Sometimes all it takes is a single tweet or blog post to push a business to reach its goals. That’s what happened in the case of Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends.
The line of flour is the brainchild of Shauna Ahern, who has also been running the Gluten-Free Girl blog since 2005. Ahern and her husband started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the flour line’s launch.
Here’s the video outlining their campaign:
Gluten-free flour certainly isn’t the most exciting subject for a crowdfunding campaign. But Ahern was able to reach her $79,000 goal anyway. And it wasn’t due to flashy ads or an incredibly revolutionary product.
Actress and writer Lena Dunham tweeted about the campaign a couple of days before the goal was reached. Her tweet, which also included a link to the campaign, said:
Been reading @glutenfreegirl for almost a decade: it’s about more than food. Not even gluten free & I cherish her https://t.co/06vew8i4Rc
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 23, 2014
Dunham’s 1.8 million followers likely played a part in the campaign’s success. But the product has actually been in high demand for longer than the crowdfunding campaign has been in existence.
Though Ahern shared the recipe for gluten-free flour on her blog, readers didn’t much care for the idea of hunting down sorghum flour, millet flour, sweet rice flour and potato starch to make their own. So instead, they would ask Ahern if she would sell it. Finally, she decided to give it a try.
So Ahern’s innovation, along with her dedicated following, worked in tandem to help her reach her goals. Dunham’s tweet was one part of the puzzle. But that never would have happened had Ahern not worked so hard on building a blog following for so many years.
Upon its completion, the campaign actually raised $92,612, which surpassed the original goal by more than $13,000. And Ahern isn’t stopping with just flour. With some additional funding, she also plans to make a grain-free flour blend and other food products. She told Businessweek:
“This feels much bigger than writing a blog or a cookbook. We’d like to get this into the hands of anyone who is gluten-free and anyone who has friends or family who eat gluten-free.
Image: Glutten-Free Girl
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I think that this is a good product to sell these days when people are starting to get more conscious about the things they eat.
People definitely seem to be getting more conscious about the things they eat. You can see it in the growing number of gluten free products like this one.
Good for her! I love it when fundraising campaigns go well (well, a lot of them, not all).
haha yes. It is nice when you see a good project get funded successfully. It seems like this is something that will be beneficial for a lot of people.
She’s late on sending the rewards, and the boxes are tiny. People will defintely be feeling ripped off.
Yeah, she’s months behind on delivery…hasn’t even managed to publish the names of her backers to her website, yet, and all that would take is some cut and paste. People who ask where their flour is get a very snotty “We’re terribly busy, you have NO idea how hard this has been for us” message. She’s mailing BOXES of flour in ENVELOPES and then blaming the USPS when the boxes arrive badly damaged. She’s gone back on her promise to produce a grain-free flour blend with almond flour because, as it turns out (and she would have known had she done ANY preparation for launching this “business”) almond flour is really expensive. This kickstarter was a nightmare that never should have been funded. If you were expecting flour, or cookies, or recipes, stop holding your breath. They aren’t coming.
It’s now well over a year since this Kickstarter campaign ended and the business appears to be dead in the water. All-purpose gluten-free flour blends have been available in supermarkets all over the country for some time now, most for less money than the Aherns’ flour. Their flour is not sold in any stores other than the grocery store in their small town and Amazon does not list it. You can buy it only directly from them and their shipping costs make it 4-5 times more than the price of mixing a batch of it yourself. Maybe some people are willing to pay 4-5 times more to save the 3 minutes or so that it takes to mix it, but I’ll wager most are not.
Now they’re sitting on nearly 8,000 lbs of flour that is over a year old and the Kickstarter money is gone. This could have been worth the investment if it was done five years ago before the explosion of other brands on the market, and/or if it had been run by people with more of a business sense than these two. Sad.