Tiny banjo company shatters Kickstarter crowd funding target: Founder predicts end of Dragon's Den style funding

Share Article

The Great British Banjo Company, the tiny UK business manufacturing The Shackleton Banjo, has exceeded its Kickstarter crowdfunding target more than a week ahead of schedule. The company's founder is predicting the continued growth of crowdfunding and demise of Dragon's Den style investment.

Simon Middleton

Simon Middleton, author of Brand New You and founder of UK's leading banjo retailer, Banjos Direct.

Dragon's Den is about as relevant to real business as The X-Factor is to real music.

The Great British Banjo Company, the tiny UK business manufacturing The Shackleton Banjo, has exceeded its Kickstarter crowdfunding target more than a week ahead of schedule. The company's founder is predicting the continued growth of crowdfunding and demise of Dragon's Den style investment.

The company has received pledges totaling more than £33,500 ($54,000), ahead of target £30,000 ($48,000), and eight days ahead of schedule: securing its funding to create the UK's only mass-market banjo.

The company's campaign has been supported online by a wide range of musicians and banjo luminaries, including Bela Fleck and Ned Luberecki, the UK's Mike Harding and Martin Simpson.

Supporters from all over the world have pledged between £15 and £2,500 ($4,000) to claim a variety of rewards ranging from souvenir gifts and clothing through to first-edition Shackleton banjos.

Company founder Simon Middleton, a brand expert and author of popular entrepeneur's manual 'Build A Brand In 30 Days' said:

"We are delighted, but we're not surprised, that this has worked. We tapped into genuine interests with an authentic and engaging story. Instead of standing in a Dragon's Den and asking cynical investors for money in return for half our business, we went out to the people who will become our customers.

"This is not only highly democratic, and also effective marketing, but it's also a real alternative to the traditional funding model. We have combined this approach with one private investor from the start of the business, who has a genuine passion for what we are doing and whom we count as a friend. And that combination is a great deal healthier and more sustainable than standing in front of the pin-striped suit Dragons to be humiliated."

Middleton, who has appeared on British TV frequently as a branding commentator, added: "I think shows like Dragon's Den are now very dated and out of touch with the real way small entrepreneurial business operates."

"Dragon's Den is about as relevant to real business as The X-Factor is to real music," Middleton added.

The Shackleton banjo will be the first volume-production to be manufactured in Britain for more than 60 years.

The instrument is named in honour of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer who led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914.

The banjo belonging to the expedition's meteorologist played an unexpected but vital role in the journey, after Shackleton's ship Endurance was crushed by ice and had to be abandoned.

Although each man was only allowed to take two pounds in weight of personal possessions off the ship, Shackleton made an exception for the banjo, famously declaring: "We must have that banjo, it is vital mental medicine."

It proved a wise decision, because when Shackleton and a small team had to leave 22 men trapped on Elephant Island for several months while they set off on an 800-mile voyage in a small open boat to seek for help, the banjo played a vital role in maintaining morale for those left behind.

The marooned men held regular concert parties and wrote songs on the banjo.

"It's a fantastic story of British pluck and determination," explained Simon Middleton, managing director of The Great British Banjo Company, "and it has inspired us to undertake our own adventure: to build an affordable banjo in Britain, which has not been done for so many decades."

"We are thrilled with the response from banjo enthusiasts, as well as from people who just want to support British manufacturing," Middleton added.

Company Information:

The Great British Banjo Company Limited, which also owns online specialist store Banjos Direct, is based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

The company works with local craftsmen as well as instrument manufacturers in other parts of Britain.

The business was founded by brand adviser, business author and musician Simon Middleton and has grown rapidly to become the UK's best known banjo specialist retailer and manufacturer.

In 2012, the company launched the Islander Ash Leaf banjo, hand-made for the company in England by Malcolm McLeod, which has received glowing reviews from professional players in the UK and the USA.

The Great British Banjo Company is a private limited company, owned and managed by a small group of family and friends in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

For further information, visit: http://www.thegreatbritishbanjocompany.com/.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Simon Middleton

Simon Middleton
Follow us on
Visit website