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$5,473 pledged of $20,000 goal
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By Shawn Kessler
$5,473 pledged of $20,000 goal
backers

About

Hello Kickstarter!

Pop-Up Playland started with a simple question from my daughter, "Why isn't there a better way to take a hamster, or other small pet, out of their cage and play with them?" Hamster balls are sometimes fun but you can’t really interact with the hamster while they are rolling around the house (and hopefully not down the stairs). Shoe boxes lack the ability for your small animal to "play" while they are stuck in the box...they run from wall to wall and try to find a way out! And letting the hamster run around on the bedroom floor just isn't safe at all!

So my daughter and I wanted to create a small pet play pen...a fun, safe, portable enclosure that your little critter can really enjoy while being out of their cage.  We wanted it to enrich the pet's daily life with new elements to play with.  And we wanted it to be one of the coolest ways to play with your small pet.  That's when it hit us: "Why not have the entire play pen pop-up just like a pop-up book?"  It seemed so simple yet so original.  And that's when the  Pop-Up Playland project began...

The Design

When the idea was first conceived,  our first step was to understand whether the concept of a pop up enclosure with play elements was possible.  With the help of expert paper engineers, we discussed multiple approaches to the design and  came up with a simplistic approach that would allow for walls to pop up when the unit was opened.  Below is one of the first sketches developed for the vision.

Next, we wanted to have fun pop-up play elements incorporated into the design to allow for an instant play area when the unit was opened.  We wanted something that kids would enjoy seeing spring to life just as much as the small animal pets would enjoy playing in it.

This is when we teamed up with Renee Jablow, a Grammy award nominee who has paper-engineered projects for Disney, Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Martha Stewart Crafts, Simon & Schuster, Reader's Digest, and Up With Paper. 

Renee was on point and developed several very cool elements including a main castle with ladder and fully functional seesaw that was tested and enjoyed by our pop-up tester, Munchkin.

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When we saw that our first prototype was such a huge hit with Munchkin and our other hamsters (and a hit with the neighborhood kids), we knew this was something special.

So we decided to move forward to create a full color prototype….

Illustration

More than just adding color to the elements, we wanted to bring the playland to life!  We wanted to capture all the magic from illustrations you might see in a top quality pop-up book.  We found an artist, Bev Chapman, who could do just that and we started to see the pop-up playground come to life. Bev is a phenomenal artist who worked on dozens of shows including the Simpsons and Family Guy. 

And before long, we had awesome illustrations for not only the inside of the playpen, but cover art as well!!

Manufacturing

With all the pieces coming together and the final prototype in the works, it was time to reach out to manufacturers to help us turn the idea into a real product.  After speaking with several companies who regularly produce pop-up books, we selected a company that shared our vision and we received an estimated quote for the first run.  The funds we are requesting will be used to supplement a portion of these manufacturing costs for a minimum run.

The product itself is constructed with reinforced cardboard based materials, and all inks are soy-based, making them safe for your pet.  And the laminated floor will make clean up easy!

Timeline

Once we give the green light to the manufacturer, it should take about 4-5 months for the final product to be delivered and ready for distribution. We anticipate final delivery to you in August.

Meet the Team

Myself (Shawn): For the past 20 years I have held various operational and technical roles at several start-up and Fortune 1000 companies. During this time, I have helped bring over 15 new products to market. My strengths lie in my ability to set project deadlines, clearly lay out the path to success, and to motivate a team to hit target dates and quality bars. 

I intend to bring this experience to bear with Pop-Up Playland as I work with our team over the coming months to make this product a reality.

Olivia, my daughter, is our creative consultant and entrepreneur-in-training.

Scott Blacker is a good friend of mine and MBA from the University of Michigan. He brings a hard business nose to the team and makes sure that whatever we do, we don't lose money. He's also drives all of our on-line marketing campaigns and manages our website.

Mike Lui is a good friend, co-worker, and business partner...and he is the driving force behind all of our marketing and distribution efforts. Today he executes our social media and PR strategies, and as we grow he'll be the one taking us into pet shops all over the country!

Renee Jablow is a Grammy award nominee who has paper-engineered projects for Disney, Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Martha Stewart Crafts, Simon & Schuster, Reader's Digest, and Up With Paper. She engineered the actual playland and her creative energy and deep connections in the world of all things Pop-Up have been instrumental in getting us up and running.

Bev Chapman is a nationally recognized artist who has illustrated for shows such as the Simpsons and Family Guy. When we met Bev, we instantly knew her style matched the vision for where we wanted to take Pop-Up Playland and her colorful illustrations and vision have really brought the product to life. 

Funding

The product has been developed and the game plan is in place to bring this to market, but we need your help to get to the next level!! The goal is to raise at least a portion of the manufacturing costs to truly bring the project to life.  The $20,000 helps supplement these manufacturing and shipping costs in order to place the minimum 1st order run and start the business!

Thank you for reading our story and for your funding consideration!

Here are some pictures of our final prototype

Cover Art
Cover Art
Samantha
Samantha
Can you spot Munchkin?
Can you spot Munchkin?
Chutes and ladders!
Chutes and ladders!
Tunnels!
Tunnels!

Risks and challenges

We now have two working prototypes; we have selected a manufacturer and have confidence that they can produce our product. Until we have placed an order, however, we will not see an actual sample of the final product from the manufacturer. The manufacturer has a long and experienced history in creating pop-up items, but our product requires several variations from the average pop-ups they are used to working with. While we don’t see this as a major issue, it may take several sample versions to get it right, which could delay our timeline.

Another challenge we see post Kickstarter is a better understanding of the market place. We are creating a new type of toy for small animals. While we know that there are 1.5M households in the US who have a small pet, our data for hamster owners who desire a toy such as ours is limited. Our initial feedback has been all positive but we are continuing to test the market to better understand the general interest to purchase.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thank you for your support! We'll send you a thank-you e-mail and provide updates on our progress.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We'll email you a high resolution image of our cover art as well as keep you informed with the latest updates.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Have a sticker on us! Enjoy a logo sticker sent out to you along with an email that includes a high resolution image of our cover art. We'll also make sure you get notified about the latest and greatest going on with Munchkin.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Early Bird. Receive a first run edition of Pop-Up Playland. Of course, we'll keep you updated on all of our progress. Shipping is included for US backers.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Receive a first run edition of Pop-Up Playland. Of course, we'll keep you updated on all of our progress. Shipping is included for US backers.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Buy a brick. Receive a first run edition of Pop-Up Playland and have your initials (or name) printed on a brick within the product. Your initials will be part of the actual product shipped!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Customize your Pop-Up Playland. Send us a picture of your pet and we'll create a sticker pack using pictures of your actual pet! We'll affix one large sticker to the outside of the product and send you a complete set of stickers to decorate your Playland plus leave you with plenty of extras to play with. Of course, we'll also add your name or initials to a brick within the actual product.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Munchkin is our mascot hamster. At the $750 level, you have the opportunity to name one of our four remaining mascots (subject to Olivia's approval) plus we'll send you one of our first run editions with your name or initials printed on a brick within the product.

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Funding period

- (35 days)