crowdfunding campaign. Through it all, trying to stay on top of social media posting, reposting, like-ing, sharing. Always sending e-mails working our way down our lists.

There was almost a guilt when I wasn’t completely focused on the campaign. Sunday afternoon I went out to tune up my bike in the courtyard. I left my phone inside. There was no laptop to check or person to pitch OWL Adventure Lab too. I planned on spending an hour, but somehow three passed. It felt good to do the work.

Then I went inside and started it all up again. Grinding, grinding, grinding. And though it may sound this way a little bit, I’m not complaining. I love seeing people when they get our concept for the first time. The excitement they have boosts my own, and Tim’s own. We are passionate about bringing the OWL Adventure Lab to life. We are willing and happy to put in the time, the effort and willing to admit we may not do everything right when it comes to crowdfunding. We’ve been putting in the work, and now we get to see if it pays off.

At the end of the day we know it will be worth it. It has already been worth it. The OWL Adventure Lab is COMING!

OWL Adventure Lab IndieGoGo Campaign Update Homepage

Please check out our OWL Adventure Lab crowdfunding page. You can contribute directly, buy a perk or find answers to questions about the Adventure Lab. There is a gallery of photos here.

Follow our day-to-day experience here: