The top Canadian Kickstarter campaign for July is a strange one. The Mysterious Package Company has taken in an eyebrow-raising $422,390 for its mission of sending intriguing packages through the mail. The boxes are filled with old newspaper clippings, artifacts and hand-written notes that reveal a mysterious story involving the recipient.
The Globe and Mail contacted Jason Kapalka, a Vancouver-based entrepreneur and director of The Mysterious Package Company, who had the company's "curator" respond to questions (via e-mail, not by mysterious package unfortunately) about the successful campaign.
What on earth is The Mysterious Package Company?
We are an organization that tells stories using the postal service as our medium. Once our services are engaged, we send letters, postcards, fake news clippings and assorted strange artifacts via the mail. When the recipient pieces them all together, it creates a weird and fascinating narrative that they are at the centre of.
We offer both one-off "experiences," consisting of two to four mailings over the course of about six to eight weeks, and a subscription service that provides an eight-page broadsheet newspaper filled with stories and puzzles, every quarter.
Where did you get the idea?
We had a vision for making the mail exciting again, for bringing mystery and intrigue into people's lives through this most prosaic of modern institutions. We recruited a circle of unusual collaborators: artists, forgers, writers, hackers, prop-makers.
Where are you based?
Our studio is based in a secret industrial location in Toronto, but we cannot disclose the exact address, for reasons of discretion and security.
Were you surprised you raised so much money?
To be frank: yes. We knew there was a certain subculture that found our work intriguing, but had no idea the appeal would be as broad as it turned out.
Why has the campaign been so successful?
I believe there are two key reasons new Kickstarter backers were compelled: True mystery in this day and age is highly unusual, and, in this digital world, tactile, physical objects carry a powerful appeal. The idea of a mystery you can hold in your hand, with physical evidence of the adventure, is one that seems to strike a chord with people.
How did you publicize your campaign?
We did some publicity via Facebook, Twitter, and our own e-mail list, and had some coverage of the project on news sites. But word of mouth from our previous customers, especially some high-profile "nerd celebrity" types, was invaluable in spreading the campaign and assuring people we were legitimate and not some kind of strange scam … which was critical since, in effect, we were asking for money for something we literally could not describe!
What will you do with the money?
It is primarily being used to craft our most elaborate and high-quality experience to date. We are also upgrading our staff and facilities to deal with the increased requirements of the project's success.
Follow @GlobeSmallBiz on Twitter.