Is your mailbox something you’re proud of, like your Eames chairs, your attractive atrium, or your original Eichler siding? Greg Kelly, a builder of retro mailboxes, may be able to make it so – if he raises $40,000 by June 12 through his Kickstarter campaign.
Kelly, owner of Modbox USA, Inc., says, “I was frustrated when I couldn't find a mailbox that complemented the mid-century aesthetic of our home.”
“Every detail creates the larger image,” he says of mid-century style. “What these homes have in common is a need for a mailbox that complements the mid-century aesthetic.”
Seeing a need that needed filling, he designed “a retro Mid-Century modern mailbox that was inspired by those produced in the ‘50s and ‘60s.” His website is rich with historical material about modern mailboxes.
And how else to fund the business than through crowdsourcing? Kelly, an economist who runs a private business valuation firm on the side, needs to raise $40,000 in pledges by June 12 – and has a way to go.
“It’s all or nothing,” he says of Kickstarter’s crowdsource strategy. “If I don’t hit the goal, [the pledged funding], all just falls onto the ground. It’s gone.”
In return for pledges, people get rewards – mailboxes, of course. “For different amounts, you get different items,” he says, “the mailbox, the post, mailbox and post, single color or two-tone.”
His mailboxes won’t come cheap, he says. “It costs about the same as an Eames shell chair. It is kind of costly. You can get a utilitarian mailbox for 20 bucks, but this is well above that in quality and in style. This is something you can’t get anywhere."
They will be American-made.
The Raleigh, North Carolina businessman is no stranger to filling unmet needs. His first business, Percolator Coffeehouse, was a coffee house he opened in the mid-1990s in “a college town with no coffee house.”
“It’s hit a chord with people who have been looking at [vintage] mailboxes,” Kelly says of his product, noting that he’s been contacted by people whose neighborhood was once filled with such zippy mailboxes and want to know more about them.
“I’ve suddenly become a historical expert on mailboxes.”