Crowd sourcing has become a double-edge sword in Detroit. The innovative funding tool can be both beneficial (Hatch Detroit
and The Detroit Institute of Bagels
) and controversial (Robocop
and Jack Detroit
). Rachel Lutz believes crowd funding projects need more transparency, and she's following that up with the renovation/historic preservation of the space for The Peacock Room
"I have some strong ideas about crowd sourcing to come up with start-up funds," Lutz says. "If you are having a hard time pitching an investor for a small amount of money, maybe you should rethink what you're doing."
Midtown-based The Peacock Room is a boutique in the Park Shelton that features apparel, accessories and gifts, along with upscale consignment and resale items. While she was preparing her space last year, Lutz stumbled upon
the details of the Crystal Dinning Room for the building's original occupant, the Wardell Hotel.
Lutz has since worked with the city and Preservation Wayne
to preserve the details of the historic space. She coordinated a crowd sourcing campaign with Preservation Wayne so the nonprofit makes sure whatever money is raised goes toward the preservation of the room, and not toward building her business.
"This space will be here long after the PR ends," Lutz says. "I wanted to make sure people who were contributing were contributing toward the neighborhood."
Lutz describes The Peacock Room's innovative partnership with Preservation Wayne as a way to bring order and expectations to crowd sourcing. In turn, it makes investors feel more invested in the venture and the social entrepreneurial aspect of it.
"How are you going to be accountable to how that money is spent?" Lutz says. "If you raised $5,000 from Aunt Bertha you have to look her in the eye on Thanksgiving."
Source: Rachel Lutz, owner of The Peacock Room
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com