Kickstarter's BauBax jacket seeks $US20K, gets $US9 million

The fashion projects section of crowdfunding site Kickstarter is bound to get a whole lot more interesting after a travel jacket raised a staggering $US9.19 million ($13.3 million) from more than 44,000 backers in less than two months.

That's a whopping 45,950 per cent return on its meagre target of $US20,000 ($28,800).

The creators of the BauBax jacket started their campaign on July 7 and reached their initial target in just over five hours. The money continued to pour in, and within one month the campaign had raised more than $US4 million.

In its last five days it notched up another $US2 million to become the eighth most crowdfunded project ever.

Kicking goals

It's a phenomenal entrepreneurial result and with the jacket possessing 15 features – including a built-in neck pillow, eye mask, gloves, drink pocket and earphone holders – the design certainly crams as much in as possible.

The inventors of the BauBax have covered all bases by offering windbreaker, sweatshirt, bomber and blazer styles of their versatile design. Kudos for thinking big, but it's hard to believe anyone would want to buy a blazer with room for a can of drink, sewn-in gloves and a built-in neck pillow. Far from making a sharp first impression, people are more likely to wonder if you've got a bed for the night.

But whatever you think of the BauBax jacket, its remarkable success will fuel the hopes of aspiring designers and manufacturers who aim to replicate its success. Or at the very least, profit from the increased attention it has brought the site.

Stick the boot in

Melbourne-based duo Ray Willmoth and James Cameron are two such people. Cameron is a designer and fashion writer who in 2008 was nominated for GQ Menswear Designer of the Year. His business partner Willmoth is a New Zealander who lived and worked in London for over a decade as a footwear and accessories buyer as well as a product developer for brands including Charles Tyrwhitt.

They hope to manufacture two types of luxurious desert boot – one from Italian suede, the other from French calf leather – through funds raised on Kickstarter.


Their brand, McGuffin and Purpose, requires crowdfunding of $35,000 to start manufacturing in Guimarães, Portugal. Half-way into their 30-day campaign the project has already raised more than $25,000, putting it on track to be one of the biggest fashion kickstarter campaigns in Australia.

"As much as Kickstarter is about raising funds, this whole crowdfunding exercise has to be true to our whole brand values," Cameron says.

Desert originals

For Willmoth and Cameron that is making the best desert boot possible, from the best materials, at a fair price.

"We started to notice that over time the desert boot had been watered down and either stripped or over-designed, incrementally redefining it as a version of itself," they write on their Kickstarter page.

"Its original construction and elegant simplicity, built on quality and longevity, was replaced with deliberate obsolescence and cut corners."

The pair hope to create a desert boot that replicates the original design first worn by British soldiers fighting in the desert of North Africa during World War II.

"There are a lot of different aspects of the iconic desert boot which could be stripped back, isolated, perfected and put together to make what we're calling the desert boot defined. And so that's what we're doing," Willmoth says.

"We're finding the best leather, the best suede. We're perfecting everything that can be improved."

The McGuffin & Purpose Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, September 22.