Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Not only would a brick-and-mortar location allow Smash Box Mobile Kitchen owners Ashley and Nestor Teran to serve more customers and grow their events business, but it would also accommodate an expansion of their Latin-inspired menu to include more complex dishes. Photo from the Terans' crowdfunding page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Smash Box brick-and-mortar

“We want to provide that kid-friendly, beer-serving, dog-lovin’ atmosphere that is so integral to the Asheville we fell in love with four years ago,” says Smash Box Mobile Kitchen and Smash Events co-owner Ashley Teran, fantasizing about launching a brick-and-mortar operation. “We want live music, brunch on the weekends, the whole nine.” For Teran and her husband and business partner Nestor Teran, expansion out of a mobile kitchen is critical, because it’s not just one-off meals they’re serving from bars and parking lots. In just two years of operation, the couple has ventured into event coordination, floral arrangements, design services and event catering. “We simply cannot continue to grow using our little 12-foot truck as our sole kitchen,” Ashley reports. “We need a home base for our floral and design side as well. Smash Events needs a home.” The duo aim to raise $15,000 to procure a brick-and-mortar location. Later, they’ll launch another campaign to cover permitting fees, renovations, signage and equipment.

In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, Smash Box Mobile Kitchen will be holding fundraising events at two locations on Monday, July 6: “The Lot” at 51 Coxe Ave., from noon to 2:30 p.m., then they’ll stop by Altamont Brewing Company in West Asheville, from 5-9 p.m.

Nepal resilience project

“The situation in Nepal is dire,” writes Ashevillean Luke Trotman on his crowdfunding page. “Although the media has turned its attention elsewhere, the Nepali people are still suffering from the devastation wrought by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal on April 25, and the subsequent aftershocks.” Rather than sending monetary relief through an existing organization, Trotman and project partner Justin Hall will travel to Nepal in October to provide “a real and lasting solution for those who have lost their homes.” Earthbag domes — structures created with bags of soil or feed and barbed wire, which are later finished with plaster walls — provide a resilient and easy-to-learn infrastructure solution, they say. Trotman and Hall aim to raise $20,000 to direct the building of four domes costing about $5,000 each. They’ll employ Nepali workers to ensure that the dome building know-how is passed on to other locals in need.

Photo of an earthbag building effort from the Nepal Resilience Project's campaign page
Photo of an Earthbag building effort from the Nepal Resilience Project’s campaign page

The Village Potters’ Kazegama wind kiln

Our goal, explains Lori Theriault of The Village Potters, “is to build a Kazegama wood-influenced kiln, which will become a part of our expanded Teaching Center’s new Independent Study and Mentoring program, as well as a part of the kilns we offer to our ongoing students and growing clay community.” The special contraption utilizes the ash from burning wood to produce “mystifying and unexpected beautiful trails” across fired items, Theriault’s team explains, and its inventor has agreed to help the artists erect their own. “We’re going to build this sweet little kiln on a trailer,” fellow potter Sarah Rolland says. “It’s going to be a wonderful tool to teach wood-firing, to get beautiful wood effects on pots, and it will be available for us to travel and teach even further than our own community.” The Village Potters aim to raise $14,000 by Thursday, July 9, to buy brick, metal and burners for the kiln as well as to develop the curriculum for two community lessons surrounding the new equipment.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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