So I had a close call a few weeks ago, figured I would share.
This summer, I decided to try to set up a side business, an online store that I felt filled a market yet to be touched. I was in no rush to get it up and running; I figured I would spend a year building the store, designing the products; all the stuff I could do without it costing me money. As I started doing so, I realized, that even though I was pretty good at marketing and designs, I didn't have the knowledge of over seas production, textiles, or the financial backing, so it was suggested that I look up something called "angel investing". I was told it was just a term, and had nothing to do with religion. At least it’s not supposed to. It refers to investors who are less focused on fronting costs, and more spreading their knowledge and success. (Passing on their success.) I was excited, it sounded like I might even find some level of mentoring.
I placed a few ads on some of the "angel" networks with my idea and asking if there were any people looking to help me take off, and if things worked out, maybe even keep going long term. After about a week, I got a response from a couple in Northern California, they were looking for a bit of hobby, and seemed willing to help. So I started going over ideas, showed them the style of art I had for shirts and other filler product, and shared the idea for my flag products. They thought it was great and said they would get back to me later this fall with a couple of their own design critiques and styles, and we could talk about funding, and explore the process for production. I was excited, but I put it aside, I figured I would wait until they could be a part of the process before I started to make some concrete designs.
So a few weeks ago, they contacted me again explaining their vision, and to top it off, they wanted a Christian line of products. I tried to explain that the whole market I was working towards was the lawn dart generation of cartoon watchers, who were all grown up now and looking for more cheeky images in classical animation style drawn characters (I’m a part time animation student). I said I would prefer to not be selling religion. (I tried to present it as a positive and respectful thing that philosophies were not something to be sold door to door like vacuum cleaners) It was not that I wanted to exclude Christian buyers, but that I wanted to also include everybody else, and I could not do that with an overwhelming Christian theme.
The response I go was unexpected, it seemed angry, and typical of the Christian right. They essentially stated that “our generation’s lack of faith in the lord” should be a higher focus. Needless to say, I told them I was not religious, and that I didn’t feel it would work out. They have since been sending me very angry messages that I now delete, trying everything they can to either guilt or threaten me. It looks like they signed up my email to a number of religious groups. I'm starting to suspect that somewhere along the line they found my blog, and read my views on religion. It’s something I can handle, but it was very disappointing. So just a warning to all you business owners, watch out who you invest with, I can only imagine what might have happened if they had tried to pull that stunt after they had a financial foot in the business.