All About Corey: Strange Donuts' co-owner to speak at #CrowdfundSTL

On June 3, Social Media Club of St. Louis will host an event with a discussion panel at Perennial Artisan Ales to discuss social media strategies that work - and some that don't - for crowdfunding campaigns. Local crowdfunders Corey Smale (@Strange Donuts), Jamey Stegmaier (@JameyStegmaier) and Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) will serve on a panel, along with Rally Saint Louis's own Aaron Perlut. 

Today, we wanted to highlight panelist Corey Smale of Strange Donuts. Smale and his partner Tyler Fenwick turned to Kickstarter in March 2013 to raise funds in order to open their independent donut shop. The pair set out to raise $10,000 through their campaign in order to help fund kitchen equipment. 

The Chicken & Waffles donut rolled out at the October 2014 launch.

The Chicken & Waffles donut rolled out at the October 2014 launch.

Strange Donuts was inspired by a new breed of hip doughnut shops in such cities as Portland, Los Angeles and Austin, such as Portland's Voodoo Doughnut. In addition to traditional donut classics such as the glazed, the shop's baker-in-chief known as "Sweet Will," works with Corey and Tyler and other local restaurants to create inventive new donuts such as the Fat Elvis (banana and peanut butter) and the Southwest Stranger (cornmeal pancake donut with eggs and thick cut bacon).

Smale told the Riverfront Times at the start of the campaign, "We thought, 'How cool would it be to have the people who want these donuts help make them, literally.'" The campaign involved give incentive tiers for donors. Supporters that donated $10 or more got two Strange Donuts and a sticker, while the largest donors were rewarded with an after-hours donut party for a group of friends. 

In order to drive interest in the campaign, Smale and Fenwick co-hosted a donut tasting and pog invitational tournament event with Kuva Coffee the week that they launched at Post Sports Bar and Grill, just a few doors down from their intended donut shop location. 

The pair ultimately exceeded their Kickstarter goal by more than $2,000.00 and opened their doors to the public in October on Sutton Avenue in Maplewood. A second location is planned to open in Kirkwood later this year.

Just a 8 months later, Strange Donuts sells out of donuts on a regular basis and just launched their own video game. As to what's next, the shop will host a party on June 6 (National Doughnut Day 2014) at Kuva Coffee Company (5231 Manchester Avenue). Admission is $20. More than 30 St. Louis artists, restaurants, breweries are coming together for the event. Admission includes food and drink samples. Tickets are available at strangedonutday.brownpapertickets.com

Join us at Perennial on June 3 for #CrowdfundSTL to learn from Corey and our other panelists. The event is a little more than halfway sold out, so get your tickets soon. Click here for tickets and details.

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Danni Eickenhorst

Growing up, I was easily the most intense and passionate kid in my small town. If I wasn’t walking the streets with a mason jar to raise funds for the MDA telethon or a family in need, I was advocating for a 5K or some other cause that tugged my heartstrings – that I was sure I could impact. Back then, I wasn’t necessarily tactful or overtly strategic – but I was successful in winning the hearts and minds of the people around me and getting them involved in making a difference too. I like to think that its that same bright-eyed optimism that’s gotten me to where I am today – the unwavering belief that if I can share the story that I believe in, others will get on board and help further the cause. Today, I am a marketing consultant specializing in digital and social strategy for non-profits, the public sector and small businesses. I’ve been fortunate in my career to play an active role in making the St. Louis region a better place to live through my work with Great Rivers Greenway, Bike St. Louis, The Trestle, The Salvation Army, United Way of Greater St. Louis and others. For the highlights, look below for my portfolio of work. I also serve as a board member for Social Media Club of St. Louis. In this capacity, I am presently overseeing the launch of a new event specifically targeted to help non-profits utilize social and digital media to develop brand ambassadors, and to help them reach and exceed their fundraising goals. Today, you will still find me mobilizing people for the causes I care most about – but I’ve retired my mason jar, and mastered the digital sphere. Instead of standing on a soapbox, I’m coordinating major media attention. Instead of holding lemonade stands to raise funds, I’m writing powerful content and working with some of the best minds in the region to see that change is realized. You know the saying… “The more things change…”