Dizzy's Donuts, currently Boulder's only shop dedicated to America's favorite o-shaped confection, opened quietly on Sept. 1.
Despite a lack of major publicity, the donut shop at 1606 Conestoga St. has been selling its unique creations -- which come in varieties that include maple bacon, crème brulee and key lime pie -- as fast as the small staff can make them, selling out nearly every day it's been open.
But therein lies the problem for Dizzy's owners Eric Guthrie and his wife Jane Boggs-Guthrie. In order to expand their business, they need to increase their production capacity, and, to do that, they must buy more kitchen equipment -- about $12,000 worth, they figure.
"We're really bare bones here," said Guthrie as he weighed out dough at 10 p.m. on a recent night, a process that keeps him in the shop overnight every day in order to have a display case full of fresh treats each morning. "We need more equipment to make more doughnuts.
"We can make close to four hundred a night. Our main focus is getting that number bumped up."
Enter the world's most successful online crowdfunding platform for creative projects: Kickstarter.com.
Kickstarter allows anyone to donate as little as $1 to creative projects that artists and entrepreneurs such as the Guthries pitch via a video and plan of action. The website allows supporters to commit donations to specific projects in return for pledge rewards that vary based on the project and size of donation.
Projects open with a target fundraising goal, and those who pledge aren't actually charged unless that full amount is committed -- it's all or nothing for those trying to get funded.
"If a project is $1 short, then everybody's pledge is canceled and no money changes hands," Kickstarter spokesman Justin Kazmark said. "It kind of protects the creators because they know they can only move forward if they have the money to do so."
Kickstarter has been very popular in Boulder, which, outside of Denver, is by far the most active city in Colorado on the site.
Boulder's 94 ongoing projects -- including 82 that have been successfully funded -- are more than the next seven Colorado cities combined, and more than double that of the next Colorado city, Colorado Springs, with 39. Denver, a city with a population roughly six times that of Boulder, has 272 active or successful Kickstarter campaigns.
As of mid-September, more than $1.1 million had been pledged to Boulder projects, Kazmark said.
For the owners of Dizzy's Donuts, Kickstarter was appealing in their efforts to raise enough money to buy a second deep fryer, another industrial-sized mixer and a convection oven, among other needed items. They launched their project in mid-August.
the case of the Dizzy's campaign, rewards started at a free half-dozen doughnuts for 30 backers who pledged between $10 to $24. For the one backer (or group of backers) who pledged $1,000 or more, the reward was a doughnut party for 15 people, four Dizzy's T-shirts, four coffee mugs, two coffee cards and a free baker's dozen every month for a year.
"It seemed like a good way to get people involved in it and make them feel like a part of it," Guthrie said. "I'd rather pay them back with a pledge reward than pay financing charges to a corporate bank."
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