About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign is over, but you can still get a Squishy Forts set. Head over to www.squishyforts.com for more info and to place an order.
ThisIsWhyImBroke.com - "Transform your couch into the ultimate fort masterpiece with this unique pillow fort construction kit"
Huffington Post - "Magnetic cushions so you can build the perfect pillow fort - genius."
CNET - "The Squishy Forts Kickstarter project wants to become the Lego of the pillow fort world"
Gizmodo - "And when you're done playing, the real genius here is that the cushions stack together and tuck away inside a footrest so they're out of sight. But who would ever want to stop playing with these?"
WellDoneStuff - "Unleash your inner pillow fort architect, so much fun!"
Geeokologie - "Thanks to Ross, the man behind the forts, for daring to be a kid again."
KidCrave - "expand the possibilities of awesome"
/r/pics Jadenlost "Must get one. For the children of course..."
/r/pics angelcrys "I almost cried when I saw this. I am a 32 year old female and this is now on my Christmas/birthday/because I want it wishlist."
Give Squishy Forts for Christmas!
Squishy Forts isn’t scheduled to ship until March, but we wanted to put something together for those of you that want to give it as a Christmas gift. Rather than just a "your gift is coming soon" card, we've created a paperart template which you can print out, cut out, glue together and play with until your Squishy Forts arrives.
The Christmas Gift package is available here: SquishyFortsChristmasGiftPack.pdf
Stretch Goal 4 - Unlocked!
I am proud to introduce the Snap-on Facades. Double sided panels that snap-on to your existing Squishy Forts set to give it a different look. Increase your pledge by the following amounts to receive the Brick &Stone Snap-on Facades with your set:
Stretch Goal 3 - Unlocked!
Backers will now be able to choose slate at the end of our Kickstarter campaign!
Stretch Goal 2 - Unlocked!
Stretch Goal 1 - Unlocked!
Update 5 - Stretch Goals Announced!
Most are pretty self-explanatory, but here's a bit of info:
- Mystery gifts will be something small for those that got in early as our way of saying thank you
- The Couch Set is 10 square pieces that are stored in a couch-shape ottoman. More on that when we hit $40k.
- The Mega Set has 35 construction pieces! You guys wanted more pieces and now you've got it! Get a Basic Set, an Advanced Set AND a Couch Set
- The snap-on facades are cool textures like brick and stone that you can connect to your forts to give them an even different look!
The Squishy Forts Christmas Gift Pack will be announced shortly!
Here's an overview of the remaining reward levels:
(Note: Covers-only option no longer available as of Update 1)
Whether you called it a 'pillow fort, a 'blanket fort' or even a 'cubby', chances are that as a child you experienced the joy of ripping all the cushions off the couch, all the pillows off the bed, stacking them together, throwing a blanket over them, and crawling inside. Maybe even with your pet or favourite toys.
Pillow Forts are only limited by your imagination. They can be fairy castles, mighty fortresses or even spaceships, but two things are certain: they're fun to build, and crawling inside offers a reminiscent feeling of comfort and safety. It's no wonder that they've become a pop-culture phenomenon, having appeared in many online memes, TV shows and movies, and that there are those of us out there that still build them.
Squishy Forts not only allows you to recreate that joyful experience of building a pillow fort as an adult, it lets you improve on it through specially designed construction blocks that use rare earth (neodymium) magnets to enhance the architectural integrity of your structures. Let the stress of adult life fade away as you turn your living room into a place of joy, fun and comfort.
The best part is - once you've finished playing with the blocks, they pack away into a square container which you can then use as a foot stool or seat. This isn't just a toy for kids, it's a lifestyle furniture product that will suit the most sophisticated of living rooms.
Depending on the magnitude of fort that you want to build in your living room, there are three easy size options to choose from:
Pillow Fort Builder Kit (Basic Set)
- 6 x column pieces (60cm x 10cm x 10cm)
- 4 x wall pieces (60cm x 60cm x 10cm)
- 1 x medium ottomon storage container (60cm x 60cm x 50cm)
Pillow Fort Artisan Kit (Advanced Set)
- 10 x column pieces (60cm x 10cm x 10cm)
- 5 x wall pieces (60cm x 60cm x 10cm)
- 1 x large ottomon storage container (80cm x 60cm x 50cm)
Pillow Fort Architect Kit (Ultimate Set)
- 16 x column pieces (60cm x 10cm x 10cm)
- 9 x wall pieces (60cm x 60cm x 10cm)
- 1 x medium ottomon storage container (60cm x 60cm x 50cm)
- 1 x large ottomon storage container (80cm x 60cm x 50cm)
Why do I need funding?
Your funding will allow me to produce the first large-scale production run, to take Squishy Forts from prototype to manufacturing.
Building my prototype has been a long, fun journey, and I'm now at a stage where I have a functional prototype that looks good, and which works really well. But, I'd still like to make a few improvements, and your support will also give me the resources I need to provide you with a highly polished product.
I ain't no "One SKU Sue"
In Squishy Fort's Kickstarter launch, you're already seeing two unique products - a basic set and an advanced set. But down the track, I have ideas for other add-on products that can make Squishy Forts a business, not just a cool product:
- Snap-on textures - that you can attach to the magnets on the exterior of your fort to give it a different look. Eg, brick or stone.
- Micro-kits - that stuff inside a pillow, which extend your fort even further, or which can be used for desktop squishy fort construction
- Magnetic clips - so that you can attach anything to your squishy fort
- Siege weapons - because what's the point in having a fort if you don't have anything to attack it with?
Once I'm cranking out the Squishy Forts, there will be all sorts of ways that you'll be able to take advantage of my creative, crazy ideas to further personalise your construction set.
The Start of a Great Idea
I came up with the original idea for Squishy Forts while working on an entirely different project at Startup Weekend Perth. For those that aren't familiar, Startup Weekend is a 72 hour event where you take an idea from concept to minimum viable product, and I jokingly suggested the idea to my team mates when we were having problems with our other idea.
We all laughed at the time, but I knew I was onto something and after Startup Weekend finished, I grabbed a couple of bags of foam offcuts, and with a hotel sewing kit and a knock-off Snuggy that somebody had sent me, I started experimenting with foam and rare earth magnets.
By the time I'd glued my fingers together and stitched some cases into my shorts a few times, I had rejected the designs that didn't work and come up with a basic design that did. I then ran that design by a group of fellow Entrepreneurship students at the Curtin Graduate Business School in Perth, who not only helped me refine the product and business model further, but who also put me in touch with some great manufacturing contacts.
The Road to Manufacturing
Update 1: We have now secured cheaper pricing for our backers by using offshore manufacturers!
Since creating the prototype, I have worked with local foam and upholstery manufacturers in Perth, Western Australia to come up with what I feel is a reasonably priced product for the Squishy Forts Kickstarter launch. And, we're all set to fill the batch of initial orders.
However, I know that if I want to build an ongoing business, I'll need to develop relationships with overseas manufacturers that will enable me to drop the manufacturing cost down and put a distribution layer between me and the retail market.
Having already had parts of the prototype made by upholsterers in Indonesia, and with several colleagues who've previously dealt with overseas manufacturers that are willing to share their contacts and advice, your backing will allow me to further investigate ways in which I can reduce the cost of making this product.
Update 1: We have been able to remove additional international shipping costs by using a central shipping provider.
Note: CASES ONLY" Option no longer available. (However, I want to make this product accessible to everybody, and so for the Kickstarter project, I have also included some "CASES ONLY" reward levels for the Basic and Advanced Kits, which will allow you to get JUST the Squishy Fort covers shipped to you, without the foam. You can then take the provided measurements to your local foam shop and get the foam cut yourself.)
For everyone else, I've put some reasonable shipping costs together which will make sure your Squishy Forts set comes complete and ready to build with.
With Australian projects now able to be run on Kickstarter, I'm proud to be one of the first! Australia is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship, and has been responsible for innovations such as Vegemite, the Boomerang and the stump-jump plough, and it's great that we now have access to the world's most popular crowdfunding medium.
Oh, and if you're wondering why I sound not-Australian in my video, it's because my parents are Canadian and I picked up their accent along the way. You'd never guess I was born down under and that I've lived here almost my whole life!
Anyway, that's it from me. Don't forget to click the big green "BACK THIS PROJECT" button up the top!
From one pillow fort architect to another, I thank you for your backing.
Risks and challenges
Due to the cost of the components we use, price is going to be the biggest risk moving forward and I know that I need to bring the cost down in order to make this a viable business, rather than just a cool one-off product. This will likely involve taking manufacturing overseas and this brings all the usual, expected risks.
Shipping these products is also a bit of a risk. While foam is light, it's also big and bulky, and that doesn't make for a product that is easy to ship. I've begun talks with centralised fulfillment centres who can help me bring the cost down and we are also looking at compression-shipping techniques to see if we can reduce the size of the shipped product. Foam can be squished down, it's just a matter of how much the foam is damaged in the process.
Magnets also pose a certain degree of safety risk, particularly to children. A swallowed rare-earth magnet does not do good things to a kid's belly, and so it's important that my manufacturers maintain strict quality control to ensure that loose magnets are not an issue with this product.
If we're being totally honest, we should also include the fact that I'm an IT guy in the risks. Sure, I've gotten the project this far, but maybe I'm just not cut out for the realities of product manufacturing. It's certainly been a tough, challenging slog so far! But, this is why I'm working with other people, who have skills that complement mine, to make Squishy Forts a reality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If I pledge an Ultimate Set, can I get a basic sets' worth of peices in one color and an advance sets' worth of pieces in another?
Another great question!
Yes, you absolutely can. That's not a problem at all!
The short answer is: Common sense applies when dealing with magnets.
The long answer is: I haven't encountered any specific issues with the prototype, however I haven't exactly been resting old TVs or hard drives on it either.
The magnets in the pieces ARE pretty strong, so I've been trying to keep my wallet away, but they do lose their strength pretty quickly once surrounded by the faux-suede ottoman cover.
I am yet to wipe any of my credit cards, though I did demagnetise a parking ticket when I was carrying an Advanced Set to my car once. I was using the COTTON prototype cover though, not the faux-suede, and it seems I was resting the parking ticket right on the magnet. Refer to common sense principle mentioned before.
This is a legitimate concern that a few people have raised though, so in the final manufacturing run I'll be looking at ways to minimise the impact. My expectation is that, in the end, the sets will be safe enough to sit on without concern, when being used as an ottoman.
Short answer: We discontinued this option as of Update 1.
Long answer: By forming a relationship with an offshore manufacturer, we were able to significantly slash the prices of our reward levels. In doing this, it became impractical to continue offering the Cases Only option (the foam itself would be more expensive for you to buy locally than it is for us to produce a complete set). For that reason, we decided to discontinue the cases only option.
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