Modern Mailbox Maker Makes His Goal

Here is a vintage mailbox from the 1960s, restored and collectable. Greg Kelly will soon be selling reproductions fit for any modern home. Courtesy, Greg Kelly

For Greg Kelly, the man trying to revive the mid-century mailbox, the check really is in the mail. He succeeded – more than succeeded – in his Kickstarter campaign to raise capital to manufacture super-cool retro mailboxes ideal for the modern home.

“The goal was $40,000 and we almost doubled it at $76,974,” Kelly said, of his campaign to raise funds for his start-up company, Modbox USA.

His goal is to build – in America – new versions of the mid-century modern mailboxes that once graced the mid-century modern American landscape but have since become collectors items.

“We’re taking pre-orders now,” says Kelly, who’s based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We had a great response, with lots of folks saying they have been looking for something like this for a long time,” he said. “Others spoke about how their parents used to have a mailbox like this.”

He said only two of the pledges failed to go through the system Kickstarter runs with Amazon to handle pledges, likely because of credit card issues.

Kelly, a businessman who has operated a popular coffee house, attributed his Kickstarter success to good campaign. Using Kickstarter requires the entrepreneur to et a funding goal and deadline. People pledge in return for certain returns – in Kelly’s case, mailboxes.

“Projects are all-or-nothing,” Kickstarter explains. “No one will be charged for a project unless it reaches its funding goal. This way, creators always have the budget they scoped out before moving forward.”

Once creators have raised their funds, they are obliged to use them for the stated purposes, Kelly says, citing the Kickstarter agreement.  "But yes," he says, "it basically boils down to the creator's morality" to use the funds appropriately.

" I have a deep commitment to making this happen for the MCM community, my neighbors, friends, and family," he says. 

'Tougher than your lawn mower finish,' Sears promised. That's tough. Courtesy, Greg Kelly

Kelly says he got good press, including a blog post at CA Modern, as well as Houzz and Va-Voom Vintage.

“In general, we would see a nice increase in pledges after folks either posted on a blog or sent out newsletters,” Kelley says. “We put in a lot of hours asking bloggers to post about or story and the Kickstarter.”

Kelly’s Kickstarter success may inspire other retro entrepreneurs. If so, heed his advice:

“Have your public relations set up before starting,” he says. “Identify all contacts including e-mail address and what you are going to say before the campaign starts. Realize that for larger online ‘magazines' (like Houzz) that it can take 30 days from the interview to publishing! So, while Kickstarter says to create a sense of urgency by having a 30-day campaign, I would highly recommend 45 days.”

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