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Funded! 26 November 2014: disbelief, visas, party + now

RiutBag 1 second before fundedWhat a day. I woke up at 05:45am to watch the RiutBag Kickstarter 30 day campaign end at 05:46am, fully funded with 1091 backers. Disbelief

I tried to take it in and failed. I was still in Kickstarter mode: respond to the night's messages, backer comments, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ questions. Something was different, but I had a party for backers to throw that night in London so the do list was still active and needed me.


Racing into London from Reading, I visited the Chinese visa centre to apply for a visa straight away along the same lines as I had in Berlin earlier this summer.. But it turns out not all Chinese visa application centres work the same way. "You'll need to book an appointment online. If you're lucky, you'll get one end of next week."  End of next week?! It takes 5-10 days to process by when I should really be in China! All I could do was get to the nearest Costa, have a coffee and attempt to get an appointment online.

Next! The party. I headed to Piccadilly. I left by the St James' exit from the underground, rose up to the surface and suddenly realised that the world had changed a little whilst I'd been lost in Kickstarter land. The 30 days from 26 October to 26 November take you from "definitely not Christmas" to "wow the Christmas lights are up on Regents street, it's crisp and cool". It made me smile as I made a beeline for the party's wonderful venue: Inamo St James.

A few final details - wifi, prosecco, canapes and layout - all fixed with the bar manager, I could confirm all details with guests who had RSVPed and answer a few more Kickstarter congratulations and delivery questions! Indeed, the shift from funding to funded changed the character of questions on Kickstarter, but the flow certainly didn't stop.

Friends arrived, we left and went for dinner. Very important before a party. The host always fails to eat, so eat I did in advance. I attempted to take in the gravity of the RiutBag being successfully funded but it just wasn't quite real to me. Very much like the feeling I have when I stare out of a plane window, I have no ability to convince myself that I am in fact in the air; I kept telling myself it had happened, but no sense of understanding dawned.

Back to the party venue: time to meet the photographer, set up the three RiutBag prototypes on my human mannequins and begin the evening.

Party (photos here)

Sarah Giblin speaking to RiutBag backers at the party and online across the world - live stream

Closer friends arrived, new friends appeared, my family, old work colleagues and actual backers who didn't know me chose to risk it and believe this was a party to celebrate them too! It was! Within no time there was a swirl of 70 people there to celebrate this unlikely and positive 30 day internet phenomenon. Through almost entirely digital means, they found out about, considered the relevance to their own life and promised to pay for a RiutBag. They partook online, liking, tweeting and sharing, recommending to friends in the office, at parties and at social gatherings. They did everything in their power to make it happen. And it happened.

I didn't drink a drop of alcohol all night. I haven't during the Kickstarter campaign for fear of not being on my best form. I still couldn't quite manage it, because this party was still my work, my service, to the RiutBag backers.

And now

Five days on, the RiutBag Kickstarter page is calm and resting.In other news, I've managed to go food shopping, tidy my flat, wash my clothes and speak to my friends, not about Kickstarter.

Now the non-online work begins to make it happen. Visa application in being processed, my trip to the factory in Fujian is booked and on. The prototype is on its way  there ahead of me with the document of changes from the sample I've previously had from the factory. We're fighting to get the best quality materials which are proving tricky to find, but the search continues. Greetings cards for those who will receive them as part of the Kickstarter reward have been printed (a second time after unlikely size issue the first time) and I'm gathering addresses for the 2015 RiutBag delivery.

I cannot wait! You'll be hearing a lot from me as the reality of this idea begins to become. I'm on it. Thanks for your support - liking, backing, sharing or just reading. It's happening, thanks to you.

Do I get it yet? I understand what I have to do to make it happen. But, no, it hasn't sunk in yet; and I imagine it won't. Not until I've seen at least 1091 of this RiutBag my brain invented less than a year ago.

Your rucksack, the Riut way round. Meet the RiutBag prototype!


In case you missed it, here it is: