I'm going to reveal one of the most common plights of a small cheese shop in just two words: big wheels.
Some of the most delicious cheeses are made in big wheels- and when I say big I mean anywhere from thirty to ninety pounds. Small cheese shops take a long time to sell through that kind of poundage. New small shops take even longer.
Of course there are ways to purchase portions of these larger wheels-- some distributors will cut them down for you (but the number of these are dwindling due to a more stringent and slightly frightening food safety environment), and there are cheesemakers who chop the wheels up themselves and sell halves or quarters in vacuum sealed packaging.
The challenge with both of these options is that inevitably the quality of the cheese is compromised- even if only a bit- and remember that a quarter or half of some of these is still a substantial amount of cheese so a cheese shop that goes with either of these routes is working with a large quantity of product that is every so slightly handicapped.
So what's a cheesemonger to do? Keep trying. Which is exactly what I'm doing with our Community Supported Cheese Club at Cyril's. The goal is to get enough people to commit to a buying some of a big wheel that I can confidently bring it in, knowing that I will get to sell the majority of it from a freshly cut wheel.
Why use Kickstarter? Because we want to operate this club with maximum transparency. If we hit our goal- everyone gets access to a wonderfully fresh cheese that we all might otherwise not get to experience in this way. If we don't hit our goal- everyone walks. No harm, no foul.
This is a grand experiment. We are thrilled that tools exist on the internet that make this kind of experiment relatively easy for a new, small cheese shop like us. Thank you to the creative minds behind Kickstarter and to all of you who consider participating.
NOTE: We ran our cheese club campaigns on Kickstarter for over three years before switching to our own eCommerce platform. This was a natural progression once we had a stable community of participants and the infrastructure to manage the club on our own. We will always be grateful to Kickstarter for providing us with such fantastic training wheels and for supporting us in growing our community!