Talented young Cavan designer David Barry is taking Brooklyn and New York by storm. He is running his second Kickstarter campaign to help fund production of his innovative yet cheeky design 'Cloud File Solutions' - a physical storage product for those of us who still use paper. His first Kickstarter was for a funky hook design called Frank Hook. If you want to get one of the unique Cloud File Solutions more information can be found on his site.
What kind of changes did the company/product go through in early stages?
The Cloud File Storage Units started out as sketches a few months back. Originally they were going to much smaller and made of wood. I was thinking of designing them to hold odds and ends on a desktop. Eventually the penny dropped and I decided it would fit with the joke better if they actually held files.
How did the first Kickstarter happen?
My first Kickstarter project began as a happy accident. I was designing a small side table for a nook in my apartment. When I got the proto-type of the legs back I turned them upside down and thought ‘hey this looks like a rabbit’ and that is how Frank the Rabbit Wall Hook was born.
How did it go?
The Frank Rabbit Wall Hook Kickstarter campaign when really well. I ended up raising 790% of my original goal and had 863 backers.
How useful or important is crowdfunding for small businesses?
For me crowdfunding is essential, I never would have launched my business without it. Sites like Kickstarter offer small businesses the opportunity to reach a large audience and pitch a product without having to invest heavily beforehand. It allows independent designers, like myself, to launch products without having to secure partnerships with larger established companies.
Tell us about Cloud File Solutions? Where did the idea come from?
Cloud File Solutions is tech start up. Well, we’re pretending to be a start-up. I’ve even taken to wearing black turtle-neck sweaters ala Steve Jobs. The idea is about poking fun at all the big tech companies that are calling all their online file storage systems ‘The Cloud’. We’re making an alternative offline Cloud that holds your paper files. The units are made of metal and sit on your desk. They are a bit of fun and they’re also a much nicer looking compared to the typical drab, boring desktop file holder.
Tell us about forthcoming plans for Irish Year of Design?
I’m based in New York so I’m really excited to attend the events that will be held here. The Irish Year of Design is an amazing opportunity to promote all the great work that’s coming out of Ireland. I think it will be really well received, especially here in New York.
Do you have investors? Are you looking for further investment?
In a way the people who donate on Kickstarter are investors. Their money is what fuels the project and makes it a success. Right now we’ve already got 60% of the money we need to make the product a reality. Every pledge helps and in return backers of the project get a Cloud Storage Unit shipped to them as a thank you.
What kind of growth has your company experienced?
Since I launched my first Kickstarter (Frank the Rabbit Wall Hook) back in 2012 the company has been growing. We have an ecommerce site, www.frankhooks.com where customers can purchase product directly and Frank is also stocked by the MoMA design store.
Tell us about your industry: What was it like to break into?
It is definitely difficult to make a name for yourself in the design industry. It’s very competitive as there are some many incredible designers out there. For me the important thing is to keep creating work that I’m proud of.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far? The greatest victory?
Getting the Frank Wall Hook stocked by the MoMA design store was a huge moment. As a designer it’s always been my favorite store in the city. To see something I’ve designed sitting on a shelf next to the work of iconic and brilliant designers is totally surreal.
What's been the most important lesson?
I think it’s important to stay organized and be consistent. When building a brand everything needs to have the same message and be cohesive.
What are your plans for 2014?
I’m really excited about the rest of the year. I’ve a few more projects in the pipeline that I’m hoping to launch before Christmas.
What are your immediate next steps and long-term goals?
For now I’m focusing on getting as many projects as I can finished and into the world. Eventually I’d love to open my own design studio, perhaps in Dublin.
What international markets do you foresee the company expanding into?
Right now I’m focusing the business in the US but already we’re seeing interest in the European and Asian markets.
What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?
You learn so much by doing. My advice would be to just jump right in and start building your project. Even if it’s not a success you’ll learn a great deal and that knowledge will ensure that you’re next venture is a big hit.
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