This past weekend I had the privilege of sitting down with Kyle Hoff, one of two co-founders of the Floyd Leg, a manufacturing project based in Detroit. The Floyd Leg is in the final days of being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The project surpassed its funding goal of $18,000 within a few days, and at the time of this writing has exceeded $210,000.
What is the Floyd Leg?
The Floyd Leg is a tool that gives you the framework to create a table from any flat surface. The legs have a clamp function that attaches and supports your material, which could be anything from a reclaimed door, to an old window, to a slab of marble (if you've got it). We're enabling people to take creative ownership of their furniture without needing a woodshop or special building expertise.
A couple of years ago, when I was living in Chicago, I moved several times and was living a nomadic lifestyle. I found myself stuck in a repetitive cycle of purchasing low-quality furniture, and then having to dispose of it, or deal with Craigslist. I didn't have access to a woodshop at the time, but I wanted a way that I could create a table that would be easy to put together. It was something that I did for myself, but people really liked it, so I thought maybe I should run with the idea.
How is the Floyd Leg constructed?
It's laser cut, formed, welded and powder coated. It's interesting because my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father were all metal workers (and named Floyd). Even my mom worked in the steel mill, that's actually where my parents met.
And you guys are manufacturing the Floyd Leg in Detroit?
Yep! The leg starts at a sheet metal fabricator, then it's welded and powder coated at a different facility in Detroit. I initially moved to Detroit to help launch in a place-based incubator in Corktown called Practice Space.
What made you decide to use Kickstarter?
Well the great thing about Kickstarter is that you can really test the market. We knew that we loved the Floyd leg, and my friends loved it, but we wanted a way to test if the general public liked it as well. We wanted to actually set the price at something sustainable long-term and see if people would purchase it.
You guys have certainly proved the market, and that's being modest. What have the past 30 days felt like?
It's been incredible. We were hoping for $18,000, and we setup production at that capacity. We just crossed $200,000 and are going to be building 4,000 legs instead of 400. We were a little nervous at first that we wouldn't be able to produce at that level, but fortunately our suppliers are capable of scaling to that capacity and are excited to do it.
So you're pretty confident that you can still hit your deadline?
Yeah, we actually went ahead and started production. We just paid the initial fees to start manufacturing these as soon as possible, before we even received the funds from Kickstarter, to make sure we stick to our deadlines.
We promised that our backers would receive their legs in April, and I'm confident that they'll receive their legs by then. It's great having our manufacturers right down the road. I can head over there anytime if I need to.
So what's next for you guys?
I think it can be pretty tricky to transition from a Kickstarter. Fortunately, we have a few more ideas for some other projects that you can certainly look forward to. Simplicity is important to us and will remain at the center of what we do moving forward.
We also received some great feedback from our backers and are making a few minor changes to the final design. For example, the surface area of the pad that connects to the tabletop is increasing dramatically in the final product, so it will be more stable and more effective.
So what does it take to make a successful Kickstarter campaign?
Ha, if you asked us 3 weeks ago, we had no idea if what we were doing was going to work. Reflecting on our Kickstarter, throughout the experience, we were really passionate about reaching out to our community. We wanted to create an experience in real life that would transition really well online.
The other thing is that I think some Kickstarters can get really gimmicky. We didn't want to do that, we didn't want to go for the hard sell. We wanted to be genuine, honest and up front with people. Alex did an incredible job with the video, the catalog and all the design work.
How many have you sold so far?
Well, we have about 1,000 backers, so probably about 4,000 legs. We're shipping them all over the world. I've actually been spending most of my time working on figuring out the international shipping and logistics. It's so exciting to be getting messages from all over talking about how excited they are to get their set of Floyd Legs.