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5 of the most outlandish crowdfunded business ventures

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Griz Coat

If it’s cold outside, most people will likely adopt gloves, woolly hat, scarf and a large coat – perhaps a parka or a duffel. 

Well, the Griz Coat, a faux-fur grizzly bear jacket, combines all of them in one, with the added benefit of protection in the form of sharp teeth and claws.

Created by the San Francisco-based Buffoonery Factory, of course it is, the team had a goal of $2,500 on Kickstarter but managed to achieve a total of $29,015.

In case you’re wondering where the concept came from, it was inspired by Halloween. “A couple of us wanted to wear a grizzly bear jacket, but we couldn’t find one for sale that looked realistic at all. We weren’t going for the cartoonish mascot look, we wanted to look like we were actually donning a grizzly bear. We’re talking about a realistic-looking head, claws and fur,” the company said in its pitch.

Apparently the closest thing was a $2,000 coat made from real grizzly bears, so the team reached out to a professional costume designer who made a couple of coats from scratch. Upon wearing them, several people mentioned they wanted one, so another batch was made and the Kickstarter campaign was launched.

“A professional designer has produced two different iterations of the coat.  Kinks have been worked out.  Blueprints have been made. Basically, we’ve done all the necessary legwork, and our only roadblock is that the materials and manufacturing are expensive,” said Buffoonery Factory. “This is why we can’t do things the traditional way (i.e. front all the money, make a bunch of coats, and hope people want them), and why we need the Kickstarter community to step up. So we’ll be using the funds to buy materials and get Griz Coats manufactured for anyone who wants one.”

In case you’re wondering what the wearing opportunities are in addition to 31 October, the pitch included a handy guide that said: “Please note that the Griz Coat is highly appropriate for: Halloween, Bay to Breakers, Monday morning meetings, most weddings, Tuesday morning meetings, high school reunions, and first dates.”

The coats are all handmade in the USA and sell for $200.

Bug-A-Salt

From the mind of Santa Monica artist Lorenzo Maggiore came Skell Inc, a startup through which he would be able to “bring his artistic creations to commercial life”.

One such commercial creation was Bug-A-Salt.

Described as an “insect eradication device”, users are able to tackle bugs in a Ghostbuster-like fashion, while embracing their inner child’s need to play with Nerf, by wielding a gun that will eliminate the threat.  

Although Skell had a target of just $15,000 to get the product launched for the initial manufacturing and shipping process in China, it secured a huge $577,636 from 10,764 people over the course of two months, which suggests people really hate bugs or just really want an excuse to act like a big kid.

The pitch was this: “Your contributions will help us to create a more sustainable, non-toxic alternative for eradicating pesky insects like flies and mosquitos. Using ordinary table salt as opposed to using dangerous chemicals and pesticides is a better way to go!”

Boasting a “miniaturised shotgun effect” that transforms salt into a “lethal projectile,” Bug-A-Salt has a range of 3 ft, claiming “insect hunting as sport has entered the 21st century.”

Orders were made from 70 countries during the campaign and the Bug-A-Salt shotgun price starts at $39.95.

Check out a video of the gun in action below.

Continue reading our round-up of weird crowdfunded business ventures on the next page.

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