BauBax: This is Why You Shouldn’t Shop on Kickstarter

Successful Kickstarter projects grab headlines as they raise millions of dollars, but the delays and frustrations many backers face don’t get as much fanfare. While Kickstarter projects provide backers with estimated delivery dates, it’s routine for projects to miss their marks by months.

Kickstarter is a platform that enables individuals and companies to raise money for projects ranging from art installations to video games. Since its launch, Kickstarter claims that it’s raised $2.3 billion from 11 million people for 102,548 projects.

Before you throw your hard-earned money at crowdfunding projects, it’s important to understand the risks and frustrations many people experience when backing companies and people with little or no experience.  It’s also important to understand that there’s a big difference between shopping for products on respected sites and backing projects that offer no guarantee that products will ever actually ship.

BauBax 4One project that’s coming under fire by Kickstarter backers is the BauBax travel jacket. The campaign closed on September 3, 2015, raising $9,192,056 USD with 44,949 backers. The company, which had never delivered a single jacket before it closed its funding, promised backers that the jackets would arrive in November. Many of the backers purchased multiple jackets as Christmas gifts, including jackets designed for the chilly winter months. It’s springtime and countless BauBax backers are still waiting for those deliveries, trying to get their money, and swearing off ever backing another Kickstarter campaign.

BauBax bills is products as “the world’s best travel jackets.”BauBax designed the kind of jackets that are perfect impulse purchase bait for geeks, travelers and commuters. The company’s jackets offer an array of pockets and pouches to help people pack their gadgets and accessories without having to lug around a bag. Its most unique feature is an inflatable pillow designed to make it more comfortable to snooze on a bus or airplane. There’s a big pocket for an iPad, a slit for a stylus and a portable charging pocket.

If all of the above sounds similar, that’s because I’ve been wearing similar jackets produced by a company called SCOTTeVEST for the past nine years or so. No, the SCOTTeVEST jackets don’t have an inflatable pillow, but they have just about everything else, plus some features missing from the BauBax jackets. When I first saw the BauBax campaign, I wondered who in their right mind would pledge $89 to $159 for a jacket that would show up four months later when they could get a SCOTTeVEsT jacket overnight that comes with a liberal return policy and a friendly customer service department. My guess is that most of the BauBax Kickstarter backers were drawn in by slick Kickstarter campaign and had no idea that SCOTTeVEST exists.

While the $9 million or so BauBax raised on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other sales channels is impressive, SCOTTeVEST has sold almost $65 million worth of apparel. I’ve purchased countless SCOTTeVEST products as for myself and as gifts. The company’s also provided me with review units over the years. I’ve been generally happy with my purchases, especially in its most recent garments, which are much built to much higher standards than the first SCOTTeVEST jacket I bought about nine years ago.

As BauBax closed its Kickstarter campaign, I knew it would be absolutely impossible for a new company to deliver that kind of volume in time for the holidays.  Sure enough, I started seeing numerous complaints on social media about BauBax missing shipping estimates and not responding to customers’ inquiries.

Kickstarter backers pledged $3.5 million, but never got their drones
Kickstarter backers pledged $3.5 million, but never got their drones

Unfortunately, BauBax is far from the only Kickstarter projects that’s left backers disappointed, though the good news is that some of BauBax backers are indeed receiving their promised products. There have been far worse outcomes with seven-figure projects. Pirate3D Inc raised almost $1,500,000 from Kickstarter backers back in 2013 for a simple 3D printer. More than half of its backers never received their 3D printers. Zano raised $3,500,000 on Kickstarter before crashing and burning, leaving backers holding the bag.

While I did not back BauBax, I connected with Kat Dawson one of the campaign’s more outspoken backers to hear more about how frustrating it can be to deal with a campaign that over promised and under delivered.

“I backed for six jackets. Two each for my partner and I. One each for my daughter and my mother as Christmas gifts. BauBax were extremely optimistic in their timelines,” Kathy Dawson wrote in an email. “Obviously too much so. I made my pledge in August of 2015. The cost was $669.00 plus shipping and handling for a total of $709.00. Funds were taken from my credit card on September 4, 2015.”

As campaigns grow far beyond the point of kickstarting companies or products, Kickstart risks losing backers that truly enjoy helping campaigns get off the ground.

“Will he and I continue to back projects?  I think so, but we are going to be far more cautious,” Dawson continued. “I will also contemplate dropping out if a campaign becomes too big and it doesn’t look like the creators are addressing, in advance, the complications of too much too soon. We can afford to wait until a product goes retail. That’s the sad thing. It’s fun to back creators and watch them bring their creations to life. We do it for the love of new design. Now, we’ll only do it for the love of new design if we feel like the risks, and the risk of aggravation, are even smaller than stated on Kickstarter.”

A discussion on the BauBax Reviews Facebook group
A comment on the BauBax Reviews Facebook group

Perhaps the most egregious thing BauBax has done to anger Kickstarter backers is to openly sell its jackets on other websites. The company raised an additional $11 million from Indiegogo and shipped inventory to Touch of Modern before its Kickstarter backers.

BauBax 2

As with many delayed or failed Kickstarter campaigns, excitement has turned to disgust for many BauBax backers. While many BauBax backers are finally getting their shipments, many are still complaining that their jackets are nowhere in sight. There are some positive reviews of the BauBax cropping up on the Facebook BauBax Reviews page, but the sentiment is negative over all.

“Oh, and I really don’t want their jackets anymore,” Dawson wrote. “I keep joking that I’m going to run my own crowdfunding campaign wherein I offer pieces of all six jackets to my backers, attach their names to the respective pieces and then burn them in a bonfire. I would film it and call it “Burn BauBax Burn!”

BauBax did not respond to requests for comment by email and Twitter.

 

24 Comments

  1. Carey Head

    03/30/2016 at 2:30 pm

    You might also check out the HOT Smartwatch. If anything, they went further with the delays and lack of communication than BauBax (I backed both, smdh).

    Reply

    • Xavier Lanier

      03/30/2016 at 2:37 pm

      Sorry to hear about that. As I mentioned above, I have learned my lesson w/ Kickstarter the hard way. It’s refreshing when a Kickstarter project goes as planned and delivers anywhere near on time.

      Reply

  2. Will

    03/30/2016 at 2:34 pm

    I think I can speak for all the Indiegogo BauBax supporters that BauBax = epic failure, period!

    Reply

  3. Dennis

    03/30/2016 at 3:00 pm

    As an IndieGogo backer, this has been a terrible experience. BauBax has behaved in a truly immoral and unprofessional manner and thoroughly abused its backers. Consequently I will shy away from any future attempts at supporting creative projects. This one was such a loser!

    Reply

  4. KatD

    03/30/2016 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for shining a light on this for over 50,000 backers!

    Reply

  5. Franky

    03/30/2016 at 3:19 pm

    I have the bomber jacket, buts its to small at the shoulders, if i want to send it back i have to pay for sending it and also for receiving it, think i’ll keep it because i had to pay much for custom tax also

    Reply

  6. Eran

    03/30/2016 at 4:59 pm

    Checkout CA7CH Lightbox Kickstarter project that started in mid-2014.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ca7ch/ca7ch-lightbox
    A snap cam that 1600 crowd founders made happen via Kickstarter and that the developers sold to “iON Camera” after they got a quarter million dollars, without delivering anything to the backers.

    Reply

  7. Eva Lim

    03/30/2016 at 8:02 pm

    I started a Facebook group for Singapore backers so that we can update one another on the delivery status, how the jackets look like, and exchanging jackets by ourselves without going through Baubax (which means saving on shipping cost to USA).

    Baubax had the cheek to send me an email requesting me to close down the Facebook group.

    Quoting them exactly:

    Hey Eva,
    We hereby request you to delete the Baubax group that you’ve created on facebook. We own the global trademark of the name “BAUBAX” and our marketing team controls how and where the name should show up on social media platforms. We hope you understand our concerns and would respect the same.
    Thank you.
    Marketing Team,
    BauBax

    I’m surprised they didn’t ask you to take down your article!

    Reply

  8. Jesse Kelly

    03/31/2016 at 2:34 am

    Just thought I’d report on my minimal kickstarter experience. I backed a $10 iPhone charging cord that came through but the cable died after a few months and they never offered a replacement. No biggie. But I just checked to see they are still alive and have the cable for sale on Amazon with 1000 reviews. So pretty cool, I guess!

    I also backed a cute idea; Thalia guitar capos. They raised $250,000 after asking for just $50,000. It was a new venture but the poject manager was a good businessman and kept everyone informed throughout development and even travelled to china to work directly with the manufacturer. Step forward a couple years and they now seem to be a viable business and have just launched a 2.0 version. As a backer it’s been a thoroughly rewarding experience.

    Reply

  9. Benjamin Laing

    03/31/2016 at 11:04 am

    I have backed 26 projects to date on Kickstarter. Everything from hot sauce to supporting new music artist. Never had any problems what so ever. Maybe you shouldn’t judge an entire web sight of thousands of individuals based on the actions of a few people. Or did they not teach you that at Hipster U ?

    Reply

  10. rocana

    03/31/2016 at 3:42 pm

    I have backed several projects on Kickstarter some good some bad, but Baubax was a complete disappointment with their lack of communication, constant lies and supporting retailers instead of their backers.
    After weeks of emailing them at least once a day, several posts on their Facebook page (which were immediately deleted) and a rather nasty Linkedin message to their CEO, i was able to get a response from a real human being by hinting that i would initiate legal action. I was immediately blocked from commenting on their Facebook page, but I got a refund the next week.

    Reply

  11. Private Ward

    03/31/2016 at 9:24 pm

    Of course they didn’t respond to a request for comment…they don’t respond to anyone.

    Reply

  12. Bob Bryant

    04/01/2016 at 7:24 am

    My Baubax jacket arrived today, almost half a year later than the intended delivery date. I ordered the bomber jacket and like Franky said mine is also tight across the shoulders which is slightly annoying on its own but I guess I could have dealt with it.

    My main problems are when you try and actually put anything in the pockets, because it is such a close fitting coat, you are left with massive bulges. When I use the ‘blanket pocket’ which was specially designed for the Baubax blanket it looks like I have developed 1 boob. If you use the tablet pocket you have a tablet stabbing you in the side.

    The hood looks so ridiculous in the pictures above because it is not designed to hold the inflatable pillow so your options are have a massive lump on the back of your head which is really annoying, put the inflatable pillow in your tablet pocket (which is as annoying as having a tablet in there and not an option for me since that’s where the blanket has gone), leave the inflatable pillow at home (and if that’s the only this has over a SCOTTeVEST then I’d recommend getting one of those instead!) or take the hood of completely (I recommend this option since the eye mask is annoying and falls down all the time).

    Finally the in built sleeve gloves are too tight and it really digs into my thumb if worn for a long time but since they don’t tuck into the sleeve terribly well I’d probably be inclined to take the pain.

    I haven’t bothered using the charger pocket because I already feel like a pincushion and it looks pretty tiny so I can’t even say for sure if my charged would fit in.

    What did they get right? Errrm well the microfiber cloth isn’t terrible and that’s probably the only nice thing I can think of.

    If I sent mine back and got a much baggier size then the coat might be alright but considering how slow it’s been and how much I’ve spent on it already before paying for delivery back to Hong Kong then the import charges again I think I might have to give up on it.

    It’s made me realise that the coat I already had, a large duffel which cost £10, basically does everything Baubax tried to do better by just having 2 large pockets (1 which can contain my phone, tablet, wallet, passport and ipod and the other my phone charger and all my loose change which I have a ton of) and 2 hand pockets. Admittedly, it doesn’t have a neck pillow which I was never that interested in but the hood actually fits over my head so it’s a good compromise.

    Reply

  13. Nick Henshall

    04/01/2016 at 4:25 pm

    Just saying – finally received my Baubax jacket and it’s banging, I’m going back for two more. Yes it took ages to come but the value of this thing is clearly at least double what I paid for it.

    Reply

  14. Dawn Cowe

    04/04/2016 at 8:04 am

    I too am a backer and have never received any response back at all from baubax, I ordered a Navy Blazer Large and I’m regretting it big time! I have asked for refund and they never replied, I have sent countless messages via the kickstarter app and site to no avail! They just aren’t interested at all. I am getting very worried that i’ve wasted nearly $139 on a blazer that won’t fit or isn’t fit for purpose! It sounds like we haven’t got a leg to stand on either! How can a company like this get away with treating backers like this? Is it the fact they have too many backers and haven’t accounted for this? They sound like a very small operation with hardly any staff! We need to do something about Baubax and now.

    Reply

  15. piratellle

    04/04/2016 at 1:18 pm

    I am left giftless and fundless and response-less by this ‘campaign’ as well that amounts to little more than a scam. They have had my money for almost 10 months now with no jacket in sight.

    Reply

  16. JNLQ

    04/27/2016 at 1:13 pm

    Had to pay an extra 79 euros to custom to get my bomber!
    Try to contact BAUBAX but no reply after ONE WEEK…
    Support staff currently experiencing high email volume ??? WHY I wonder?
    Don’t you thing that with $11,360,667 USD you could get more staff to reply?
    More to follow here on the : WORST travel jacket I got ever.

    Reply

  17. Scott Schrum

    04/28/2016 at 10:57 pm

    Stiffing the backers by selling on other sites first, ridiculously too small sizes, piratical exchange policy, “built-in” neck pillow that isn’t built in, and crappy communication–that’s BauBax.

    Reply

  18. John Wilson

    05/01/2016 at 6:14 pm

    I ordered 6 jackets in August, 2015 and two more in October. After Baubax customer service totally blew me off in March, I opened a dispute with American Express. Amazingly, the October order shipped within about 3 days of that, and I finally got the others last week. And I really wanted to hate them. But having just flown from Kansas City to Las Vegas and back, with 2 of the 4 days there being cool and rainy, I have to say my bomber jacket was pretty close to ‘as advertised’. The neck pillow is heavy, so I took it out of the hood and put in my backpack. I’m 6′, 195 lbs and the Large fit well enough – it’s definitely a ‘trim’ fit though. While not perfect, it is a decent jacket. All the pockets were really handy, going through security I could just drop the jacket in a bin and go through the detector, then put the jacket on and have all my stuff right where I left it. And I even used the glass cleaner cloth several times, particularly when my glasses got wet from the rain – cooler feature than I thought it would be. But – it was not a good experience buying the jacket, their customer service was so bad it completely alienated me and I too am done with crowd-sourced items.

    Reply

  19. Yuan Shang

    06/05/2016 at 2:36 am

    What a miserable bunch of moaning backers you all are! Of course Baubax had issues delivering – their target was $20,000 and they received $9,000,000. How could they have possibly forecast that? I was a Kickstarter backer and received my Baubax Bomber a good few months after the scheduled shipping date. Of course it was frustrating, but the reasons are fully understandable.

    The thing is, ultimately they delivered. There are 3 other Kickstarters that I backed which are all now well over 12 months late, and they haven’t even finalised their product yet.

    What people always fail to realise about Kickstarters is that you are not buying existing stock from a store, you are paying to make a non-existent project exist. Even the author of this post doesn’t understand this: you did not “shop on Kickstarter”, you are “backing a project”, and that comes with some inherent risk. that risk, however, is never hidden from potential backers.

    For what it’s worth, I love my black Bomber.

    Reply

  20. Kate

    06/06/2016 at 9:10 pm

    I can’t agree enough about the joke that was this project. Once we FINALLY received the sweatshirt it was mediocre quality. A basic cheap sweatshirt with lots of pockets and a goofy hood. The icing….it stood up to ONE wash and now the black sweatshirt is a faded blackish brown which looks old and worn out. Far from a high end, high priced product. They must have known because they covered themselves from any shipping fees on returns! Defective/sub par quality should be their cost, not mine. I absolutely did not get what I paid for!!!

    Reply

  21. Elven

    09/13/2016 at 9:04 am

    Dissappointed that they could even have my product sent to the wrong address (Hong Kong)when i specifically replied them my new address(Adelaide, Australia)when they request for new postage addr. Having my jackets sent back to them and they don’t even bother. Asking for a refund is out of the wuestion from them. I am so pissed. Wasted my money on these jokers.

    Reply

  22. diane finston

    10/09/2016 at 2:08 am

    Bottom line – is we need Legislation to Regulate Indiegogo and Kickstarter. There are some projects that are legit. Indiegogo & Kickstarter are not self regulating. I noticed a new project starting on Indiegogo. One project looked intriguing. I decided to research other projects by the campaign organizers. Totally dismayed. the other project collected 6 figures. but – tons of complaints -failure to respond, failure to deliver, demands for repayment.

    How is it possible for INdiegogo not to refuse a Project where the Organizers with such a high level non-delivery and complaints. Makes no sense. The Structure for INdiegogo is to pass on money directly keeping a part. Hence no incentive to self regulate.

    We need to put pressure on these Congress & state Regulators to Regulate Billion Dollar Crowdsourcing . This is international Commerce – and it falls squarely within the regulatory powers of Congress to Regulate, and the Federal Courts to hear lawsuits.
    Hearings should be held.. or the continuation of fleecing of small supporters will continue. ANd legitimate entrepreneurs needing Crowdsourcing model will be shut out.

    Reply

  23. William

    04/07/2017 at 3:04 am

    I think it was a great project. No need to be so but hurt over an incredible product and successful crowd funding campaign.

    Reply

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