How did the crowd funding platform become the shopping destination for things like artisanal wrapping paper and bras with built-in iPhone pockets?
People love to hate on home-shopping shows -- after all, who in their right mind tunes in to QVC to buy this John Lennon-inspired sterling-silver "Imagine" ring for two easy payments of $27.00? What kind of sad lonely person would do that? Yet these shows continue to exist, so presumably they make money. Presumably these vendors tap into a deep emotional need for connection and self-expression. Presumably these absurd products reflect the values and desires of a group of home shoppers -- old people who still own TVs, of course, not digitally savvy hipsters with good taste in stuff.
Browsing Kickstarter, however, it seems we have a new wave of aspiring entrepreneurs making a play for the aspirational clicks of the Internet's early adopters, tastemakers, and Twitterati. These consumers would never be caught dead buying kitsch from QVC, but they've poured millions of dollars into bespoke design objects and high tech accessories. But they're not passive consumers -- they're backers, funding fledgling creative ventures of all kinds. Because each Kickstarter project begins with a pitch video (already spoofed in Portlandia), surfing the site becomes a hybrid process of watching and shopping, essentially the same mechanism at work in home shopping television. The buy-in might be more rewarding, in the sense that one can participate in making a creative project happen, rather than simply purchasing a novelty item, but increasingly, the most-funded projects on Kickstarter are precisely those that pre-sell physical products (in the categories of games, design, and technology, according to The New York Times).