About this project
Lenz Frenz is an adorable, plush animal that safely stores eyeglasses inside its protective hard-shelled belly case, as well as displaying them securely on its face, so the animal can wear glasses, just like you or your child does!
Besides being adorable, Lenz Frenz is a great tool for training your child to put their glasses away! It's simple, quick, and fun-- and they won't lose their glasses anymore!
Our patent pending character animals have an opening on their backs that reveals a hidden, full-sized glasses case, fully lined inside the bear that can be securely opened and closed. Our animals also have a unique system for storing your eyeglasses safely on its face. Simply remove the character's current eyeglasses and fit your's into the existing holders for eyeglasses.
Additionally, we have created L'il Lenz Frenz for contact lens wearers. L'il Lenz Frenz are smaller and hold contact lens cases inside our adorable character animals, and they can attach to backpacks, purses, etc., with the attached clip. They are smaller, easily portable, and easy to find!
Lenz Frenz began with a tragic incident involving my son Liam. He was stabbed in the eye by a bully who had been tormenting him regularly. A quarter inch of lead broke off in his eye and he required emergency surgery in an effort to save his eye.
During my son's recovery we got him used to the idea of wearing glasses by placing toy eyeglasses on his stuffed animals, in case he needed to wear them. He suggested we use the animals to hold the glasses, too, inside their bellies--like the animals were eating them and storing them at the same time. When we couldn't find anything on the market that resembled his idea, we decided to make our own, and Lenz Frenz was born!
Liam has a tender heart toward children with vision-related issues, and he wanted to help them cope with the life-changing event of wearing eyeglasses. Lenz Frenz is the combination of a young boy's tender heart for others and his mother's loving desire to help her child cope.
It is our hope that you will appreciate the love and care that has been put into creating this very special product, and we hope it will benefit someone you love.
I first began with sketches of what I thought the animal might look like. These are my EXACT sketches I sent to my patent attorney, nothing fancy. And I used the book, The Mom Inventors Handbook, by Tamara Monosoff, to help me get started, since I had no clue how to start this process.
These are some of my first handmade prototypes. We went to Build-a-Bear and bought animal shells. I used duct tape to make a hard shell inside. I had to add a lot of extra filler so the animal wouldn't fall over.
With encouraging words and great advice from our local SBA (small business administration) and SCORE (retired professionals) offices, we contacted a patent attorney to help us secure a non-provisional patent (full patent). Here's one of our first product drawings we received back from our patent attorney's office. We also received confirmation back from the USPTO that we were filed.
After we paid for the patent process, we had to decide which route we would pursue: licensing or manufacturing.
Initially, we pursued licensing since it would be far less expensive out of pocket for us. Here's our original sell sheet we submitted to licensing companies.
But after contacting over 70 plush animal companies, several encouraged us to manufacture it ourselves--so here we are!
We contacted several prototyping companies and selected one. I'm so thankful we went with Sax Art, Inc. We sent Niki our logo and she created some conceptual character sketches for our animals. These are the sketches she sent us for approval before she created the actual prototypes.
Our 14" Bear was the first actual prototype that we received from Niki. (see photos throughout).
With each prototype, we have detailed specifications for the plush fur type, color, pattern, and the embroidery for the eyes and our logo on each animal.
We've had to do revisions on a few prototypes so far, including our owl. We changed the color pattern and made some changes on the eye size, wing length and a few other cosmetic changes. Here's what our original color palette was. It will be changing to a more pink/aquamarine color scheme.
We used the prototypes she made for us and requested pricing from numerous manufacturers. We evaluated their samples, had many conversations, and selected one factory to manufacture our products! Here are a few pictures of the factory we have selected in China. Prior to manufacturing, all of our design and creative work has been hired in the U.S.
After manufacturing is completed, China will ship them back to us. We've already lined up a warehouse near Austin, Texas for shipping, receiving and storage, and it's our plan to hire local employees to help us fulfill the orders.
We have manufacturing set up and ready to go. They are just waiting for our funding and order quantities. Our lead-time is roughly 30 days for production and 30-45 days for shipping.
What is the cycle for our manufacturing?
If we are fortunate enough to raise more funds than we are asking for, then that money will be applied to manufacturing the rest of the characters.
Where will your Kickstarter support go?
Our Current Status:
We have created 6 characters for Lenz Frenz, with 5 current prototypes completed. Our current characters include:
We currently have 5 prototypes made (two 14" and three 6.5"). We are almost finished with our 6th prototype, our T-Rex. We need funding to get these manufactured and brought to market. We are planning a total of 12 products since each character will be available in 2 sizes-- a 14" for holding eyeglasses, and a 6.5" for holding contact lenses.
Come see us at Toy Fair NY 2014!
We will be debuting our prototypes next month at Toy Fair 2014 in NYC. We can't wait to introduce the Lenz Frenz characters to the whole world! If you are in the area we'd love for you to stop by our booth, #6079, so we can meet you and thank you personally for your support.
In order to bring all of these characters to market in both sizes, we would need to raise $120,000, which is our STRETCH GOAL!! As we reach our incremental stretch goals, we will be able to release new characters for manufacturing!!
However, we are currently asking for $20,000 in order to bring the 14"bear and the 6.5" puppy to market right now. This is what our Kickstarter campaign funds will go towards.
This amount will pay for manufacturing and shipping of our product (14" Lenz Frenz bear and the 6.5" L'il Lenz Frenz puppy)! Up to now, we have currently self funded our prototypes and other manufacturing costs, but in order to bring these to market, WE NEED YOUR HELP, PLEASE!
INCREMENTAL STRETCH GOALS:
These will be released if we reach our $20,000 initial goal. We will reveal to you our next 2 designs for manufacture, as well as new REWARDS! Who will be next?? Vote for your favorite on our Facebook page!
Here is a preview of our awesome backer rewards, including a Lenz Frenz or L'il Lenz Frenz of your very own! We have many fun promotional products to share with our backers, like cool pens, cups with straws, tote bags, unique t-shirts, and the chance to meet our team! And we look forward to adding many more!
The Lenz Frenz Team includes Sean and Molly Lofthouse, Jeremy and Hillary Smith, and all of you!
Molly Lofthouse is a homeschool mommy/teacher. Raised in Colorado, Molly graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is a budding entrepreneur and creator of Lenz Frenz!
Sean Lofthouse graduated from both Utah State University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His background is in semiconductor technology. Together with Molly, they live in the Austin, Texas area, and enjoy raising their two children and two dogs, and they're super excited to introduce Lenz Frenz to everyone!
Jeremy, a native Texan, studied entrepreneurship and international business at Baylor University before living and working many years in Asia. After returning home to the States, he and his wife first dabbled in the photography industry, eventually building multiple E-commerce businesses. Now he's excited to be a part of the Lenz Frenz founding team and its exciting new products!
After graduating Baylor and spending time working in interior design, Hillary and her husband spent a few years living in Asia. It was there she discovered a love for photography. Upon returning home, she and Jeremy founded photography and e-commerce businesses. Now, with a great team, she's excited about introducing the world to Lenz Frenz!
Thank you Team Lenz Frenz Supporters!
We are truly grateful for your support of Lenz Frenz, and we can't wait to bring these to market and share them with the world! We can't do it without all of you! Please support us!
* A very special thanks to our awesome designer Niki W. at Sax Art, Inc., and Ann Z. at Little Four Eyes! *
Risks and challenges
POTENTIAL RISKS TO OUR TIMELINE:
Our biggest risk right now is facing possible production delays due to our unique design. We are working with great factories right now, and each is pre-qualified via our design reviews, but if there are material shortages, or design changes, then our schedule will have to be adjusted. We don't foresee any issues at this point, but we will keep you posted!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (32 days)