About this project
- Have you ever been COLD watching a game?
- Wished you had a picnic blanket in your car?
- Needed a quicker, easier way to carry a folding chair?
- Needed a rain jacket unexpectedly?
- Needed something handy and compact?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, then Toasty Tote is for YOU!
As heard and read about on:
THE AHA MOMENT...
It was an early fall morning at my son Dakota's football game. Several parents were obviously COLD and getting colder. Then I watched as people struggled to get their folding chairs out of the carrying bag. That's when it hit me. What if we made a wrap that was warm on the inside, water resistant on the outside and could cinch to your waist so it wouldn’t fall down. Then, when the game was over you could use it to quickly and easily carry your folding chair.
Right after that game I called my good friend and incredible textile designer Connie Robertson. Connie has spent the last five years creating thousands of originally designed kids clothes, sports wear, jackets, purses, bedding and just about anything you can think of. Her company, The Wildflower, manufactures and sells these products to many retailers and individuals in Kansas and Missouri.
We are excited to show you all of the progress we have made from the first spark at my sons's football game all the way to where we are today.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD...
Connie began to make dozens of sketches and worked out the kinks.
her knowledge of fabrics and textiles, she recommended we start with a warm
piece of fleece and wrap that with water resistant rip stop nylon.
We installed an elastic cord at the top of ToastyTote, so it would cinch to your waist and wouldn’t fall down. Now, when you suddenly jump up to cheer on your child or team, it stays in place. Picking up your blanket off the dirty, wet ground is a thing of the past.
At this point, we realized we were on the right track.
PROTOTYPE 3 AND 3.5...
With every new prototype we learned what worked and what didn’t. Several more sketches were made, adding functions and features to create the next ToastyTote prototype.
ToastyTote came out of the washer and dryer clean as a whistle. They said "ToastyTote is kid tested, parent approved."
PROTOTYPE 4, READY FOR MARKET...
It all came together in Prototype 4. It was now time to show ToastyTote to the world.
WE thought ToastyTote was a great product, however, it was time to ask others how it would fit into their lives. We decided to attend sporting events and city festivals to demo ToastyTote. This allowed approximately 300 people to see and touch ToastyTote firsthand, while filling out a survey card. The feedback was incredible! People were so excited and wanted to buy one that very day. They also shared the different ways they would use ToastyTote. One of our favorites was… “I would keep 2 in my car for emergencies, a “sudden” picnic, or sports."
TESTIMONIALS…along the way we got a lot of great feedback.
I will keep two in my car for emergencies, a "sudden picnic" or sports games. Becky H., Overland Park, KS
Really fun! Seems to have lots of uses! Fun for camping or tailgating. Stephanie F., Kansas City, MO
I LOVE these!! All in one!! Cuts down on all the stuff!!! Wendy K., Facebook
ToastyTote will make it easier with my bad
arthritis to attend all the kid's sports games! Patty, Twitter
Very cool! or warm :) Molly S., Olathe, KS
Wish I had thought of this. Concerts and sporting events. Stephanie W., Facebook
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A TOASTYTOTE?
We asked our fans what they would do with a ToastyTote and they sent in over 300 ideas. Here are just a few of them:
We had such a great response that we realized we had something. With a growing fan base (now over 7,500 on Facebook) it was time to protect our design, so on September 5th we filed a patent. On October 3rd we received a letter stating ToastyTote was officially Patent Pending.
COLORS... (Once the project ends, you will get a link to pick a color!)
We are keeping our product offerings as simple as possible (colors), to not over complicate manufacturing to ensure production occurs on time.
THE FUN...(Once the project ends, you will get a link to pick colors!)
Exclusive ToastyTote Backer Gear!
We would like to give you detailed information regarding the creators, Christian Corley and Connie Robertson, background and experience. And the core team members that we have assembled and a brief description of their role, and the type of experience and expertise they bring to the table. We want all possible backers to have full confidence that we have the right team to bring this project to life. Let me introduce them to you now:
• Christian Corley, Inventor/Founder/CEO – Has launched, built and run successful companies for over 15 years. Experienced in custom manufacturing, retail, facility management, advertising, direct mail and technology. Christian has a proven track record to making things happen. Christian oversees the company, scouts talent and ensures all departments are running smoothly and communicating well.
• Dan Cooper, COO - Dan is a serial entrepreneur, with a proven record of building businesses through innovative technology, savvy marketing, dynamic product offerings, and operational excellence. After selling his first company, Dan has helped a number of companies in leadership positions. Dan is active in the Kansas City business community with participation in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentors Program and startup business accelerator SparkLabKC. Dan runs day-to-day operations at ToastyTote with his primary focus of making every department’s goal to create a high quality product and get them in the hands of Kickstarter backers.
• Ted Stann, CFO – Ted has worked with scores of businesses, providing CFO, business development and partnering services and consulting. While serving a variety of markets, Ted has focused on the retail and technology market. Ted has worked with many success stories, including Ethos Partners (sold to Navigant Consulting, publicly traded) and Host Analytics (SV-funded company). Ted will make sure the light bills are paid, but more importantly set a great foundation, so ToastyTote is built to last and provide high value to the Kickstarter community.
• Connie Robertson, Director of Design & Quality Assurance – Connie is an expert in fabrics/materials and has years of experience in custom manufacturing creating thousands of originally designed children’s clothing, sportswear, jackets, purses, quilts and custom orders.She has years of experience with many retailers and individuals in Kansas and Missouri. Connie is in charge of all design aspects and Quality Assurance of ToastyTote and ensures that backers will receive the highest quality product possible.
• Chris Vaughan, Director of Customer Service – Chris has owned and operated several companies that specialized in producing business to business and business to consumer products with heavy emphasis of customer service. Chris knows how to make customers happy by under promising and over delivering. Chris will ensure ToastyTote goes above and do those extra little things that add up to a great experience for Kickstarter backers.
• Merry McBride, Vendor & Shipping Manager – Merry is an expert in production systems and procedures. She has spent 20 years working with companies that produce packaging and printed materials for retail products. Merry’s passion is to look for ways to increase efficiency and shorten the production and shipping time. She will bring these talents to bare it takes to get ToastyTotes to our backers.
• Tyler Young, eCommerce Manager – Tyler has spent many years in charge of ecommerce web sites for large volume manufactures of US Flags, puzzles and products in the auto industry. Tyler will ensure our web site, ecommerce and order flow is working properly and scalable.
We also have several other people on contract for social networking, package design, video animation, and customer service. We also have several folks on our Advisory Board with experience in large-scale production and marketing. All this makes Team ToastyTote uniquely qualified with a proven track record of launching, running, maintaining and manufacturing successful products to bring ToastyTote to life and get in our backers hands.
THE MAKING OF TOASTYTOTE...We searched for a manufacturer to produce ToastyTote at the HIGHEST quality and reasonable price. After a long search, we found a great manufacturer in Ohio. Several things make them a great fit:
1.They currently produce over $1 BILLION dollars worth of high quality textile products for some of the largest brands in America.
2.They own and operate several factories around the world. If there was a problem in one factory, they could switch production to another. This gives us redundancy that few other companies have.
3.They love ToastyTote and are passionate about making it a household name.
We also have a great local pick-n-pack vendor with over 15 years of experience to package and ship your ToastyTote directly to you.
THE PRODUCTION AND FULFILLMENT PLAN...
When it comes to manufacturing, this isn’t our first rodeo. However, we would like to inform you, our prospective backers, about the steps we will take to produce ToastyTote and fulfill the rewards. We will let you know how long each step will take. We will be transparent and open with you at every step.
Our manufacturer in Ohio has one of their overseas factories lined up and ready to make ToastyTote to our specs. As soon as the project ends and we’ve received the funds, we’ll get to work. It will take approximately 60 days from the time we sign-off on the factory samples.
Here is our detailed plan:
1. Order live samples from the factory. (DONE… To be proactive and save three weeks of production, we have already ordered the samples.)
2. Quality check, approve live samples, and place order with the factory. (Late November)
3. Track shipment of ToastyTotes from the factory to Kansas City. (January)
4. Ship all backers their ToastyTote. (February)
Backers are our #1 priority.... you're our very first customers and going to make our dream a reality... and because of that we'll keep focused on you and the Kickstarter community.
Some projects get distracted when they get popular. If retailers call on us, we'll be flattered, but even if we're interested, we won't stock any of them until our Kickstarter order is fulfilled.
HOW YOU CAN HELP...
1. Make a Pledge to become a Backer.
We want to build a long-term business that truly cares about making your life just a little easier and more comfortable. We'd be stoked if you joined us.
2. Share Our Story
Share our Kickstarter Campaign via email, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, text messages and through old fashioned conversations.
3. Give Us Feedback
We want to hear from you. What do you think of what we are doing? What could we be doing better. What designs do you want to see in the future? What team colors do you want to see? The more feedback we have, the better product we can provide for you. see other projects: http://kickingitforward.org
4. Like us on Facebook
5. Follow us on Twitter
You rock and we appreciate all of your support!
Sincerely, Christian, Connie, Jake, Chris and our entire team
Risks and challenges
uuixWe are fully committed to making this project happen and will take on any challenges head on. We care deeply about quality, and know you do too. Because of this, there could be production delays due to quality control. The odds of this are low, as our manufacturer has some of the tightest quality controls in the industry. Bottom line is we won't ship you something until it's perfect.
There could also be potential delays from our manufacturer. This is unlikely, as our manufacturer has multiple production facilities which gives us redundancy to ensure we will get ToastyTote produced and in the hands of our backers. But, if there are any delays, we will let you know and be as transparent as possible.
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