Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Personal trainer Teah Boswell is known for hauling clients to unorthodox locations for workouts, including the occasional trip to The Wedge, pictured. Now, the fitness enthusiast hopes to set up her own permanent indoor space for cycling training.

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.

An indoor studio for Well.Fit Asheville

For several years, personal trainer Teah Boswell has been leading urban boot camps in nontraditional settings. “From the River Arts District to downtown Pack Square to Carrier Park, we have been using every inch of Asheville to keep people moving, exercising and sweating,” she says. But now Boswell is poised to permanently occupy her own little corner of the city. Well.Fit Asheville, a family-run boutique indoor cycling studio, is set to open in the Five Points neighborhood by the end of the year, according to Boswell. Work outs will include indoor cycling and cardio dance parties on bikes, TRX suspension classes, boot camp-style circuit strength training classes and bike race training. “For four years, I’ve been telling my clients ‘I’m going to open a cycling studio,’ and now it’s finally happening,” she says. Boswell aims to raise $20,000 by Monday, Nov. 23, for mirrors, athletic flooring, sound insulation materials and other equipment.

Plays in Mud Pottery’s expansion

My passion for clay started when I was 11,” says UNCA graduate and local potter Kelsey Schissel in her crowdfunding video. “My dad took me to a craft show, and I got to touch clay for the first time. That was it. I was hooked.” Since then, Schissel has built her Plays in Mud Pottery brand by working from several different studio spaces, becoming an active member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and earning a handful of wholesale accounts around Asheville. She’s currently pursuing small business classes at A-B Tech and Hawood Community College. “Ultimately I want my pottery to be in galleries across the nation,” she says. “I want to be a nationally recognized ceramic artist.” Schissel has a chance to approach that goal by participating in the American Made wholesale trade show, which would see a multitude of potential buyers browsing her artwork. The ambitious potter aims to raise $10,892 by Thursday, Nov. 26, to fund her participation at the industry event, purchase an additional kiln, expand her studio in West Asheville and cover her crowdfunding expenses.

Record Prophets’ debut album

“We’re going to make a record called ‘From the Ground Up,’ and we’re calling it that, because that’s how we’re doing it,” says musician Ryan “Slim” Dixon of his band’s forthcoming debut album. It’s a grassroots project that began to unfold upon his arrival in Western North Carolina several years ago. “Most of the tunes were provided immediately by these mountains,” he continues, calling the geographic features “conspirators with anyone willing to listen,” on his campaign page. Dixon says the indie rock project hinges around a message of love, compassion and a shifting collective consciousness. “This revolution, or evolution, is a movement to unite the good forces on our planet,” he says, “and Record Prophets wants to provide the music we can dance to as we go about changing the way we live and interact with each other and our Mother Earth.” The band aims to raise $2,500 by Thursday, Nov. 26, to “speak these truths into a proper microphone” while recording at Landslide Studios in Asheville.

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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