We are Candylab – a proudly crowdsourced company, born three years ago right here on Kickstarter.
And now we're back with some even better stuff: we’ve got three new cars, modernist building blocks to create an entire universe, and to top it all off, this campaign will help launch Candylab’s very own manufacturing facility, right here in the US.
We are clearly in love with cars. The land boat, the muscle car, the boxy leaf spring truck, 60’s kind.
Here are the the latest three straight from our lab, and may your imagination take you to wonderful places!
They are inextricable from a certain way of life, and we want to capture all that in our toy car designs. We distill the visual cues we love into handcrafted wood cars, made from solid beech, painted with water-based paints and sporting silicone tires.
7/26 Update: As a later addition via Update #@, we made our Green Camper available too.
Aside from our love of cars, we are also perennially enthralled by the entire spirit and pioneering design movement happening in the 60’s in the US: the modernist movement, the desert midcentury architecture and the industrial design renaissance of the post-war years. So let’s hit the gas!
This is our wood block set entry kit with an innovative rubber connector to keep what you build in one piece. The clever geometry allows for endless expansion and configurations. This kit will be made in USA with Uncle Goose’s help. (if you have not heard of them yet – you’ve been missing out)
So we finally did what we’ve been burning to do for a while: we started creating a universe. We designed, engineered and are ready to launch into production a new set of simple wood blocks that assemble into the boxy, streamlined architecture of that era, down to the pastel colors. Slap our new roof signs on and voila, you can morph that box into whatever your imagination creates.
And because no road trip vibe is complete without an iconic giant arty motel sign, we are launching that too: a road sign that’s 30ft tall! Kidding. It’s only 8”, but at scale compared to a real 1965 2-door hauler, that is about the height it would reach.
The Lone Cactus sign is the first in this lineup. Made from elm wood, base weighted, with safe water based paints and silicone rubber lettering. No corners have been harmed – or cut - in the making of this sign.
That was the quick lowdown – now let’s cruise for a bit. Keep scrolling – there is more to the story after this.
If you’ve been keeping up with the tribulations from our beginnings three years ago (totally fine if you didn’t - our internet fame was less than that of a moderately cute cat pic) you will remember that thanks to you, our backers here on Kickstarter, we entirely skipped the garage phase. Thanks to the strength in numbers you offered, we jumped right into contract manufacturing overseas.
We now tightly control the process, orchestrating each separate supplier ourselves and we managed to create and manufacture a product that by toy standards was very difficult to make. And it sure is, as a look around commercial wooden toy offerings quickly shows. We had to quickly learn and juggle multiple issues, from international logistics, to woodworking and developing sales channels.
But we always wanted to make these toys right here, close to home. So far we have failed to find a single US supplier that will make these for us while allowing a profit for themselves, us, and result in a sustainable cost to you, our early adopters and customers. Needless to say – commercial success and a sensible retail price are essential to growing and sticking around as a company.
Which brings us to the entire point of this campaign, aside from launching the awesome new products we just revealed.
We intend to take the remaining proceeds from this campaign, after covering expenses for the rewards, manufacturing, and shipping, and invest in setting up a manufacturing outpost. We have three reasons for being optimistic about the success of this new venture:
- We found a perfect space a three-hour drive away from our Brooklyn base. This will solve the real estate part of the equation, one that was most vexing in fact.
- Our tests so far with retrofitted off the shelf miter saws, raspberry pi’s, actuators and a bit custom software show that automation will allow us to make our toys profitably, while still being able to hit a reasonable retail price. We are now experts at making these – having developed our unique tooling and jigs to make our special pieces.
- The most important aspect though is our Uncle*: Mr. Pete from Uncle Goose. He is living proof that this can work.
The Uncle Goose approach demonstrates that not only can you deliver exceptional unwavering product quality and profitably run an American toy factory for a few decades but also achieve full independence and sustainability, from locally harvested lumber to hiring folks that live a short drive away.
We’re still far off from the Uncle Goose model, but we have to start somewhere. Today is just as good as any, help us start this factory!
This is where we answer your burning – but specific - questions about the products themselves. For campaign logistics, keep scrolling.
What makes Our Sweet Rides As with previous and current designs, all are fully tested to comply with US, European, Australian and NZ safety requirements. We exceed those.
All models use prime quality solid beech wood lumber – imported from Germany, sometimes New Zealand. Our beech has no knots, is kiln dried, and is almost as workable and stable as a solid block of aluminum.
Each car has precision engineered wheel pins for its independent axles– 4 of them. High grade ABS plastic rims, and Silicone tires. Only the best stuff – and it shows: our cars roll really fast and far.
Rosewood Microveneer and Real Magnets The Pioneer is a special treat: It includes 3 powerful micromagnets, buried deep in the wood body – they can never come out unless one purposefully cuts up the car. This allows a neat little trick: Tow a Camper and carry that canoe up top without losing it at highway speeds. We use Michigan-sourced microveneer from our awesome supplier; and it’s Rosewood, less than 1mm thick. Quite a hi-tech feat.
Rewards: If you’re a Kickstarter veteran, just consult the rewards diagram below. If you’re new to Kickstarter, also consult the rewards below - except that once you hit the green “Pledge” button you’ll have to create an account. It’s easy peasy. The rewards summary below does not include shipping - it will vary depending on your geographical location.
FAQ’s – Please read them, especially if you live outside the US. In this particular case, we feel this is important enough to mention here: Customs, Import duties or any other local levies are to be covered by the recipient.
Combining Rewards: If you'd like to pledge more than one item, please identify shipping costs for each, and 1) add it all up then 2) Type in the corresponding amount in the pledge field. Your entire total pledge will be reconfirmed once the campaign ends.
Shipping: We know, it's really expensive for you international folks. We strictly charge what postage actually costs and pay for warehousing, shipping cartons, labeling and on from the general overhead remaining. That is what carriers charge these days.
Combining Rewards Shipping costs: There are many possible combinations of the rewards, countries and shipping weights. We tried our best to offer a fair deal, but please read the FAQ detailing this aspect.
International Shipments: All international shipments are subject to duties, taxes and clearing fees which you are responsible for paying - your pledges are without sales-tax or VAT. All Kickstarter rewards will be considered gifts, however, most countries will assess duties/taxes and in certain countries the carrier will pre-pay the duties and taxes and bill you later. If you refuse delivery, your package will be abandoned. Once abandoned, we can’t ship another package to you or issue a refund. Filling out your shipping address correctly is very important. A wring address and package sent back will incur shipping charges back to USA on our account.
Risks and challenges
This is our 3rd campaign; we have successfully completed 2 campaigns so far over a span of 3 years. We have developed a retail network, attended trade shows and assembled a nimble and competent team. Our Christmas deliveries last year brought many smiles - as you happily cheered us on.
While it's never 100% smooth as we have learned the hard way - and a new lesson is always around the corner- we are a mean lean toy machine, with a proven track record. It speaks for itself, and we're ready to knock this one out of the park again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (41 days)