A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
A fresh take on a stagnant, commoditized product, the Kidproof Marker is the world'sfirst PERMANENT marker with a child-resistant cap* (patent pending). This helps prevent small children from removing the cap and defacing the walls, floors, furniture, and persons in your home, saving you valuable time and money! Yet adults can still remove the marker cap quickly and easily when needed.
Don't think your toddler can remove a regular permanent marker cap? Watch my 18 month old daughter do it in seconds.
The 2 piece, patent-pending cap is removed by applying downward pressure and torque (i.e. turn it) to the cap at the same time. This mechanism presents a challenge to small children because:
Most small children do NOT have the motor skills necessary to press down AND spin the cap simultaneously, at least not hard enough to remove the cap.
Most small children have trouble understanding the logic of pushing on something to move it in the opposite direction.
This makes the cap of the Kidproof Marker much more secure than a typical permanent marker.
Watch a demonstration of the child-resistant pen cap in action.
The Kidproof Marker is designed to effectively stop children approximately 6 years and under from removing the cap. Of course, every child is different and they mature at different rates. And frankly, some are just downright devious! :) Our goal wasn't to make the marker cap impossible to remove, just harder for smaller children. Most importantly, we wanted to keep the design simple to ensure that the Kidproof Marker was affordable by everyone.
My 18 month old vs. the Kidproof Marker.
Of course, even if your child is a diabolical mastermind and manages to remove the cap, worst case, you still have an excellent permanent marker at a reasonable price, all while helping a small business get it's feet under it. What do you have to lose?
My 5 year old daughter vs. the Kidproof. She is our resident permanent marker make up artist.
As far as we can tell, we are the first to bring this idea to market. The idea for the Kidproof Permanent Marker came to me about 5 years ago when my oldest child got a hold of permanent marker and defaced one of our nice leather couches. I was upset with him for effectively ruining the couch but more angry at myself for leaving the marker somewhere a 2 year old could find it and use it. I figured there had to be marker out there that a small child couldn't open on their own and began searching, but was stunned to find no real options.
After dozens of prototypes (and a lot of testing with my kids, nieces, and nephews) we created a design that worked great and looked pretty good too. Now we are excited to make the Kidproof Permanent Marker available to the Kickstarter community!
James Strayer and Brant Stock talk about the genesis of Kidproof.
Washable markers are great for KIDS, and we encourage parents to buy them for their KIDS to use. Of course, Kidproof Permanent Markers are not for kids, they are for adults, as many parents find themselves in need of a PERMANENT marker solution at some point each week. In fact, I bet you have 3 or 4 in your home right now! Have your small children ever found them and destroyed something? Probably. If you are one of these parents (or know some) spending a few extra cents now could save you a lot of hard work or $$$ in the long run. If they haven't destroyed anything yet...well, give it a little time. :)
The Kidproof Permanent Marker comes in 5 colors - Black, Red, Blue, Green, and Purple. It is available in 5 packs (same color and multi-coloroptions). Our markers do cost a bit more than a regular old permanent marker, but are still very inexpensive. In fact, our marker packs are cheaper than many other Kickstarter project's shipping fees! As Kickstarter no longer permits photorealistic 3D renderings, here is a swatch depicting the available colors. See our website for more info and renderings.
We have functioning 3D printed prototypes at this stage and need money for molds ($40k alone!), manufacturing (min orders), assembly, packaging, shipping (Kickstarter counts the Backer shipping fees towards your goal amount), and Kickstarter/payment processor fees (8-10%). We have shortlisted manufactures and are in the final selection process. Manufacturer lead time is currently at 30-60 days. Mold making, sample quality inspection, and material fine tuning will take another 30-60, with actual production taking approximately 60-90 days, depending on volume/demand. As such, we expect to start shipping backer orders in May 2017.
Our goal is to raise enough money on Kickstarter to launch the final, finished product successfully with enough momentum to get the attention of major retailers who would ultimately carry the markers. If successfully funded, we also hope to expand into a broader line of markers, including ball point pens and dry erase markers. Essentially we are considering any pen/marker type where this concept would be relevant.
What will be the differences between the final product and the current 3D printed prototypes?
The primary differences will be in finish and artwork. 3D printing tends to leave a roughly textured surface whereas injection molded pieces provide a much smoother, shinier appearance like any other markers you would find at the store. The final product will also include printed artwork such as logos. Again, since photorealistic 3D renderings are no longer permitted, here is an explanatory graphic - see our website for more info and renderings.
*This is not a guarantee or warranty. Kidproof Markers assumes no liability should your child remove the cap of a Kidproof Permanent Marker and subsequently damage persons or personal property.
Risks and challenges
My primary partner for this project, Brant Stock, has produced a number of products to date using overseas manufacturing. He will be overseeing operations and delivery of the product with our manufacturing partner. We have done our best to minimize risks by soliciting bids from manufacturing partners in China that specialize in manufacturing markers and have already produced and shipped millions of pens and markers worldwide. These manufacturers have massive capacity and can ship hundreds of thousands of pens per month if needed. This is what they do for a living and they are very good at it.
By having an experienced manufacturing partner responsible for the whole product, it significantly reduces risks associated with coordinating multiple manufacturing partners who may be responsible for different components of a product. To be safe, we have bids from multiple manufacturers who will be ready should our selected partner experience a natural disaster, massive worker strike, or something else of that nature.
Of course moving from prototype to production will likely involve a bit of tweaking in the designs, materials, and finishes, and my 15 years of Product Management experience tells me that we will run into some snags, but we believe our risks are minimal as there are no electronics, software, or similar complexities to this project that could lead to extended delays. Having said that, our funding goal includes enough to cover changes to molds, packaging designs, etc. should it prove necessary.
I will also say that as a backer of a number of Kickstarter projects in the last few years, I know how painful it can be to wait months or even years for delayed rewards. My team and I are committed to doing everything we can to ensure timely communications to you, the customer, and a smooth production and delivery process.