Places Please Children's Tableware project video thumbnail
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$3,969 pledged of $50,000 goal
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By David Hartman
$3,969 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers

About

Places Please™ was created by David Hartman, a graphic designer and father of two children, as an alternative to the saturation of licensed character tableware that surrounded his daughters at mealtime. 

Product Design

Olivia & her best friend Hugo play with product prototypes
Olivia & her best friend Hugo play with product prototypes

Inspiration

The idea for Places Please was inspired by the behavior of my daughter Olivia, a precocious 4 year old, who loves to paint, draw and make up stories.

At mealtime, I noticed she liked to play with her food - but not in a bad way. She liked to imagine her food as other things. For example, a tortilla chip became a volcano, or carrot sticks were used to build a house. Her utensils became the geometric forms of letters and numbers. Then she'd turn this into a game by asking me to guess what she had made.

I could have easily dismissed this behavior, but instead I wanted to find a way to encourage it. That is, to further develop the spontaneous ability of my daughter to look at something in a different way – to imagine something that wasn't there before, which is a basic building block of creativity.

I saw this as an opportunity for a product that could amplify this behavior by creating a graphic language that was built on abstraction, which recognizes the potential for children to see patterns in basic shapes. In building on Olivia's behavior at mealtime, I sought to create a line of tableware that would tap into a child’s desire for discovery, improvisation and creative stimulation. 

Production prototypes
Production prototypes

Why did I create this product?

In a category filled with so many poorly designed children's products, where hyper-marketed TV and movie characters dominate, Places Please provides a simple framework which gives kids the kind of tools they need to imagine their own characters, create their own environments and build their own stories.

With Places Please, children learn to conceptualize, to associate and to make analogies; to develop their skills of observation by discovering resemblances between geometric and natural forms. 

In designing this product, I sought to provide a place in Olivia's life that was creatively inspiring, where she wasn't being pushed another licensed product created to replay a pre-developed storyline from a television show.

Designed in Minneapolis, Places Please tableware is made from food safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free melamine, and comes in four different animal sets.

Ocean Animals 

Woodland Animals 

Jungle Animals

Desert Animals  

The sets are designed for easy mix-and-match and kids will love the spark of imaginative play that comes from the unexpected combinations of putting different animals together. Each set includes a 9" dinner plate, a 5.5" bowl and a 4" cup (not shown in photos). 

Everything about this product has been carefully considered and designed, from the graphic design of the illustrations to the product design itself. Based entirely on the geometry of a circle, the proportions of the products have been designed to compliment a graphic, colorful illustration style with simple lines. 

Rewards

Creativity Packs

To complement these products, I also want to directly encourage kids to create their own characters, environments and animals at home with your choice of four creativity packs. Tested with my daughter and her friends, each pack includes four animal coloring sheets and one activity. They are formatted for easy printing on standard 8.5x11" pages. The shapes can be cut out easily for recombination into all sorts of other animals and stories. 

Prints

These 16"x20" animal prints will look great in your child's bedroom or playroom! Pick any animal of your choice, either framed or unframed.

16" x 20" Lion Print (Framed)
16" x 20" Lion Print (Framed)

Support my project

If you believe in this idea, please help me reach my goal by funding the product and sharing my campaign. Even posting the link to your Facebook page or Twitter account can make a big difference.

I am seeking funds to product an initial production run of 2000 tableware sets. My Kickstarter goal of $50,000 will be used to cover the cost of manufacturing, printing decals, packaging product, shipping, taxes, fees and delivery of individual orders to you. 

How Kickstarter Works

Pledge any amount and choose one of the products listed as your reward. If the total pledges meet my $50,000 goal by November 30th, 2013, credit cards for the backers will be charged and I will receive the funds to begin my initial production run.

If the funding goal is not met, no money will be charged to your account and no rewards will be provided. Remember, if don't meet my goal of $50,000 in time, I'll receive no kickstarter funding and this project will not be able to move forward. 

Production Timing

I've completed the design phase of work, including CAD drawings, prototyping, product illustrations and packaging. Here's an overview of the remaining project milestones:

  • 30 days: production of molds for plate and bowl
  • 60 days: production of tableware sets
  • 90 days: transport and delivery from supplier  
  • 3 weeks: preparing sets to be shipped
  • 2 weeks: shipping product to you

Thank You

It takes a village to build a brand like this. In addition to my wife, family and friends whom I constantly pestered about this project, a number of other people are the reason I'm able bring this product to you. They include: Tom, Matt, John, Kim, Aaron, Carl, Brian, Jeff, Mike, Alex, Stephanie and Hugo, Oliver, as well as the good people at BF Nelson, for their help in developing the structure for my packaging.

The soundtrack to my video is courtesy of Jahzzar, via the Free Music Archive. I encourage you to check out his other work.

Risks and challenges

My vendor partners are specializing in the supply and fabrication of melamine tableware for global clients and I've spent most of the last year working closely with them to mitigate as many risks as possible. However, I know there will still be hurdles along the way. I will always be transparent about challenges as they arise.

Some of those may include:

Shipping dates: I've built in extra time for the production and shipping process and am confident we will deliver to you by the projected dates, but there is always a chance that unforeseen circumstances will prompt me to take longer than planned.

Packaging or product changes: As I refine the design based on any additional feedback or testing, minor changes may be made. The only changes that will be made are ones that enhance the overall product experience.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CREATIVITY PACK: One OCEAN ANIMALS creativity pack, including 4 coloring sheets and 1 art activity. Delivered as a downloadable PDF. Print, share, color, repeat! As many times as you'd like.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CREATIVITY PACK: One JUNGLE ANIMALS creativity pack, including 4 coloring sheets and 1 craft activity. Delivered as a downloadable PDF. Print, share, color, repeat! As many times as you'd like.

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    0 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CREATIVITY PACK: One WOODLAND ANIMALS creativity pack, including 4 coloring sheets and 1 art activity. Delivered as a downloadable PDF. Print, share, color, repeat! As many times as you'd like.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CREATIVITY PACK: One DESERT ANIMALS creativity pack, including 4 coloring sheets and 1 craft activity. Delivered as a downloadable PDF. Print, share, color, repeat! As many times as you'd like.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    EARLY BIRD: gets you one melamine tableware set of your choice, which includes a dinner plate, bowl, and cup at a special price. (Please specify which animal set you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUY ONE SET: the OCEAN ANIMALS 3 piece melamine tableware set (Seal, Fish, Whale) which includes a dinner plate, bowl and cup.

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    4 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUY ONE SET: the JUNGLE ANIMALS 3 piece melamine tableware set (Monkey, Elephant, Snake) which includes a dinner plate, bowl and cup.

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    4 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUY ONE SET: the WOODLAND ANIMALS 3 piece melamine tableware set (Bear, Raccoon, Owl) which includes a dinner plate, bowl, and cup.

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    7 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUY ONE SET: the DESERT ANIMALS 3 piece melamine tableware set (Lion, Camel, Giraffe) which includes a dinner plate, bowl and cup.

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    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TWO PACK: pick any two 3 piece melamine tableware set which includes a dinner plate, bowl and cup. (Please specify which sets you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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    3 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    FOUR PACK: one of each 3 piece melamine tableware set: Ocean Animals, Jungle Animals, Woodland Animals and Desert Animals. It's more fun to mix and match them.

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    13 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    GET ONE PRINT: one 16"x20" print of the animal of your choosing. Expedited delivery in early December, in time for a holiday gifts! (Please specify which animal you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    FRAME IT: one 16"x20" framed print of the animal of your choosing. Perfect for your child's bedroom or playroom! (Please specify which animal you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    FRAME IT: three 16"x20" framed prints of the animals of your choosing. Perfect for your child's bedroom or playroom! (Please specify which animals you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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    0 backers
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  15. Select this reward

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

    PARTY IN A BOX: a mix-and-match tableware for your child and 7 friends. Includes 8 tableware sets of your choosing, a party banner, and assorted party paper goods such as blank food labels, a welcome sign and poster with your child's name. Just open the box and celebrate! (Please specify which animal sets you'd like when you enter your pledge.)

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Funding period

- (37 days)