Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

PICKLING WITH A PURPOSE: “We think outside of the jar through our innovative and sustainable methods,” reads Green River Picklers' website. The company's triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) approach to business includes efforts like locally sourcing ingredients, zero-waste initiatives, composting and recycling, a jar return program, living wage certification, community outreach and a focus on continual improvement of eco-friendly production. “From the bottom of our hearts and pickle jars, we thank you.” Still frame from campaign video

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup 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.

Green River Picklers’ expansion

“At Green River Picklers, we’re preserving more than just pickles products,” says founder Beau Martin. “We’re preserving the traditions passed down from generations before us. We’re preserving our local farmers and their livelihoods. We’re preserving our community.” Martin’s pickling ethos calls for fresh, local, simple ingredients and a commitment to ethical and sustainable production — a formula that’s proved successful for him and his business partner Brandi Morrow thus far. Although the company started humbly, operating out of small, shared spaces — “It was not easy, and everything we owned smelled of pickles,” recalls Morrow — steadily increasing demand means the couple is poised for a major expansion. Martin and Morrow aim to raise $20,000 by Thursday, May 21, to purchase better equipment, complete kitchen renovations, expand their regional distribution and take the first steps toward operating off the grid. Stretch goals above that amount would help Green River Picklers complete its forthcoming tasting room, expand its kitchen, purchase only local and seasonal produce, hold classes, hire full-time employees and complete the conversion to an employee-owned model. Pickle that!

Clyde’s on Fire studio album

“We need songs to bring the show to the world,” says Aubrey Cohen, singer in local band Clyde’s on Fire. She and fellow musicians Taylor Swan and Justin Eisenman have a busy 2015 planned already, with two upcoming tours in the Northeast and the United Kingdom. Cohen says the group has a discounted opportunity to work on “20 juicy new songs” at a Nashville studio over three weeks. “Your contribution to this project is paramount in helping us spread our music around the country … and paying for gas,” she says on the campaign page for the jazzy roots band’s debut full-length record. Clyde’s on Fire — who will play Altamont Brewing Company on Saturday, May 23, at 8 p.m. — aims to raise $1,500 by Thursday, May 14, to fund the Nashville-bound road trip and pay for studio time. The band is also campaigning to raise $4,000 for a tour van by Wednesday, May 20.

“Rupert ‘n’ Riley” digital game

Rupert and Riley, a cat and dog, respectively, star in the digital, interactive children’s game “Rupert ‘n’ Riley: Shipwrecked,” created by Waynesville-based game designer Charlene Singleton. “The duo find themselves stranded,” explains the project’s lead artist Sam Kuszynski in the game’s campaign video, “and they’re going to have to work together to get out of this adventure.” Kuszynski says the two dimensional, scrollable game’s attributes include its aesthetics, user-friendliness, compelling storyline and compatibility with desktop and mobile platforms. His team aims to raise $2,500 by Friday, May 22, to complete development and launch “Rupert ‘n’ Riley.”

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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