Today we are featuring a Kickstarter for Lederkraft Studios. To this end, we have asked the artistic director of Lederkraft Studios, Alex Agricola, to introduce himself and his Kickstarter project.
Larpging.org: Who are you and what do you do?
Alex Agricola: I am the Artistic Director and founder of Lederkraft Studios. My role at Lederkraft is to come up with all the design themes and styles for our amours, props and other bits we produce. Simply put, I’m the person that rambles for hours on end, spewing ideas, styles, and themes to the various people that help me take a thought through the artistic process to a working prototype. Then I fabricate it by hand. I have been called an “imagineer”.
L: How did you get started in this business?
AA: I first became involved about 23 years ago. That’s when I got sucked into LARP. I loved making my own kit. Back in those days you were very limited in terms of where you could buy things; hence, I made my first aluminium armour about 20 years ago. It was basic. I think like many players I suffered at the cottage nature of the industry and waited months for a kit to be made by professionals. They never appeared. To cut a long story short, I quit my job and formed lrpstore.com. Within a couple of years it grew to be the market leader in the UK . At the time, we weren’t doing anything different or special. We were simply selling wares and organizing producers. We basically did all the leg work for our customers. In time, Lrpstore grew and we started to introduce our own designs. This was probably the beginning of LederKraft.
L: What’s your vision for the kickstarter?
AA: The bottom line is that my customer’s and fellow player’s views are more important than my own. The problem is where do I start? I get so many requests, so which do I act on? I launched the Kickstarter project for a few reasons. First, I wanted to see if anyone was interested in being a voice in our creative process. Second, we wanted to be 100% in touch with the trends and fashions on the field and at events. Lastly, we want to become one of the hobby’s first completely crowd-funded companies.
L: What do you see as some of the benefits of having your business be “crowd-funded”?
AA: I believe many industries have lost sight of what the customer wants. They focus on herding customers into trends, instead of on producing products the customer desires. Making Lederkraft a project driven by the customer turns things completely around. I’d love to see a movie taking its inspiration from the fans. This type of company would not be so profit focused, but instead would focus its profits on the continual development of new lines, products, and innovations. Many heads are better than one; who am I to decide what people want? This project is aimed at getting the perfect balance between customer input and craftsman-level fabrication without having to subcontract to distant manufacturers who will sacrifice quality for price.
L: Aside from donating, what can your fans do to help get your project funded?
AA: Spread the word, campaign for this to happen, tell anyone and everyone, participate by bringing your insights to the project. This is our big dream and we’re hoping it will be a dream for larpers to take part in too.
L: What do you currently have in your shop?
AA: We have just spent the last 6 months developing the first range of products to come out of the official site. Its mainly armour at the moment, but we have just developed some Saxon-themed add-ons for our kits. We have so much more in the pipeline! Right now its a platform to show what we can do and have done for a few years now.
We want to thank Alex and his team at Lederkraft Studios for taking the risks necessary to get us great larping products. Crowd-sourced projects have really changed the roleplaying world, and we’re glad to see savvy business people like Alex taking advantage of the opportunity to expand our hobby in new ways. Check out his Kickstarter project here!