Food Blogging Healthy Living Blogging

Gluten-Free Girl Is Done With Flour So Stop Complaining About The Kickstarter

Shauna Ahern, flour mogul, has updated her old Kickstarter to let everyone  know the days of flour power are over. In a long rambling novella she shares the profound magic of her flour blends.

Your contributions have helped to feed people. Your contribution helped mothers make cookies for their children who were recently diagnosed with celiac and feel like life would be okay again. Your contribution helped make Thanksgiving pies and Fourth of July cakes and birthday treats and the food of beautiful ordinary days. Your contribution helped give ease and comfort to thousands of people’s lives, people who have bought this flour and felt like life could be good again, even without gluten.

But there was a dark side. Yesly and Band-aid Fingers struggled to understand the Post Office and suffered the heartache of “turning away from writing and cooking to focus full-time on a business we barely understood”.

The flour business paid off all the people who had helped us with the Kickstarter. The business paid for the boxes to be printed. The flour to be blended. The 10,000 boxes of flour to be shipped to us. The storage fees. The lawyers’ fees for trademark and other work. The insurance on the flour. The postage fees to send out boxes of flour to nearly 1000 people. The money and time and postage for other rewards, including groceries for dinners and lunches. Payroll for ourselves. We were almost done with the Kickstarter money as the flour arrived. We had to learn shipping software and struggle with the post office…

Shauna then reminds us – as she does every time she sits down at her keyboard – that she won a James Beard award, before announcing that she and her husband “didn’t have a steady job between us” and “didn’t know much about business”. And that after accepting a crapload of money to create and distribute a product and limping along for two years in this state, they decided they “didn’t want to do what we realized this path would require: give up our creative passions to make this work”.

Shauna goes on to dismiss your complaints about your Kickstarter contribution rewards by saying

I’d remind myself — and I would like to remind you — that this wasn’t a business transaction. You contributed to help us make this flour, not merely for a box or two of flour. Some of you have been angry, writing to me saying, “Where is my grain-free flour?” I understand. But again, this wasn’t money paid for flour, as people who buy the flour through our website expect. It was a pledge to help a cause with a promised reward as a thank you.

So, too bad, suckas. They “have done our best” and Shauna doesn’t crave any additional success beyond…I dunno, living in a dirty kitchen and working in a grocery store?

I thought about how the life I do have is enough. And wishing for more, for an empire, for money and security and a bigger house? It’s a ruse. It’s a lie. It’s what The Great Gatsby was all about.

I feel like she did not read The Great Gatsby.

Anyway, she winds down with her entry into the Pulitzer Obvious Statement category, saying “we’re not even that good at this”. Then she dramatically collapses onto her chaise, waving her handkerchief Wallace Stevens style, “Adieu, Adieu, Adieu”.

I’m looking forward to the day that a mention of the Kickstarter doesn’t pinch my heart with guilt and regret, the day I can focus only on your generosity and kindness.

Because Shauna just wants to get back to focusing on how Shauna feels and feeds. But thanks for the money!

  1. crispenclean

    Shauna has never understood the concept of “business transaction” in any way, shape, or form, which might go a long way to ‘splaining how she failed at a small business that had been funded by almost $100,000 in well-meaning donations, and involved, as a small and seemingly manageable part of it, sending out bags of flour to her contributors as their promised reward.

    The word “promise” is also a concept clearly beyond the Aherns’ grasp. If GF Gir! spent one-tenth of her time actually fulfilling the promise made to all their supporters rather than whining about how overwhelming it all was (apparently The Post Office is a complex, frightening institution where you can go to, I dunno, mail stuff? but there are no instructions and nobody to help you and it’s just very hard, and computers have software, also hard—plus Jesus, you people, SHE HAS CHILDREN) and tweeting at celebrities about how she’s the mother of a little black boy, maybe she’d be on top of things by now.

  2. ?????

    The Kickstarter specifically says “donate x amount, get a bag of flour.” How is that not a transaction?

  3. Twodognight

    I think karma is about to come knocking on Shaun’s door. I bet she’s getting sued. Yes.

  4. lokicat

    I’m guessing there are more words in that sorry excuse for an explanation than there would be on the Heroes Page.

  5. Direwolf is my Spirit Animal

    Kickstarter and gofundme started out as great ideas but the many thieves that have taken advantage are really starting to piss me off.

  6. Snoogerbot

    What is this “contribution” BS?

    A contribution is a gift or payment to a common fund or collection. “charitable contributions”

    synonyms: donation, gift, offering, present, handout, grant, subsidy, allowance, endowment, subscription; formal benefaction

    Her Kickstarter project sought pledges to get the reward for the cited amount. I view a contribution as tax deductible, something charitable, and charity fundraising is not allowed on Kickstarter.

    I keep thinking of Taggart in “Blazing Saddles”: “you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar wh**e.” That’s how she twists words to suit her purposes when she writes.

    Disgusting. Didn’t she promise that grain free blend when the “contributions” exceeded the original amount they wanted and went on to surpass $90K?

    • Roadkill on Batshit Lane

      I thought the grain free blend was going to take an additional $50K beyond the original $92K they gathered? Possibly that didn’t start out the case but has now become the story of why that didn’t happen. The grain free flour was never produced at all.

      It’s interesting that she’s suddenly offering to send people off the shelf grain free flour produced by someone else in order to fulfill those rewards, though. I suspect someone filed a claim with kickstarter and she’s being told to uphold the letter of their TOS …

      • snoogerbot

        She wrote this when the funding goal was $79K:

        “If you can help us not only meet but exceed this funding goal, we can bring the Gluten-Free Girl Grain-Free Flour Blend to market more quickly than we now imagine. We’d love to get that blend into your kitchen soon.”

        So the original funding goal was exceeded but only by $13K.

  7. sonotamused

    At the same time, backers must understand that Kickstarter is not a store. When you back a project, you’re helping to create something new — not ordering something that already exists

    This is what is sad – Shauna is absolutely correct. Granted, it was clear that her project was stupid; and that her and husband were never able to complete the project. But she gave her backers the rewards that were promised (as far as we know). Kickstarter never actually guarantees a product.

    • Kate

      She didn’t give her backers the rewards that were promised. That’s the thing.

    • Dee

      Yeah, this is how Kickstarter works and people like her (many others) have taken advantage of it. There’s no contract – they don’t have to provide a single thing. Kickstarter has given lots of cool, honest people a great chance at success that they might not have otherwise had but it’s also allowed for a bunch of f**kery from people like her… which will probably be its downfall ultimately. Hiding behind a lack of contract is shitty.

    • Purple21

      I don’t understand – was she offering the Kickstarter contributors samples of her flour? If their contributions were making bread and cookies for all the deprived little children who’d never eaten bread and cookies before, why wasn’t there enough flour to send to the contributors?

      It sounds like she managed to bankroll the creation of the flour and made enough to sell it and cover her payroll, so why not give back to the people who backed her?
      It’s the same as telling shareholders that she only had enough for her own salary and annual bonus, not enough to pay interest on the shares.

      • Pop of Nude

        I don’t think her lack of follow-through on the rewards was about money. She didn’t even put up a “heroes” page for contributors on her website which was one of her rewards. She kept saying it was coming “soon,” then said they were redesigning the website and it would happen with that, and then never. How much could it cost to put up a page with a list of names?
        At least she actually felt a “pinch of guilt and regret” every time she thought about her scam.

      • Roadkill on Batshit Lane

        Even more confusing is that she makes it sound like she HAS the product and she just has never in the last two years bothered to put a label on the boxes and frigging send them. It’s not that the flour is gone and she can’t afford to make more to send to people! So, how does that work exactly? The stuff is sitting right there but you’re just not gonna ship it out because you spent all the postage money?

        • Bluesun

          I think the stuff she has is the all purpose flour. Which the backers who chose that already got. But some donated more to get all purpose flour AND grain free (whole grain?) flour, and she never did a commercial run of the grain free flour, so she doesn’t have any to fulfill those backers rewards.

          • Roadkill on Batshit Lane

            Ah! I got the impression from her post that she had boxes to be sent out but no money for postage, so they were still just sitting there.

  8. Purple21

    I’m really curious about her fresh interpretation of The Great Gatsby – the one where everyone was aspiring for security.

    • i love chili dogs

      …Jordan BAKER? Nick CARRAWAY? Suddenly, I understand it like I never have before. Obviously all of the tragedy and loss in the novel are merely metaphor for all of the poor deprived children who have never tasted a cookie or a morsel of bread.

    • so materialistic and unnecessary

      Yep, where they rejected materialism and yearned for a simple slower life – oh wait, it’s about the decline of the American Dream and the destruction of innocence Shauna *facepalm*

  9. Sue (the napkin)

    Wait, eleven days ago she was telling people to buy flour. WTF?

    • glutenfreeloader

      I think she’s trying to sell what remains from the first batch (probably because it is dangerously close to expiring!)

      • Roadkill on Batshit Lane

        So she is trying to sell the flour she was supposed to ship to the Kickstarter backers? Classy.

        • Bluesun

          No, there are two different flour types. She did a commercial run of all purpose flour that she’s trying to sell out of now and backers got their all purpose flour. Backers who contributed more could get all purpose flour and grain free flour. She never did the commercial run of grain free flour so it doesn’t exist to send to backers. Her explanation spends so much time woe as meing, it’s hard to follow what happened but I think this is correct.

          • Roadkill on Batshit Lane

            Yeah, I couldn’t entirely follow the timeline, bluesun. I thought it was both the grain free and a lot of the gluten free that didn’t get sent out to backers. Either way, a quick glance at kick starters TOS states that if a project fails, the owner has to keep the backers in the loop with updates and a reasonable timeline of how they are going to get paid back, AND must then also either provide a reasonable substitute for their backer premiums OR refund the money. She’s already made it clear the money was completely gone by the time the flour was ready to ship, so she won’t be sending out refunds …

            • sadiesue

              I think the plan is :
              1) sell the last of her weevil flour before it expires
              2) use the proceeds to buy grain free flour from a more competent vendor
              3) mail it to angry Kickstarter backers in the hopes it placate them
              4) hope and pray she doesn’t get sued.

  10. Grifted Baby

    She also said in the original Kickstarter plan that she wasn’t taking a salary. In her f**k You All post, she said that she did. She’s a lying liar who lies.

  11. oh, you

    “Your contributions helped feed people…well, not the people who paid money explicitly expecting to get a bag of flour, but other people, I imagine.”

    Such professional.

    • boombalatty

      Feeding people who also paid to feed their own damned selves. Shauna wasn’t giving flour away to the needy, she essentially got paid twice for everything.

  12. Bob

    What is even funnier is that on the kickstarter she says “Danny and I will not be receiving any of these funds as personal income. Frankly, we won’t even keep enough of the money to take ourselves out to dinner to celebrate once this Kickstarter is funded”

    But now she says “payroll for ourselves” etc and then kickstarter money was nearly all gone?!

    That’s a bold faced lie right there.

  13. Shorty

    This woman is so in love with her own ramblings…..what a soggy mess that “apology” was. I really love how she asks the reader, “Did you know..?” and starts ticking off all the extra costs involved with landing on supermarket shelves. Uh…..DUH. Do your homework maybe? Perhaps RESEARCH a little before asking people for $90,000 to build your “empire”? What a half-assed way to start a “business”. She seems perpetually stuck at age 12, where nothing is her fault, everything is everyone else’s problem and she is chronically victimized by friends who “pushed” her too hard. An adult would have owned up to their mistakes without blaming others. I do hope you she make good on the promised rewards. And yeah, WTF is up with the “payroll” bullshit? Wow, why aren’t here regular readers calling her out on that?