The Afterlife of a Kickstarter Project

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Outgrow.me is an online catalog of successfully crowdfunded products.

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Outgrow.me

Many of the products on Kickstarter live their lives in the conditional tense. "This would be cool," we say to ourselves when we see an especially nifty gadget being pitched on the site. "Oh, wow, that could be awesome."

But what happens when funded projects make their move from potential to actual? Where do you go to explore -- and maybe buy -- the Kickstarter projects that have actually been kickstarted?

Here's one spot: Outgrow.me, a digital marketplace for projects that were successfully funded on both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. The site sorts its contents by "Orderable" and "Pre-orderable," as well as by topic and price. And it's "fine proof," The Next Web puts it, "that the Kickstarter concept does work despite the (admittedly warranted) pessimistic coverage of crowdfunded failures."

Some of the products you can purchase right now include: CableKeeps, which store Apple power chargers and USB cables in one unit; California Headphones, with die-cast design and "insane" sound quality; Gentleman's Fashion Adhesive, for dudes' collars, pocket squares, and whatnot; the Joey Bra, with its built-in storage pocket, for the ladies; and the stackable soap that I got excited about earlier this year.

On the one hand, Outgrow.me is both simple and inevitable: It's a catalog fit for the Kickstarter era. It sells, like any standard catalog does, knickknacks of varying value and utility -- some junky, some fantastic, some junky and fantastic at the same time. What's interesting about it, though, is that Outgrow.me is as much about selling a production process as it is about selling products. Its hook, and its commercial logic, leverage the way its wares came into being -- through crowdfunding, and through the particular brand of community-focused commercialism that Kickstarter and Indiegogo represent. Outgrow.me, in that sense, acknowledges what every user of Kickstarter already knows: that when you fund, or buy, a Sonastand for your phone, or an Airslab for your laptop, or a Freaker koozie for your beer ... you're not just buying a thing. You're buying into a thing. 

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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