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BSO 2014

Crowd-funding is hard!

Jessika Wahls

Don't get me wrong, i am so very grateful that something like it exists, but it has to be said,- crowd-funding is hard! Fo me it is the second time around that i have thrown myself into the net of  trust that is made up of my friends, family and strangers in order to bring something to life i so deeply believe in.

Something that i could not create if it wasn't for the collective help, something much bigger than myself that i feel will benefit all of us.

The first time around in early 2014, when i went absolutely blindfolded into the campaign that resulted in making my inaugural Retex-Sculpture exhibition 'Big Swinging Ovaries' , i was quite literally overwhelmed by the help i received from people that know and love my work, but also people that i had just recently met and who got infected with my enthusiasm for what i had embarked on and happily parted with their hard- earned cash.


I love crowd-funding for so many reasons, but it also made me understand a lot more about human relations, expectations, disappointments and what happens when you put your ideas out there in the public and ask for help!

I just finished reading Amanda Palmers #TheArtOfAsking and it resonated with me on an amount of levels, yet to be surpassed by any other artist. ( go get yourself a copy! You won't regret it!)

That said, i don't think we have to much in common otherwise, Amanda and i that is.

She's a rockstar and a writer, i am a Textile-artist and a Hairstylist.

She travels around the world non-stop and couch-surfs wherever she goes,- i like to 'hermit' myself away in my studio and spend hours and hours sewing intricate 3D sculptures from recycled fabrics, or embroider to my hearts content, and when i travel, i miss my cats.

I also prefer a nice hotel room to a strangers sofa when i'm away,


However,a major thing we have in common, is that we trust people.

Having been a hairstylist literally half my life, has always been something i thoroughly enjoyed! I like talking to people.

Not in a small-talk kind of way, but really TALK to them. I guess many of my customers who i know for years, can attest to that. I like them, and generally they like me too. I'm good with people and that builds trust.

Since art is my great passion, it is naturally that i talk about that too. All the time! So they know. They know everything about me, what i do, what i love, what i hate,- everything. And i know a lot about them! Trust! That's the keyword, and that was what resonated so much with me when i read Amanda's book.

I learned a long time ago that if i want to build a connection with somebody, i have to give a little of myself, to be able to get a little of the other person in return! It's what i do as a hairdresser, it's what i do as an artist, and it's certainly what i do when i ask people for their help when raising funds for my projects.


Crowd-funding is hard. And it is certainly something that only people really truly understand who went through it themselves!  I have spoken to many aspiring crowd-fundee's about my experience of it and it all boils down to a few major ingredients:

People.... you need to know them, and i mean KNOW them. Trust them! Ideally a lot of  them, because contraire to popular belief, you don't just put your idea on the internet and it all kicks off out of nowhere. You need friends and fans of YOU!

Transparency.... if you are asking people for their hard earned cash, make sure they know what for. Make sure they can understand what it is that you want to achieve and be clear about where the money goes in the aftermath of the funding too!

Enthusiasm.... if you are not excited about your project,why should anybody else be?! You are asking people to help, so make sure that they understand how important their help is to you , because IT'S EVERYTHING!

Tenacity ... crowd-funding is hard. And it's long.  Regardless whether you chose 30 days, 45 or even 60 days to raise your funds, i will promise you, it will be the longest days you have ever experienced. You wake up and go to bed with the constant thought of your campaign. It's full of ecstasy, anticipation and the inevitable disappointment, so hang in there!

Faith.... and that coming from an atheist is a funny concept to grasp. Faith in people is what  i am talking about here, because besides the monetary contribution that made my last campaign a success, i was awestruck by the extend to which people came forward and offered help. People can be arseholes but i believe that the human condition has always to sides to a coin. So altho there will always be some time-wasters along the way and people that all of a sudden feel that their opinion should be something for you to fret over, the majority of people has always been and continues to be an absolute celebration of the human capacity for empathy and support.

I do think that crowd-funding is something, a lot of valuable lessons can be learned from, and since i totally and absolutely believe that #STOPJECTIFY will be great, i took that leap of faith once more and am working every day on the success of the campaign.

To conclude this post, I want to say once more how much you guys mean to me. You, who have already proved that trust is everything- and that this is possible! Thank you!!!

And last but not least, have a look at this all inspiring talk by Amanda Palmer and her crowd-funding experience. It's truly inspiring!