Ratcliff raises $1.5m in three days


A TOP travel photo blogger raised $1.5 million in three days through a crowd-funding website for a camera bag project.

Queenstown-based American Trey Ratcliff, who has 13 million followers across social media, has designed the $250 bag with San Francisco firm Peak Designs.

The crowd-funding went live on Kickstarter on July 23 – with an initial target of just $150,000.

Ratcliff says: “I was just sitting here in my studio in Queenstown on a cold morning when it went live.

“The internet started going crazy and it was fun to watch the numbers go up on the screen.

“I got my whole family and team around me and we were shocked.”

Ratcliff, a pioneer in High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, runs website Stuck in Customs and travels around the world to lead photo expeditions.

His photos have 60 billion views on Google.

So it’s perhaps not surprising the practical, expandable bag he helped design has already received 3625 backers on the crowd-funding website.

Those backers pledge money to buy the product at a discount, which is collected at the end of the appeal period and used to fund the project.

Ratcliff’s appeal still has 55 days left to run.

He’s been heavily involved in all aspects of the project, so much so he ended up in hospital with pneumonia.

“I had just spent a long time in Vietnam in the factories with the team and I totally wore myself down to sickness.

“Right after I flew home, my doctors wanted me in the hospital.”

The Everyday Messenger: A Bag For Cameras & Essential Carry features creative solutions to the hassle of carrying equipment - from patent-pending magnetic clasps to material that repels water and dirt.

Ratcliff’s favourite design feature is the ‘tessellated’ divider system.

“You can bend and flex these things to fit everything you carry, even if it’s not camera stuff.”

UPDATE: With 49 days to go funding has now passed the $2.3m mark.