It’s rare to be able to have insight into how new tenkara products are received by consumers. Manufacturers don’t typically share sales figures with the community, so guessing how many rods Brand X has sold vs. Brand Y really can’t be done in an objective fashion. While popularity does not equal performance, it’s still an interesting metric to look at. If nothing more than for entertainment’s sake.
One of the increasingly frequent ways for tenkara companies to launch new product has become Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar, Kickstarter is a crowd-funding model where manufacturers can raise money in advance to subsidize the production run of product(s). While Kickstarter makes it clear they are not a store, there is incentive for customers to “shop” there. They typically receive new products first while purchasing/investing at a substantial discount.
With the Red Brook Tenkara Ranger rod recently hitting its funding goal, plus the DRAGONtail Mutant rod‘s campaign ending in the last week, I thought it might be interesting to see what the most successful “tenkara” themed Kickstarters have been of all time. Unlike manufacturers, Kickstarter shows what each campaign raised right out in the open. It’s easy to compare campaign vs. campaign. The information is not proprietary, and is accessible by searching “tenkara” on Kickstarter.
Note: This list does not take into account additional funds raised through other crowdsourcing platforms (such as Indiegogo) or direct to consumer pre-sales via the brand’s website.
Top Successfully Funded Tenkara Kickstarter Campaigns
(in reverse order)
13. $1,012 – Red Brook Tenkara Ranger Backcountry Rod (as of 8/21/2020)
12. $3,034 – Streamside Signature Tenkara Rod
11. $11,846 – DRAGONtail Tenkara Line Holders (spools)
10. $18,289 – Tanuki Pocket Ninja Rod
9. $24,683 – Tanuki Ninja Rod
8. $33,538 – tenkara the book, by Daniel Galhardo
7. $34,618 – DRAGONtail Mizuchi zx340 Zoom Rod
6. $48,120 – DRAGONtail Mutant zx380 Zoom Rod
5. $62,471 – Tenkara Rod Co. White Cloud Rod
4. $92,044 – Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth / Teton Rods
3. $116,629 – Tenkara Rod Co. Beartooth Mini Rod
2. $143,535 – Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Zoom Rod
1. $222,960 – Tenkara Rod Co. Mini Sawtooth / Mini Teton Rods
Wow. It’s clear who the kings of tenkara crowdsourcing are… The Tenkara Rod Co. definitely has this model figured out with over $430,000 of funds raised toward no-risk advance production. Now, Kickstarter does get a cut of that money, and I’m certain some percentage went to outside marketing of these campaigns, but extremely impressive results nonetheless!
Interestingly, Tenkara Rod Co. also just launched a new rod (the Rocky) directly on their website. Perhaps intentionally avoiding Kickstarter? Could this be their model moving forward?
As mentioned prior, this post doesn’t really indicate anything other than popularity within comparable Kickstarter campaigns. Please take the results with a grain of salt. That said, it does kind of make you wonder how other newer rods might compare if we had access to their launch sales info. Be it the Tenkara USA Hane, or even the Tenkara Bum series of rods. Again, for entertainment purposes only, of course.
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