As we settle into a new calendar year, I’m reminded of the awful start Kapuluan experienced as we were heading into 2016, our first year in business.
Funny what a difference a year makes; we are feeling truly blessed and thankful for what 2016 has given us.
It all starts with our community of amazing people – where our goals start and end.
When I started Kapuluan I set out to build a community of people who care about making the world a better place. People who could help us achieve our goals of improving the livelihood of impoverished coconut farming communities and providing an antidote to environmental issues with our tree planting program.
I knew that seeing my dreams and goals come to reality would be incredibly challenging. What I wanted to accomplish was clear, but I had no idea how to make it a reality.
The first step was building a successful business. No business = no money. No money = no coconut trees and no change for coconut farmers. And I didn’t know anything about starting a business like Kapuluan. Products, packaging, supply chains, and logistics were all foreign languages to me, and I failed my language classes in high school. Well, actually, I didn’t even graduate high school.
In an incredibly competitive beauty market, full of big time business’ with tons of money, it’s safe to say that Kapuluan was an underdog destined to fail. And things didn’t exactly start out well when we launched at the end of 2015. After a failed crowdfunding campaign and our piggy bank flushed down the drain, we were forced to start over with hardly any money.
I had put my savings into the launch – I filmed Kinabuhi to tell the story of impoverished coconut farmers, and made a crowdfunding video to raise money. I hired a PR company and Social Media staff. I built an email list and a digital ad campaign on Facebook and Google. I worked relentlessly to build a beautiful crowdfunding campaign page, and got help from friends and my girlfriend to design beautiful images and branded content for the campaign. I did everything I was supposed to do. None of it mattered. We had a goal of $90,000 and raised less than $5000.
None of it mattered. We had a goal of $90,000 and raised less than $5000.
And I can mostly thank my family and friends for the $5000.
That was a tough pill to swallow. I wondered if anyone cared about what I cared about.