When discussing social plans, there are always the usual suggestions of a coffee shop sit down or a trip to see the latest blockbuster, but what happens when you fancy something a little different? Armed with an idea and a love of games, Hayley Summers knew exactly what she wanted to bring to the city of Plymouth.
A board game cafe is the definition of something different. It’s a place where people can come, pay a session charge, and sit playing an array of board games while enjoying the regular set-up of a cafe. In fact, in Hayley’s words, it’s her dream hang-out spot. After realising her home was lacking in her ideal building, she began the journey of bringing Twist—Plymouth’s first board game cafe—to the city centre!
After securing the building and the staff, all that was left was to secure the vast array of games to give her cafe the ‘wow factor’. Her aim was to have a library of over 300 games and, to do this, she needed £6,000.
Refit by day and crowdfunder by night
On her crowdfunding journey, Hayley said, “The crowdfunding experience was really intense. I had been project managing the refit and managing the crowdfunder. It was refit by day and crowdfunder by night. The people you get to chat to when you’re crowdfunding are brilliant. It opened up a much wider audience. It’s amazing that there are people who backed the crowdfunder who didn’t even know about Twist until they saw the page. It definitely exposed Twist to a lot more people.”
She had that right. In the end, Twist raised £13,315 from 177 supporters in just 34 days! She was also eligible for two lots of extra funding grants and she received them both. “The extra funding is amazing. It was such a massive help. I actually got backed by two lots of extra funding and I didn’t even expect to be backed by one!”
She received £3,000 from Plymouth city council as part of their fund to improve Plymouth and another £3,000 from Natwest as part of the Back Her Business programme. Set up in partnership with Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, the initiative is designed to help get more women into business. The programme includes coaching from a dedicated Crowdfunder coach, networking opportunities, and funding grants from one of the three banks, depending on location.
She went on to say, “I guess it’s that thing where you’re never sure if your project will be what the extra funders are looking for. I just absolutely was not expecting to get any of them but the people at Crowdfunder said they thought I should go for it! I actually remember writing the stretch goals and thinking, ‘Do we even need these because we’re never going to get there?’”
Final thoughts from Hayley:
After running such a successful crowdfunding campaign, Hayley left us with some top tips for anyone thinking about crowdfunding.
“My advice is don’t underestimate what people are going to want when it comes to rewards. When I was creating them, I got to those high value ones and it was one of those things where you think no one is actually going to go for them because, to me, they seemed quite big but a couple of the high value ones went. Also make sure you’re organised. That is something I would do differently if I did it again. I thought that making a graphic celebrating fifty supporters would only take a second which it did but I always felt like I was chasing my tail. So definitely have that stuff ready.”