Crowdfund of the week: From barrel to board

Marlborough-based makers-of-beautiful-things The Paper Rain Project cruised though their Kickstarter campaign target in the hope of keeping up with demand for their locally inspired, sourced, and produced goodies.

Crowdfunding has proven its worth as a completely plausible and often frighteningly efficient method of raising capital. As an extreme example, Pebble, the smartwatch company, raised $20,338,986. A huge number when you consider their goal was $500,000.

Our own backyard has also managed to incubate countless businesses into healthy operating positions over the last few years, giving smaller producers the opportunity to spread their wings on a national and international level.

The Paper Rain Project, founded and run by Indigo Greenlaw & Wills Rowe of Marlborough, have called upon the Kickstarter community to upscale and streamline their current offering. It has proved a rather popular offering with the company cruising through their Kickstarter goal of $10,000 within 48 hours of going live.

The company reached a total of $53,119 from 243 backers and has now begun production on the 128 boards that need to be made as part of the campaign.

The product itself oozes cool. Beautiful longboards handcrafted from wine barrels then laser etched with artwork – they’re almost too pretty to be stood on. But the story behind the boards is the real driver for the company’s runaway Kickstarter success.

Each board is handmade using recycled French oak wine barrels sourced from local, bio-dynamic winery Seresin, and each one takes several hours to craft.

How does a wine barrel become a skateboard you ask? Well, the barrels are unravelled, staves steam straightened, paired and joined, shaped, sanded, illustrated, laser-etched, then hand-finished with Tung oil and sometimes paint or gold leaf. Want one yet?

“To date we’ve sold around 100 wine-barrel boards to wine-makers, experiences and new long boarders, art collectors and a whole range of other people around New Zealand, Australia, Germany, USA, Switzerland, France, and Sweden,” said Greenlaw.

The mission of the Kickstarter campaign was to raise enough capital for the tools required to manufacture enough boards up with demand – the company is currently notifying customers to allow a three month turn around due to current demand. It also needs a place to house these tools, to allow a move from Rowe’s parent’s shed.

The company also offers 100% organic cotton, fair trade t-shirts and hopes to explore other green materials like flax, bamboo, and hemp. The dream for the pair is to create an umbrella creative enterprise to become the platform for many artists and makers all over the world.