$19,801
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129
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, October 23 2014 1:00 PM UTC +00:00
$19,801
pledged of $125,000pledged of $125,000 goal
129
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, October 23 2014 1:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

Kiki the Koala is the newest character in the Zylie & Friends series of adventure teddy bears. 

Zylie and her traveling Friends pull the best qualities of dolls, stuffed animals, action figures and stories, combining to become a full, rich experience that will help to inspire kids to "unplug play" from screens and go on adventures of their own. In short, these doll-shaped adventuring animals are not your average teddy bears!

Why Kids--and Future Innovators--Need Kiki!

My name is Mary Beth and, when I was a young mother, I noticed how much time kids were spending in front of screens instead of playing. With screentime rocketing to almost 50 hours a week and play declining by up to 12 hours a week, my son Matt and I decided to do something about it! While that statistic might sound trivial, play is super important for a growing child, aiding in brain development, building creative problem-solving skills, confidence, collaboration and leadership.Tech-based play and educational programming have many benefits, but they are not a real replacement unstructured playtime.

We DO NOT think the answer is strict rules or an all-or-nothing attitude about devices. Instead, like with anything, moderation is key, and finding something that gets kids really excited about playing again is the answer.

(You can read more about this important issue, the research behind it, and a few actionable steps we can all take towards solving it in my article on Huffington Post Parents!)

Get out and play! The Bratayley girls channeling their inner Amelia Earhart!
Get out and play! The Bratayley girls channeling their inner Amelia Earhart!

We created Zylie & Friends and their series of storybooks as a vehicle to both inspire kids to get off the couch and go on adventures (following Zylie’s lead to explore new things, learn how stuff works, and make things with the power of their curiosity and creativity) AS WELL as to help parents and guardians initiate play. We've found time and time again that kids are naturally attracted to her as a cuddly, friendly teddy bear and they are quickly engrossed with the stories of her adventures around the globe. As she travels, she meets new friends like Shen the Panda from China, gets her passport stamped, and learns about new cultures.

As a small family business, we’ve inspired thousands of kids to put down screens and go on adventures instead, but we need your help to keep Zylie’s adventure going by bringing her next Friend to life: Kiki the Koala.

Meet Kiki the Koala

Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit
Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit

Kiki is a sporty koala from Australia who loves pushing herself to accomplish new things and, like Zylie, has a strong spirit of adventure. Also like Zylie and Shen, she is a cute, cuddly, 18” tall stuffed animal that is shaped like a doll, has articulating joints and wears fashionable, fun clothes.

Intended age range: 4-9

A scene from Zylie's Adventure Down Under, included in the Kiki Adventure Kit!
A scene from Zylie's Adventure Down Under, included in the Kiki Adventure Kit!
Like all of the Adventure Kits, she comes with her signature outfit, hardcover storybook, passport and map. (More details below!)

The Full Zylie & Friends Adventure Collection

Here's the whole award-winning gang, ready for their next adventure!
Here's the whole award-winning gang, ready for their next adventure!

Meet Zylie the Bear

Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit
Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit
An exciting scene from Zylie's Adventure in the Big Apple, included with the Zylie Adventure Kit!
An exciting scene from Zylie's Adventure in the Big Apple, included with the Zylie Adventure Kit!

Zylie is an inquisitive young kodiak bear who lives with her younger brother Theo and her Aunt Willa in New York. She’s curious about how things work and is always looking to explore the world around her. She’s a responsible older sister (even if that means tolerating Theo’s epic sneezes—he’s allergic to almost EVERYTHING) and is inspired by Aunt Willa’s insights about life. Being an award-winning journalist who has covered stories all over the globe, Aunt Willa has certainly instilled her own sense of adventure in Zylie and Theo, as well as an open mind, eyes and ears to new experiences, cultures and stories.

Zylie is a fashionable bear but also doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, and the only thing on her bedroom wall that rivals her giant world map in size is a poster of the Brooklyn Bridge, because she is fascinated with how it was engineered and built over 100 years ago!

Meet Shen the Panda

Shen the Panda Adventure Kit
Shen the Panda Adventure Kit
A scene from Zylie's Adventure on the Silk Road, included with the Shen Adventure Kit!
A scene from Zylie's Adventure on the Silk Road, included with the Shen Adventure Kit!

Shen is a funky, fun-loving panda from Chengdu in central China. He meets Zylie and her younger brother Theo and they all instantly hit it off. Shen dreams of one day becoming a famous rock and roll drummer, and has a true appreciation for music, arts and culture, even at a young age.

Shen getting in some quality adventure reading time over breakfast
Shen getting in some quality adventure reading time over breakfast

Making the Bears

A lot of people have asked us how we go about designing, prototyping, sampling and making Zylie, Shen and now Kiki. So we decided to show you! Here's Mary Beth explaining her process:

Designing the Outfits

We have a LOT of fun designing outfits for Zylie, Shen and Kiki, and that's all thanks to our brilliant fashion designer, Katie Fong. Katie was actually the daughter of our local dry cleaner, and her dad had been posting her work behind his cash register since she was working with crayons. Thankfully, by the time we were on the lookout for a young designer, her work had become phenomenal, Mary Beth asked her dad if we could talk to her, and the rest is history! (oh, and she was 17 when she cut her teeth designing teddy bear clothes, but now she's launched her own INCREDIBLE fashion label, Katie Fong!) We visited her in her new studio to ask a few questions about her design process:

An example of Katie's great design work, the popular Bear's Pajamas outfit!
An example of Katie's great design work, the popular Bear's Pajamas outfit!

What exactly is this monthly postcard thing?

Since the concept of getting real, physical mail that you ACTUALLY WANT to receive has become wildly foreign to most humans these days, here's a little more info on what all you get from Zylie and her Friends each month in your mailbox:

One of the postcards Zylie will be sending back from her travels!
One of the postcards Zylie will be sending back from her travels!

Testimonials!

Our mission to "unplug play"

Here's Mary Beth on the TEDx stage talking about our mission to get kids off the couch and back into the world of play and adventure!

MANUFACTURING TIMELINE:

This Kickstarter is all about helping us get the first 5,000 orders of Kiki the Koala so we can meet the factory minimum for our first production run. Kiki will be ready and delivered to your doorstep no later than March, 2015.

BUT…we know you probably want some adventuring teddy bears in time for the holidays too. We've had plenty of practice with producing Zylie and Shen and are able to offer them for delivery to you by late November 2014. Those supplies are limited though, so act now!

WE ALSO don't like the idea of everyone waiting around, twiddling their thumbs and checking the mail every day in eager anticipation of Kiki’s arrival, with nothing showing up until next year. SO, we’re launching our monthly postcard so your kids can keep track of the bears’ adventures as they make their way closer to their Down Under destination. With each pledge we are including a 6-month subscription of Zylie’s postcards. That’s SIX postcards, addressed to your child and delivered to your mailbox, once a month. You’ll even have the option to renew when your 6 months is up.

REWARDS:

Monthly Postcard ($10)

We discovered that the only humans who still actually LIKE getting physical mail are children (probably because they don’t get bills or jury summons). But what kids like more than just getting mail is getting mail FROM ZYLIE! With this tier you get a postcard sent from Zylie to your child updating them on her travels once a month for six months.

*Note: All postcards will begin delivery November 2014

‘Little Adventurer’ T-Shirt ($25)

Let your little one wear their spirit of adventure proudly with an awesome Little Adventurer tee, available in Children’s Sizes 3T,4T, Youth S,M,L. And since us grown-ups like both t-shirts AND adventures too, they're available in Adult Sizes S,M,L as well! This reward ALSO INCLUDES six monthly adventure postcards, because you'll already be rocking Zylie's sense of adventure on your clothes, we thought you should be keeping up on Zylie's own adventures as she travels around with her Friends!

'Little Adventurer' t-shirts!
'Little Adventurer' t-shirts!

Delivery Date: November 2014

Early-Bird Special: Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit ($40)

This is it, the reason you’re all here! We’ve been wanting to launch Kiki’s adventure for so long, but we still needed help to place the minimum order with the factory. Developing and producing a new adventure teddy bear (sorry, MARSUPIAL) like Kiki isn’t easy or cheap, but we still want to get her and her fun, furry adventure kit into as many Little Adventurers' hands as possible. So the first 150 people to pledge get their Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit for just $40, including free shipping in the United States.

Unfortunately, we can’t offer this price to international backers. If you are shipping internationally, please see the regular $50 pledge levels and add $25 to cover shipping costs.

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: March 2015

Regular Price: Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit ($50)

The same great sporty little 18” koala with her signature outfit, accessories, passport, and storybook, at our regular retail price of $50. Don’t forget, you get 6 monthly postcards with her for free! Free shipping to the US included, add $25 for international shipping.

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: March 2015

The ADVENTURE-SO-FAR Pack: Zylie, Shen, and extra outfits ($75)

If you haven’t already started your adventure with Zylie and her traveling Friends, this is your chance to, and at a great price to boot! You’ll be able to meet Zylie the Bear ‘in the plush’ and read about her exciting adventure in her hometown of New York. She even comes with a pair of pajamas for when the adventuring gets tough and the tough get…napping. Then it’s off to China where you’ll meet Shen the Panda, read about the gang’s adventure across China, and get Shen’s PJ’s too! Free shipping to the US included, add $35 for international shipping.

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit
  • Zylie’s Bear’s Pajamas Outfit Pack
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit
  • Shen’s Panda Pajamas Outfit Pack
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: November 2014

GET ALL THE FRIENDS: Zylie, Shen and Kiki Triple Pack ($125)

Get the whole adventure gang! All three Friends' Adventure Kits, traveling together right to your doorstep! Free shipping to the US included, add $40 for international shipping.

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit
  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: March 2015

Custom Illustration with KIKI THE KOALA ($500)

Who doesn’t want to see their child starring in their own illustrated adventure scene with these awesome bears? Get everything you receive in the GET ALL THE FRIENDS Pack, plus send us a photo of the Little Adventurer in your life, and our illustrator will draw a customized adventure scene with your little one alongside Zylie, Shen, Kiki and Theo having one heck of a good time.

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Personalized illustration of your child + Zylie & Friends characters
  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit
  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: March-May 2015

Talking Shop with the Founders ($1000)

Thinking of starting your own business but not sure where to start? We've made plenty of mistakes, and even made a few good decisions along the way too. We'd love to share all of the wisdom we've learned over the past 4 years building Zylie & Friends, and help you however we can to get you started on your own path to entrepreneurial success! Find your way to NYC to spend half a day with Mary Beth, Matt, and a few special guest entrepreneurs!

With this reward, you’ll get:

  • Half-day meeting--including lunch and lots of coffee--with Zylie & Friends founders
  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit 
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit 
  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit 
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: April-May 2015

A REAL LIFE New York Adventure with Zylie & Friends ($1500)

Find your way to the Big Apple and spend a day with Mary Beth and Matt on an adventure around their and Zylie’s home city! Hit all the spots Zylie and her little brother Theo visit in their first adventure storybook, plus get a behind-the-scenes look at the Zylie studio! Leave with signed versions of everything included in the GET ALL THE FRIENDS Pack, and get an exclusive peek at what’s next for Zylie and her adventuring Friends!

With this reward, you'll get:

  • A special day in NYC with Zylie co-founders Mary Beth and Matt 
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of Zylie & Friends HQ
  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit (autographed)
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit (autographed)
  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit (autographed)
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: March-June 2015

Design Your Own Adventure Teddy Bear Outfit ($3000)

This one is pretty, pretty cool. Zylie, Shen and Kiki have some pretty stylish outfits already, but we think your Little Adventurer can do better! We'll work with you and the child in your life to design the outfit of their dreams for Zylie, Shen or Kiki. We will help conceptualize, sketch, design, sample and produce that outfit specifically for you, and then hand deliver it, provided you live somewhere in the continental United States. You can invite all your friends over and throw a party just to brag that you got to design an ultra-exclusive outfit for the raddest teddy bears around! You'll also get autographed versions of everything that comes with the GET ALL THE FRIENDS Pack.

With this reward, you'll get:

  • A customized outfit that you/your child design with the Zylie & Friends team
  • A personal delivery of your outfit by Mary Beth or Matt
  • Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit (autographed) 
  • Shen the Panda Adventure Kit (autographed) 
  • Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit (autographed) 
  • 6 monthly adventure postcards

Delivery Date: June 2015

Fun Facts:

We thought it might be fun to answer some of the commonly asked questions we get with video responses rather than boring old text. We'll be adding these videos as we film them, and will respond to any popular questions you ask in the comments section of this Kickstarter!

How did you come up with the name 'Zylie'?

My name is Mary Beth and, when I was a young mother, I noticed how much time kids were spending in front of screens instead of playing. With screentime rocketing to almost 50 hours a week and play declining by up to 12 hours a week, my son Matt and I decided to do something about it! While that statistic might sound trivial, play is super important for a growing child, aiding in brain development, building creative problem-solving skills, confidence, collaboration and leadership.Tech-based play and educational programming have many benefits, but they are not a real replacement unstructured playtime. (or something like this)

(info moved up, slight editing) We DO NOT think the answer is strict rules or an all-or-nothing attitude about devices. Instead, like with anything, moderation is key, and finding something that gets kids really excited about playing again is the answer.

(You can read more about this important issue, the research behind it, and a few actionable steps we can all take towards solving it in my article on

Risks and challenges

We’ve been producing great, award-winning adventure teddy bears for over 3 years now, and are more than a little wacky about quality, so we feel extremely confident that we can manufacture and deliver Kiki and the rest of our bears, outfits, books and postcards to your family or the Little Adventurer in your life at a high standard of quality and on time.

However, unexpected hurdles are always possible (for instance, we got a call from our factory last week that they were closed down by a typhoon! Luckily everyone is fine, and it won’t effect anything related to this Kickstarter project. But unforeseen events do happen!). Here are some of the ways we’re handling those risks:

WHAT HAPPENS IF THIS KICKSTARTER GOES TOO WELL?

Aw, you shouldn’t have! We’re thrilled that you’re already concerned about this campaign being successful, and rest assured we’ve thought about it A LOT here at Zylie HQ. The main things we are preparing for in the event that demand far exceeds our expectations is being ready with additional materials and ensuring that we can expand production capacity at our factory. Both questions were answered with an enthusiastic “YES!” from our factory, and we are confident we can handle that “champagne problem,” as we like to refer to such scenarios.

SHIPPING

While we have a very nifty third-party logistics provider (in the industry they call them “3PLs”) to manage the fulfillment process for us, we do ship Zylie, Shen and Kiki from the factory the old-fashioned way: across an ocean on a ship. Things these ships can encounter along their travels, ranging from the possible to the highly improbable: storms; mechanical problems; customs delays; giant waves; mutiny; pirates; real-life manifestations of the alien monsters from Guillermo del Torro’s Pacific Rim. While we will try our best to avoid ANY delays in the delivery date, we will be 100% transparent with any updates or changes. We’ll also be sending you updates throughout the production and shipping process to keep you posted on progress!

OUR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY

And by quality, we’re not just referring to how well Zylie, Shen, Kiki, or any of our other products are crafted, the materials we use, the patterns we work from or the checks and balances we have put in place to ensure everything that ends up on your doorstep is as great as it can be.

All of that is incredibly important to us, but we’re also committed to your happiness. We’re here to do everything we possibly can to make your adventure—whether you’re hearing about us for the first time and embarking on a new and exciting unplugged exploration, or if you’re here to continue your adventures by adding Kiki to the mix—as memorable and fantastic as possible. If there is anything we can do to make your adventure better, please contact us at kickstarter@zyliethebear.com or on the good, old-fashioned telephone at 866-925-2842 (press 2 to speak to Mary Beth, press 3 to speak to Matt).

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Zylie's Monthly Postcard

    Your little adventurer will be eagerly waiting by the mailbox for a postcard from Zylie each month! Each postcard will be addressed to your child, and will have a new "photo" from their travels, along with a personal note on the back describing their exciting adventure. This reward covers 6 monthly postcards, at which point you can easily renew your subscription if you and your child are enjoying the updates!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Little Adventurers T-Shirt

    Wear your spirit of adventure with pride and joy! Pick up this limited-edition Zylie & Friends t-shirt with an awesome "Little Adventurers" graphic on the front, available in both Kids 3T,4T,S,M,L and Adult S,M,L!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    **Early Bird Special: Kiki the Koala**

    This is it, the ADVENTURE you've all been waiting for! The complete Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit, including your 18" jointed plush Kiki koala bear, signature outfit, tote bag, passport, map and the 3rd storybook, "Zylie's Adventure Down Under"!! Everyone will have a blast unplugging playtime to help Kiki find her way across the Australian outback with Zylie, her little brother Theo and their friend Shen the Panda! **Includes 6 monthly adventure postcards mailed directly to your Little Adventurer.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ******Kiki the Koala Adventure Kit******

    Same as the Early Bird Special for Kiki the Koala above, at the everyday price of $50! **Includes 6 monthly adventure postcards mailed directly to your Little Adventurer.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    The ADVENTURE-SO-FAR Pack: *******Zylie, Shen + Extra Outfits*******

    If you haven’t already started your adventure with Zylie and her traveling Friends, this is your chance to, and at a great price to boot! Get a Zylie the Bear Adventure Kit (18" jointed plush Zylie, signature outfit, purse, diary, map, passport and the 1st storybook) + Shen the Panda Adventure Kit (18" jointed plush Shen, signature outfit, backpack, drumsticks, passport, and the 2nd storybook) + an extra pair of pajamas for each bear! **Includes 6 monthly adventure postcards mailed directly to your Little Adventurer.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    GET ALL THE FRIENDS: ***********Zylie, Shen and KIKI**********

    Get the whole adventure gang and save! All three Friends' Adventure Kits, traveling together right to your doorstep! **Includes 6 monthly adventure postcards mailed directly to your Little Adventurer.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Custom Illustration with KIKI THE KOALA

    Who doesn’t want to see their child starring in their own illustrated adventure scene with these awesome bears? Get everything you receive in the GET ALL THE FRIENDS pack, plus send us a photo of the little adventurer in your life, and our illustrator will draw a customized adventure scene with your little one alongside Zylie, Shen, Kiki and Theo having one heck of a good time!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Talking Shop with the Founders

    Thinking of starting your own business but not sure where to start? We've made every mistake you can possibly make, and have even made a few good decisions along the way too. We'd love to share whatever wisdom we've learned over the past 4 years building Zylie & Friends, and help you however we can to get you started on your path to entrepreneurial success! Find your way to NYC to spend half a day with Mary Beth, Matt, and a few special guest entrepreneurs! **Also includes everything in the GET ALL THE FRIENDS pack!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    A REAL LIFE New York Adventure with Zylie & Friends

    Find your way to New York and spend a day with Mary Beth and Matt on an adventure around their and Zylie’s home city! Hit all the spots Zylie and her little brother Theo visit in their first adventure storybook, plus get a behind-the-scenes look at the Zylie studio! Leave with signed versions of everything included in the GET ALL THE FRIENDS pack, and get an exclusive peek at what’s next for Zylie and her adventuring friends!

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Design Your Own Outfit!!

    This one is pretty, PRETTY cool. Zylie, Shen and KIKI have some pretty cool outfits already, but we think your little adventurer can do better! We'll work with you and the child in your life to design the outfit of their dreams for Zylie, Shen or Kiki. We will help conceptualize, sketch, design, sample and produce that outfit specifically for you, and then hand deliver it, provided you live somewhere in the continental United States. You can invite all your friends over and throw a party just to brag that you got to design an ultra-exclusive outfit for the raddest teddy bears around! You'll also get everything that comes with the GET ALL THE FRIENDS pack.

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Funding period

- (30 days)