Add another layer to your #Business literacy. We at Serebral360° would love to know if the Forbes – Entrepreneurs article was helpful, leave a comment, like and share. Let’s dive in and discuss the information and put it to use to grow your business. #BusinessStrategy #ContentMarketing #WebDevelopment #BrandStrategy
Info@serebral360.com 762.333.1807 www.serebral360.com
Grap a copy of our NEW Business Stratgety Books #FFSS VOL1 and #FFSS VOL2
If you’ve seen Bibles, Hymnals or religious content anytime in the last 100 years, it usually has gilded edges and tiny type. There is a simplicity to religious publications, which many think is appropriate given the subject matter. You may expect that those wanting to read “the Word” would be focusing on just that—the words—and not concerned with design.
However, as someone in the creative industry, I often see important messages and stories lost because they weren’t “packaged” appropriately. A large part of my time in my profession is spent not only making content available but making it engaging for readers.
Brian and Bryan Chung feel faith-focused Millennials want something new
The co-founders of Alabaster, a new religious publishing company, have more in common than a name. (Actually, Bryan just got married so now his last name is Ye-Chung.)
Ye-Chung wants Alabaster to become the Millennial faith-based publishing brand. He feels someone needs to bring creativity and faith together and reach a younger base with a more youthful aesthetic.
Brian and Bryan were brought together in the college ministry at USC, in part by their common name, but also by their aspirations. They were both looking for ways to potentially align their soon to be careers with their faith and creative pursuits.
In October 2016, they took the 4 Gospels and designed a high-end, visually beautiful booklet. Actually, according to Bryan, they had only created the first portion of the book when they uploaded the excerpt to Kickstarter and launched their first campaign with a goal of $35,000.
Ye-Chung says they made several mistakes with that first campaign. For one thing, they hadn’t pre-seeded interest before the campaign to fan the flames of demand. However, preparation aside, they got lucky with local coverage in the USC paper and a mention in HuffPost. They ended up raising $62,000 and were able to complete their first printed publication.
Creative people have discerning standards
One of the reasons that Ye-Chung says they launched on Kickstarter was out of bootstrapping necessity. It is expensive to purchase goods in advance or pony up for a printing job, particularly when not just any printer will do.
Many people may think that paper and printers are all the same, but those who create premium branded or highly designed offerings understand what that “premium” can truly mean. Ye-Chung says they selected Hemlock Printers whom his team regards as one of the best printers in North America before they even had their design complete.
That was important because it meant that the team was able to build a model that was complete, and they knew precisely how much they would need to raise for the first print run to be profitable. Like many first-time entrepreneurs, profitability (if you’re that lucky) was about $100.
Time to evolve from building campaigns to building a company
After their 2017 exercise in first-time publishing, using an army of friends to help warehouse, package and deliver their books, Ye-Chung and Chung, decided to make a go of it as more than a hobby.
Although at the time neither of them could devote full-time effort to Alabaster, they had many more ideas and a belief in the value of what they were doing. Their next beautifully designed publication, based on Psalms, launched February 2018 on Kickstarter. In October 2018 they launched Romans.
Moreover, although they were still using Kickstarter as their platform, they began focusing on how to scale their efforts. They ended 2018 moving in the right direction up to $318,000 in sales.
Bringing an investor into the mix
Ye-Chung is now devoting full-time to the business, and the team has attracted the interest of investor Daniel Fong, known among other things for incredible growth as founder and CEO of the Million Dollar Baby Company (Bexco Enterprises).
With Fong in the boat and a little over $100,000 in capital, they are targeting sales of close to $1,000,000 in 2019.
Now the team is focused on broadening their offering from print publications alone to a platform of highly-designed, faith-oriented content.
Perhaps nowhere more than in the area of faith does the idea of “seed” capital have a double if not deeper meaning.
In Zechariah 8:12 it says, “For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.”
What a pertinent and poetic parallel to Alabaster. The seed capital comes in to lend peace while traction is gained. The vine, heretofore through Kickstarter, will yield its fruit and the land produce and especially given our subject matter “the heavens will give their dew.”
And so a new generation, one no weaker in faith, but more demanding in terms of aesthetic, experience and engagement will receive that which they wish. The people will “inherit all these things,” and Alabaster can only hope, as Jesus did in his day, that they tell all their friends.
April 26, 2019 at 09:55PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs