Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — One week into its 30-day campaign, Saint Harridan announced that it has successfully reached its $87,000 fundraising goal using crowd-funding site Kickstarter.com. The start-up company will be the first to market ready-to-wear traditional men’s suits designed specifically to fit masculine-leaning women and transmen, many of whom identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender.
The Oakland, California-based company will use the proceeds from its first round of fundraising for an inaugural production-run of at least 100 suits. The initial response has been enthusiastic, with over 300 backers pledging $40,000 within 24-hours of the campaign’s launch.
Saint Harridan was founded by Mary Going in 2012 to revolutionize the experience of masculine-leaning women and transmen who long to wear quality men’s-styled clothing and accessories. “But not custom made,” Going says, “That’s not how we typically buy clothes. We walk into a store or click on a website, buy stuff and wear it. That’s what I want to provide.”
Going began discussing her idea earlier this year. “I figured I needed to draw a big enough crowd of people who could say ‘yes’ to this business before I just launched into a crowd-funding campaign. I also wanted their feedback and ideas as I went along.” Word spread quickly among those who have felt the lack of access to this type of clothing. The Saint Harridan Facebook page went from zero to almost 4000 followers in just five months, and over 2500 people subscribed to the email list. The company had only spent $388 on advertising.
Going reports that fans are attracted to Saint Harridan for different reasons. She says that some customers are interested in work attire, some want a suit for regular special occasions, and that with the shifting marriage laws some will be looking to Saint Harridan for their wedding suits. "But," Going adds, "the most inspiring stories are coming from young people whose parents won't let them dress in a way that feels right for them. They see us as a beacon of hope for their future."
The moment of truth for Going and Saint Harridan came on November 27 when they launched the 30-day crowd-funding campaign. Going and her advisors set the minimum goal for the campaign at $87,000 – the amount they need to produce an initial run of 100 suits. “When we launched our Kickstarter campaign, I was nervous and excited. I knew we had a big following, but I didn’t know if they would pull out their wallets for a $600 suit. And, you know, the Kickstarter rules are clear – we have to raise all of the money or we don’t get any of it.”
Although the fund-raising campaign has just started, the response is a clear signal to Going and her backers that they have identified a unique and under-served market. "I am honored and humbled by such a huge response to this campaign” says Going. “I’m ready to get started making these suits!” The Kickstarter campaign will continue until 9pm PST on December 27.
Mr. Mary Going