Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
Not even in their craziest dreams did Leigh and Matt Capozzi imagine that their Mount-Hood-in-a-Glass Oregon Pint project would take off the way it has.
Leigh and Matt were beaming with big smiles the other night as a steady stream of Kickstarter backers poured in to pick up their stylish pint glasses and coasters in person at the MadeHere PDX shop on Northwest 10th in Portland. There was free beer from Base Camp Brewing and volunteers from Portland Mountain Rescue were soliciting donations. Hundreds of people had lined up on the sidewalk out front at 6 pm, and backers were still trickling in three hours later as Leigh and Matt clinked glasses to cheer their fortune and share their story.
Leigh is the marketing director for Ski Oregon. Matt is the creative director for Cinco Design. The young couple launched North Drinkware last year with their partner Nic Ramirez and set a fairly modest goal of $15,000 for their Kickstarter campaign. Backers would receive a pint glass with a detailed replica of Mount Hood inside, built by Portland-based Elements Glass. The photo below is by Stone Crandall.
It quickly became apparent that demand for the Oregon Pint and its sidekick the Mt. Hood Coaster was much, much bigger than the Capozzis had anticipated.
"We broke our goal in five hours and 15 minutes," says Leigh. "And then about four or five days into the campaign we were already past $200,000."
"And that was only five days in for a 32-day campaign," adds Matt. "That $250,000 number, that was about as many glasses as we could make by June. So then we had to make a decision, to cut it off for June, and then everything after that is for delivery in September."
Fortunately, they were in close contact from the beginning with their local manufacturing partner. "Aaron, our partner from Elements, was part of the Kickstarter conversation from the beginning," says Leigh. "And when the numbers were coming in we were asking him, 'How are you feeling about this, Aaron? Can we do this?"
They could and they did. The barrage of orders from new backers enabled Elements to hire four new professional glass blowers. The Oregon Pint glass is not an assembly line product. Each glass is hand-made by a trained glass blower, and the people Elements hired had extensive experience from glass hubs in Corning, New York and Seattle.
"That’s what has been so fun," says Leigh, "to work with these great artisans who are making an amazing product... We just hosted several backers who paid $600 to blow their own glasses. They came down and we did a two-day session, and it was really interesting for the backers to see that this is hard. You do it over and over and over again, and every step of the process, something can go wrong. It was really cool for these backers to see everything that goes into our process."
North Drinkware's local packaging and shipping partner, Premier Packaging, also has staffed up to keep up with the flood of new orders.
Here are the final numbers for North Drinkware's phenomenal Kickstarter run:
It all adds up to a lot of busy days and nights for Leigh and Matt, who are keeping their day jobs and also have two young daughters ages five and seven. Matt describes the pace of production for their start-up as "blistering but manageable."
They have already started making secretive plans for their next North Drinkware offering, and it's a bit of a mystery what that product will be. The only clue the Capozzis will offer is that in addition to Oregon they also really like California and Washington.