Peter Dering started a Kickstarter campaign last year to get some funding for a gadget he had created – a clip that allows you to attach an SLR camera to anything, such as a belt, a backpack or even a bike.
He originally asked for $10,000, but was overwhelmed when backers ultimately put up $350,000 for his idea. And since then, he’s made over $1 million in revenue – and the money keeps coming in. Dering spoke to SmartCompany about the company he built around this whole idea – Peak Design – and how he’s transitioned from design into management.
So you’ve come a long way from your original Kickstarter idea. How did all this start?
I picked up photography as a hobby in high school, and just kept with it during college. When I got my first bonus in the working world I bought an SLR, had a blast and really put it through the paces during a four month trip through Australia and New Zealand, and south-east Asia.
But I had this camera in my hand for four months, and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a better way of managing it and carrying it. So I dreamed up a solution, and I when I got back home, just sort of put it aside.
But two years later I was thinking of quitting my job, and producing a different invention.
What was that idea?
Something to do with brake technology. I was on a ski trip with my girlfriend, and I started telling her about my camera clip idea. And she suggested I do that rather than the brake thing. A woman’s intuition is really good, you know.
So I started doing sketches, and I just got totally consumed by it. By then I had already quit my job, didn’t have plans too specific, and I started designing it full-time.
I even developed a prototype. I found out about the whole world of product design, and I was talking to manufacturers and aluminium dye casting and all that sort of staff, in the course of about nine months.
So you’d put down some money, what happened next?
So I’ve put down a whole heap of money, about $17,000, and I’m buying tooling for all these parts. I figured I’d just get something down, and then I started hearing about Kickstarter. I heard about it from about three different people in one week, actually, who were telling me to check this thing out.
So I saw what was there, got excited, and then started putting together a video. I thought I had a really cool product, and could get some support.
Did you have any idea of how to go about all of that?
I actually impressed myself a little, because I’m not a video guy, but I was able to produce something pretty well and thought, hey, this is pretty good. So it wasn’t professional quality or anything like that, but I was able to get a real joy out of seeing that within a few minutes, people had seen it and started thinking it was a good idea.