What's Up Wednesday

Zen’s Kitchen

oct-5A few years ago, Zen and his fiancé Polly had a dream. They wanted to serve food from all around the world to the people of New Zealand, and they wanted it to be organic, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable. So they packed up all their things, moved to Murchison, and Zen’s Kitchen was born.

They’ve been delighting the Murchison markets with international fare for a while now – but now Zen wants to step things up, and provide alternative food options and catering to the people at the top of the South Island. He has already spent 12 weeks and a lot of his own money developing the caravan, but he needs your help to take it to the next level. Zen and Polly have a wealth of experience between them – originally hailing from the Czech Republic, Zen has worked at five star hotels in Edinburgh and spent several years working here in NZ at Commonsense Organics, and Polly has a background as a vegan baker. The two are determined to translate this wealth of food knowledge into wonderful offerings for the people of Polly’s hometown.

We loved the picture this campaign painted, so we got in touch with Zen to hear a little more about it.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

The campaign has been great so far.. Its only been running for about 5 days and we’ve raised over $2000 dollars.. There has been awesome supportive, inspirantional feedback from our friends and strangers. It’s amazing to see the power of sharing and reaching people who love our project and want to eat our food.. Because FOOD MATTERS BIG TIME!!!

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign?

I am working on the caravan while the campaign is running to get as close to finishing it as possible.. I am currently building the kitchen cabinets, draws and benches. I will install the kitchen sink and once all that is done, the rest of the commercial floor vinyl will be laid. I will instal the kitchen stove and one of the fridges and do some of the finishing touches.
By that time the pledge me campaign should be finished and we shall do the rest of the work to finish it off.. In between I will be working on our web site plus keeping our followers updated with photos from the building progress. So keep an eye on this because you guys gonna like it!! I’m considering printing off some mean Organic cotton teeshirt with our logos on it as another reward option..

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

I wanna give massive thank’s to our pledgers and sharers for supporting us and believing in what we do!! It’s so good to know that there are people out there who are about “REAL FOOD” which is what we wanna provide.. I believe that I won’t disappoint you and I will make sure that you are going to be a happy customer..:o) Ciao for now and see you soon!!!!

To help Zen’s Kitchen become a reality, pledge to the campaign right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Sophie Feels Big!


Ever found it hard to explain the concept of feelings and virtues to your kids? An apple or a ball you can point to, but the abstract concept of “disappointment” is a little trickier. That’s why last year, Adam came up with the idea for “Jack Feels Big”, a picture book to give kids the tools to talk about their feelings. And it’s why he’s back this year, with a new volume for a new character: Sophie.

Adam wanted to create stories for Sophie so that young female readers would find the books easier to identify with. The feelings Sophie will feel in each book are voted on and selected by pledgers to the campaign – so this is your chance to help determine how a book gets written!

More than that, Adam has been matching pledges with donations to Duffy Books in Schools and releasing illustrations as he goes. The stories Adam tells are sweet and sincere, and his illustrator Matt Haworth is a real talent. We wanted to find out more about why they’re back for more, so we got in touch with Adam to hear about the campaign:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Actually really hard. I haven’t been tracking well against my expectations for funding milestones. We’ve passed 10%, so I ran a poll asking backers to choose one of the feelings to feature in Sophie Feels Big. They picked disappointed. I’m really happy with that, since I think it’s an important word for kids to have in their vocabulary. But it also sums up how I’m feeling.

I’m asking myself a lot of questions. Should I have waited to build more of a crowd? Should I have waited to prepare more content for during the campaign? Have I made things too complicated with the re-cast + new stories? Did I set too high a goal trying to get both of those books in one campaign? Is what I’m making even good?

In all this, I’m being persistent (another word taught in the books) and I keep on promoting. I took a drive down to New Plymouth and visited six primary schools and ECE centres. A journalist who wrote about the first book wrote an article for this campaign on Stuff.

One thing that I’ve done that was really worthwhile was send emails or facebook messages to people when I see them pledge. This is easiest with friends and family, but there’s also people whose names I recognise from my mailing lists. As well as being a genuine expression of my gratitude, it’s also a marketing thing, but I discovered an extra reason why it’s worthwhile. Someone I’ve never met, who won a copy in a promo, replied to my thank you email, saying “We’ve loved our copy of Jack Feels Big and yesterday I found it hidden in my son’s secret lair so he must have chosen to read it to himself!”. At a time when I’ve got a lot of self-doubt going on, that was a much needed ray of sunshine. I know that the value of the first book was worth the work and worry of the first campaign. I can stick it out and make these books happen too.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign? Anything for us to look forward to?

Even though I’m not where I wanted to be, I know that the first time I crowdfunded I spent a lot of the campaign despairing and not knowing where I’d find more backers too. So now, like then, I’ll just keep trying whatever I can. I had a teacher ask about a recording of the stories from the first book being read, for use with her special-needs kids. That’s something I can probably do this weekend in one form or another. I’ll take any opportunity I can to share the campaign, and with some help from Kiwis who think that teaching kids the names for their feelings is important, I think we can get there.


Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

Part of me dreams of someone helping me make a connection to a morning TV program or a parenting blog. But I think the reality with crowdfunding is that those sorts of broadcast aren’t what gets you there. It’s the individual, personal, word of mouth referrals and pledges. If you know someone who has kids with feelings, please tell them about this book 🙂

To help Sophie Feel Big, head on over to the campaign here and get pledging!

What's Up Wednesday

The Wanaka Bag


By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Every year, we are each (on average) responsible for 350 plastic bags, which are each used for a total of about 12 minutes before being thrown away to end up in a landfill. The group at Plastic Bag Free Wanaka were sick of seeing plastic pollution clogging up their town – so they decided to do something about it.

And so, they created The Wanaka Bag, a limited edition, eco-friendly and super-trendy handmade bag. Each one is unique, and hand-crafted by dedicated locals, who want to see Wanaka free of single-use plastic bags by 2019. With the funds raised from this first run of limited-edition bags, they can fund 1000 more Wanaka Bags to be produced commercially, and sold to stop the people of Wanaka creating more plastic pollution.

They’ve already shot past their $5,500 dollar target, but you’ve still got 19 days to get on board and support a future free of plastic pollution.

We loved not only the innovation of this team, but also their enthusiasm – and so we got in touch with Anna from the team to hear more about it:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We knew our town would be supportive but we’re totally blown away by the support so far. We’ve even had folks from far and wide who share our love of Lake Wanaka and who have pledged. It’s very cool to think of them sporting one of our bags/bottles/karma cups on the other side of the world.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign? Anything for us to look forward to?

Creating 200 really high-quality bags has been a huge project in itself and keeping the town spirits up, the incentives high and the ball rolling has been a project in itself. Admittedly however, we didn’t expect the bags to get snaffled up quite so quickly so we’re currently conspiring amongst our committee to see what else we can offer to our amazing community so those that missed out on a bag don’t feel left out. We want everyone who wants to support to have a way to wave the banner.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

As cheeseballs as it sounds, we just want to do a shout out to our town and community. We’re in a really unique environment and position, with a town so full of community-minded, pro-active and positive people. We get that not every town is like this, and we’re incredibly grateful for the wonderful locals who have jumped right in behind us to sew, support, sneak in and clean our sewing spaces, offer fabrics and food to share. You name it! No one has missed a beat! It’s one of those happy-glow moments where you can only revel in the warmth of the moment. Thank you Wanaka! The joy of bringing this opportunity is hugely amplified by having so much encouragement and support!

To provide even more encouragement and support, head over to Plastic Bag Free Wanaka’s campaign and get pledging while you still can!

What's Up Wednesday

The Misprint Co.

Sept 7

Back in design school, Kareena and Jenny were just two students creating good-looking notebooks for a university project. But then they began to notice how much paper their creations were using up. After some research, they discovered that it takes 10 litres of water to create just on A4 piece of paper – and they wanted to do something about that.

So they founded The Misprint Co, a Wellington company that offers paper repurposing services to local schools and businesses. These organisations provide the paper, and the Misprint moguls turn it into beautiful custom-made notebooks, which they then sell back to the organisations. To date, they have repurposed 61,169 sheets of paper – which amounts to 611,690 litres of water saved.

The Misprint Co. is growing already. They’ve been through both Lightning Lab Manufacturing and the Low Carbon Challenge, and now they want to take their business to the next level. They’re expanding their office, their reach, and their team (they need more than 2 people to get it all done!) And so, they’re turning to you to make it happen.

Kareena and Jenny are looking to raise $20k with their campaign, $15k of which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Wellington City Council, thanks to their success in the Low Carbon Challenge. They’re already over half of the way there, but they need their crowd to get behind them – so we had a chat to Jenny about why you should be getting involved in this campaign.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

The campaign is going really well so far! We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support and generosity we have received from our crowd. We are super stoked to have made it over half way in just under two weeks. What really helped us was our launch party, which really kicked things off.

We’ve found we have had a lot of engagement through our social media. All our big supports such as Wellington City Council, Flick Electric, Creative HQ and The Low Carbon Challenge (the list goes on) and even Justin Lester who’s running for mayor have tweeted about us and shared our campaign! With 11 days left in the campaign there is still time for us to reach our target. But at the same time it’s quite nerve racking.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We have a few things up our sleeves. We will be launching a new reward in our last week, I won’t say what it is but it will definitely be interactive. We are also planning some new marketing, potentially in a guerrilla form. Keep your eyes peeled for fun things happening.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

We would love to say a massive THANK YOU! Everyone has been super supportive and are really backing us for our crowdfund to be successful. A big shout out to our current clients too who are ordering their next round of notebooks through our campaign. We are forever grateful to those who have pledged and shared our campaign so far. Our crowd is amazing!

To find out more about The Misprint Co. and help these paper people reach their goal, check out their rad campaign right here.

What's Up Wednesday


Aug 24

For more than six million people around the world, daily communication is a struggle. Due to severe physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or motor-neuron disease, these people (who often have sound, healthy minds) cannot move or speak, and must rely on complex and convoluted methods in order to express themselves to their carers and families.

The team behind Thought-Wired decided that given the technology available today, that simply wasn’t good enough. And so they dedicated themselves to creating nous™: a brain-sensing technology that detects the user’s thought patterns and turns them into actions. By selecting words and images on a computer screen, people can communicate with those around them – and as the technology develops, the possibilities for how much more control they could have are endless.

Thought-Wired have successfully created and trialled a prototype of the software – now they want to take it to the market. That’s why they’re equity crowdfunding: they’re reaching out to their crowd to gain the funds they need to take their business to the next level, and improve the quality of life for their customers. Their campaign has only been open for a week and they’ve already raised well over half their minimum goal – so to find out more about why you should be getting on board, we had a chat to Founder and CEO Dmitry Selitskiy.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We’re positively overwhelmed by the response and the support. We knew we had fans and interested investors alike, but running out of the gate like we did in the first 36 hours was a fantastic surprise. Now we’re about to cross the 2/3 of minimum target mark, and are already past 1/3 to maximum within the first week!
On top of that, there’s so much more activity happening surrounding the campaign besides direct participation of investors: new connections, new opportunities, and a continious stream of energy and support. It’s very humbling and encouraging!

What have you got planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Our campaign launch event was a wild success but unfortunately not everyone could make it. We’re busy thinking up ways of how to get more people to experience the nous™ tech, meet us, ask questions and provide feedback. Stay tuned for announcements!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Just the biggest Thank You! We could not get here without your ongoing support and encouragement. Together we can really change the world!

P.S. just in case you have not seen it still, check us out on last week’s Seven Sharp!

To find out more about Thought-Wired and help change the lives of disabled people worldwide, check out their campaign right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Cult Wine

Aug 17

Looking for a wine that will rock your world? We have the campaign for you.

Back in early 2015, Jules van Costello and Asher Boote had just founded Hillside Kitchen & Cellar in the heart of Wellington. Thanks to its creative European-style cuisine and its enticing wine list, this restaurant quickly became a favourite among Wellingtonians, and earned accolades from the likes of the Dominion Post and Cuisine Magazine. But Jules and Asher noticed something else, too: as their restaurant grew in popularity, so too did the demand for the kinds of wines they championed: wines with “character, personality and integrity”. So often, those wines were only available to buy from their little outlet in Thorndon – but they were determined to change this.

So they came up with the idea for Cult Wine, a subscription-based service offering some of the best wines available in NZ. Each month, subscribers will receive 6 bottles of wine to try, chosen not only to reflect the season but also, with three tiers of membership available, chosen to reflect their budget.

Clearly, this is something kiwis are keen to get behind. Don’t believe us? Check out Cult Wine’s campaign page, where they’ve already more than quintupled their campaign goal! We had to hear more about this roaring success, so we got in touch with Jules himself:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Amazing, we are thrilled by the support. It’s always tough to gauge a new market when launching a new business but the support we’ve had already is telling us there is a real desire for the kinds of wines we are going to be offering.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign? Anything for us to look forward to?

Wellington on Plate is underway, so I’m going to be at Hillside pouring wine quite a lot over the next few weeks. Likewise we were also at the NZ Chocolate Festival pouring some amazing wines to match with Chocolate on Friday and Saturday last week.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Thank you! Thanks for all your support and thanks for sharing the message. Remember, you’re not just supporting us but you are supporting all of the small producers we buy from!

To share the message more and get a subscription while you still have the chance, check out Cult Wine’s campaign page here.

What's Up Wednesday

Wise Boys Burgers

Aug 10

9 months ago, the team at Wise Boys Burgers had a dream: to create the nation’s first fully plant-based food joint. Armed with nothing but that dream, some meagre savings and a whole lot of gumption, they worked tirelessly to build a trailer, and took their burgers to the people.

And the people loved them! Customers went mad for these meatless burgers, and their food truck was praised loudly by everyone from Heart of the City to Urban List. But as they’ve grown more popular, they’re struggling to keep up with demand – and so they want to expand, so that more people can enjoy their wonderful burgers.

This is why they’re turning to PledgeMe. In order to do things properly, they need to refit their entire trailer. They’re putting up half that cost, but they need the help of their crowd to get them the rest of the way. They’re offering some phenomenal rewards, including a date with the Wise Boys team, a jar of their amazing aioli, or even a chance to name their new truck!

We wanted to hear more about their planned revolution, so we got in touch with the brilliant Beka, the girl behind Wise Boys!

How are you finding the campaign so far?

It’s been rad! We’ve had a tonne of verbal support and it’s cool to see that translate into a tangible thing. On the first day someone bought one of our higher value rewards to win the rights to naming our trailer, which got us pretty hyped about the whole thing! It’s also quite nerve-wracking though, because you’re putting yourself out there and just hoping that you’ve communicated well and that people get it, and are up for supporting you.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We have a few more rewards that we’re going to launch! And then of course you can look forward to coming and getting a burger from our pimped out trailer once we’re done!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

On our last night hundreds of you guys stood in the rain waiting for our burgers, which just reinforced why we’re doing this whole thing. Thanks for being part of the food revolution, thanks for your kind words, thanks for eating our burgers, thanks for telling your friends. Let’s keep making this thing a whole lot bigger than just us!

To find out more about Wise Boys and make burgers not war, head over to their campaign page (or check them out on Instagram!)


What's Up Wednesday

The Spinoff’s War for Auckland

Aug 3

The Spinoff has been delighting us with smart news stories since it was launched in 2014. Offering an alternative take on traditional media coverage, they’ve discussed everything from Radio Hauraki’s mispronunciation to women’s position in Gloriavale. And now, they’re once again turning their focus to something that should concern us all: the future of Auckland.

The team at the Spinoff believe the upcoming elections and Unitary Plan are “the most important political events in Auckland in decades.” And they’re concerned traditional media will become bogged down in the worries of NIMBYs and fail to do these stories justice. They want to step up and frame the election as the crucial event it is – but to do so, they need your help.

And so many of you have provided help already! Less than two days after their campaign launch, the Spinoff had already doubled their target. With over 300 pledgers, they’ve now passed $23,000 – but they’re hoping to get even further. If they raise $25,000 they can create more noise, and add more fulltime staff to cover the stories. With awards ranging from bespoke tweets to exclusive advertising rights, there’s no reason not to get on board – but we got in touch with editor Duncan Greive to hear even more reasons why you should.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Overwhelming. We were initially debating whether to go for $5000 or $10,000, and only put in the stretch goal at the last minute, almost as an afterthought. Not because we didn’t have a thousand great ideas on which to spend the money – but because we’d never asked before, and had no idea how our audience would respond. So to have so many people join the War so quickly, and be so passionate about it – it’s humbling and almost intimidating. We’ve talked a big game, and are determined to deliver.

What have you got planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We’ve already hired economist Shamubeel Eaqub part-time through the election to do analysis and fact-checking – his ‘Shamubeel calls Bullshit’ series is going to be a good time. We’ve commissioned a piece of web development which we’re really excited about. And there’s a collaboration between an incredible illustrator and feature writer which we think will frame the issue in a quite stark way. And a tonne more. But I really don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

Just that we love them, and have felt both the excitement and the sadness coming off them since we launched. This was really about trying to cover this incredibly important moment in a way which reflected the voices which have too often been shut out of this debate. We’ve heard a lot from people who might have a terraced house go up next to their property while also having the land further escalate in value. I’m not nearly so concerned for them as for those we haven;t heard from – the generations of young and less well-off who have been locked out due to the excessive amount of concern for the first group. We’ve been delivered a very good Unitary Plan. Now we want to watch to make sure it passes relatively unravaged.

If you’re passionate about the future of Auckland and want to see the Unitary Plan go unravaged, head over to The Spinoff’s campaign page and support them here.

What's Up Wednesday

Sonny Southon’s Third Album

Jul 27


This singer/songwriter grew up in Upper Hutt – but her quest to sing has taken her much further. In her ventures overseas, Sonny sang for everyone from Sir Bob Geldof to Duran Duran, before signing a contract to take her talent solo. Now she’s striking out on her own once again – and this time, she’s inviting you along for the ride!

After two critically acclaimed solo albums and two self-funded singles to raise money for charity, Sonny is looking to fund her third album. In order to raise the funds she needs to get there, she’s offering her crowd awesome rewards like singing lessons, lunch dates, and even a full concert via skype. We caught up with Sonny to find out a bit more about her campaign.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Great. Very happy with how PledgeMe is helping me promote and get it out there.  It’s an awesome opportunity to get help to record this album.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

I had a gig last Sunday @ Days Bay Pavilion in Eastbourne.  A nice acoustic set with a log fire and great pizza. Other gigs and events are updated on my website.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

Just a massive thank you to every who has donated.  Having fans who want to hear my music inspires me to keep going.

What's Up Wednesday

Kink: A Portrait Exhibition

Jun 29

Antony Kitchener is no stranger to unique photography subjects. He has documented everything from the struggle of the homeless and marginalised at Wellington’s Compassion Centre Soup Kitchen, to the Clown Doctors at the Wellington Children’s Hospital – a project that won him a spot in the finals of the 2014 New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year competition. We even discovered he’s photographed our very own Chief People Wrangler Tash in the past! (pictured below).

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.55.09 am

But now, Antony’s taking on a different project altogether. For the past three years, he has been working on a series of subtle, stylised portraits of Wellington’s BDSM community. While initially uncertain of how he would find this project, he describes himself as “blown away” by the openness and trust of the people he photographed. Antony discovered that BDSM was about much more than just kinky sex – it was about identity, acceptance, and above all, community.

Portraits of Kink

And yet the broader Wellington community was far less accepting. After no luck finding a place to exhibit his pictures in his hometown, Antony began looking further afield. He was delighted to receive an offer from Melbourne’s Brunswick Street Gallery to exhibit the works – but he needs funds to rent the space and set up the exhibition. That’s where you come in.

Antony is trying to raise $2,500 to cover the cost of the exhibition – and with his rewards offering everything from darkroom prints to a full photoshoot with an old-school camera, it’s no wonder he’s already well on his way. We wanted to hear more about the man behind the camera, so we got in touch to find out why you should be pledging to Antony’s campaign.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

The campaign has been going great so far. Better than I expected. This is really a first test for me to see if I can get photography projects funded, so it’s proving rather useful. I think the key thing for me is learning how to pitch a project idea, and finding what the best medium is for spreading word of the campaign. So far I’ve been using my personal networks, and sending email updates about the campaign. I’m not a particularly big user of social media but I can really see how engaging with social media on a regular basis would be beneficial for these types of projects.

What have you got planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

I’m hoping to have a small article in the Gay Express, which is New Zealand’s magazine dedicated to the LGBT community. I’ll be continuing to hustle my networks via email and Facebook, especially in the last week of the campaign and until the very end.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this project so far. Obviously its a tricky subject to engage with, but the exhibition would certainly not go ahead with the generosity and support of my crowd. Its great that crowd funding platforms like PledgeMe exist to enable creatives and entrepreneurs alike to see their projects come to fruition.

To find out more about Antony’s work, take a look at his website or check out his awesome campaign page here.