Featured on Sep 21, 2011
"I don't believe in anything, I just believe in me - Ferris Bueller"
London-born now New York-based, Kat Popiel is a ‘do-er’, having produced over 150 events worldwide for the likes of Sothebys, Alexander McQueen, Taschen and Top Shop working from ideation to execution, mixing the worlds of fashion, music and design. Holding strategy experience targeted towards lifestyle brands such as Diesel, KSwiss and Nike, she was instrumental in developing the infamous Deal Real brand in London and thus built a specialty in bridging grassroots culture with global brands for start-ups such as Vladivar, Whyte & Mackay and Creative London. Prior to IndieGoGo, Kat lead the business development of DeKalb Market in Brooklyn, an outdoor marketplace utilizing shipping containers for small business and artisans. Having written for various publications including PSFK, Good, Trace, Dazed Digital, and countless blogs geared towards subculture, she has since co-founded On Plate, Still Hungry, an online magazine that showcases creatives within the context of food, drink and travel. In support, she recently created Something I Ate, a seasonal event series that provides a platform for creatives to collaborate using food as a vehicle. Kat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has traveled to over 35 countries, can rustle up a killer batch of spring rolls and never gets tired of watching ‘Coming to America’.
- Title: Head of Content & Community at IndieGoGo.com, Founder of OnPlateStillHungry.com & Co-producer of Something I Ate
- Age: 31
- Location: SoHo
- Contact: @mamakitten
Your background is in brand strategy and event planning, what inspired you to join a startup?
I've always worked within an entrepreneurial context, be it with emerging artists, brands, individuals or organizations. Joining the IndieGoGo family was a natural next step in a career that has been devoted to collaborating with game-changers. Everyday is different to the next and brimming with potential. This is what stimulates and challenges me not only as a creative professional but as an individual.
How do you think IndieGoGo stands out among other crowdfunding brands?
IndieGoGo has seen over 40,000 campaigns funded since it launched in 2008. Not only is it the largest funding platform but it allows anybody to raise money for anything, from anywhere in the world. The fact that a man in Russia can fund a bakery business in Bolivia is where the world truly begins to change. As someone who has family all over the world and traveled extensively, it was necessary for me to work with a business dedicated to being inclusive to different economic communities. We have no gatekeepers deciding who can and cannot attempt to crowdfund their idea. Instead we focus our efforts to best equip each campaigner with the strategies and tips to fully achieve their success. They get to keep the money they raise even if they don't reach their goal and we only take 4%. All these factors encourages entrepreneurship on a global scale.
Having worked to develop the newly opened Dekalb Market in Brooklyn and seeing how it involves mostly small businesses, how do you see small businesses growing in the future?
Small businesses continue to be built by courageous individuals who own the confidence to design and produce their own paths. In fact historically the worlds most prolific global brands began as 'mom and pop' initiatives. A natural byproduct of any economic downfall is the uprise of innovation and creativity, a time we're fully experiencing right now and a movement that will only rapidly continue. Size definitely matters, and there's too much evidence to show that bigger doesn't necessarily mean quality. IndieGoGo is part of Obama's Start Up America Partnership and I'm excited that our platform is associated with a nationwide support system dedicated to entrepreneurship. As the start up community develops, the future will bring about new business models driven by new collaborative techniques.
Do you think we'll continue to fundraise the old fashion way by asking our friends (or Internet friends) for financial support or have you noticed any trends or creative ways businesses have paved the way, especially with social media?
Crowdfunding is still a new phenomenon, more apparent here in the US but certainly growing in both Asia and Europe. There's evidence to show that campaigners with high social media activity and strong online presence surpass their goal due to possible outreach to an extended network, yet we have campaigners who have little technology experience and reach their goal because of hyper local face to face relationships within their community. At the end of the day it's about people having the tools to connect whether online or offline - I hope the IndieGoGo platform can continue to be that central point for people to make their ideas a reality.