Monday, October 10, 2011

Kickstart the Week: Myachi Battle Paddle - A game accessory by David Fritz

This week we're featuring Myachi Battle Paddle's by David Fritz, product developer and producer of my fathers favorite album of all time, Mob Hits. (who knew!?)

Click here to visit and support the project on Kickstarter!

Read more about the project and my interview with creator, David Fritz after the jump.

Myachi Battle Paddles are accessories for the Myachi Hand Sack game, a game which is similar to hackey sack, but a little more freestyle. You can use your entire body except for your palms. The paddles were made for kids with small hands, and to give a solid surface in general.

For $10 you'll get a custom Myachi sack, and for $25 you'll get a two pack of Battle Paddles. There are many variations on the games that you can play with the paddles, and a two pack would cover you and a friend in most of them. As the pledges go up, you 'll get more and more packs of paddles, saving more money with each increment. For $2500 you will cover the funding goal and get 24 paddle sets, 72 hand sacks, and the Myachi Masters will come to your party and entertain everyone.

The goal is $2500. After talking with David, I've learned that the project will go on with or without the Kickstarter funding, and he's gauging interest and providing pre-sales via Kickstarter. He's invested $17,500 so far in the project, and nothing can stop him now!

I asked David about the battle paddles and his thoughts about Kickstarter in general. Here's what David had to say.

The Myachi Battle Paddles look like a serious retail product. I could imagine them right next to the Nerf guns at Toys R' Us. Do you have any history in product design/development?
I came from the music business - I was a lawyer at Grubman Indursky, the firm that represents Madonna, Springsteen, U2, etc - I then started a label (check out - my first gold album) - so I'm a pop culturalist by training.
My now 15 year old son went to a Bar Mitzvah 3 years ago where Kid Myach (tall guy on left of video at opening) was part of the entertainment - my son got hooked that night. Fast forward a few weeks later and at 11 years old, my son tried to book Myachi for my daughter's upcoming Bat Mitzvah - my son called the Myachi office and found out that my wife had already booked it. At the time, Myachi was starting to be a NY area phenom.
The company has been around since 2000 but mostly on the road in a camper doing grassroots marketing at festivals. 
I became an active investor in 2007, introduced it to FAO Schwarz (I was a brand consultant to FAO at the time) then I went on and got it into Toys R Us Time Square. We expect to get this product within the entire Toys R Us chain.
At some point, I reached out to the head of Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.)'s toy design department and was put in touch with Kreg Jones, the designer who took our thoughts and made it into a real product. Steve Ochs, the Myachi Man is a very creative guy - it's really all based on his ideas.

What are your next plans for Myachi Battle Paddles if you reach the funding goal?
We intend to really go deep into retail on this product - right now, we are in about 300 specialty retail stores and have good relationships with a number of mass merchants - Steve and Jason were just at Dallas Toy Fair where you meet with Walmart, etc. last week.
What are your next plans for Myachi Battle Paddles if you don't reach the funding goal?
The paddles are being made regardless of whether or not we get funding - I'm using Kickstarter as a pre-order method to engage with our consumers and give back to them with the exclusive pledge gifts - since we are dealing with young kids, they have to get their parents to pledge (an extra step).

What is your favorite Myachi game? Are there actual battle rules? That part intrigues me.
As to games, Myachi, without the paddles, has numerous games - the most popular is MYACHI, basically HORSE - I make a move, you have to mimic it and if you fail, you get a letter "M" - an elimination game. The paddles, as you can see from the video, enable Myachi to be applied and replaced as other sports - use a net as a goal and it's lacrosse - set up bases and pitch, cash and toss it so it can't get catched and it's baseball. You get the picture - endless games. If you look up Myachi on youtube, you will see that we have a cult status with thousands of kids posting their trick videos.

How has the Kickstarter journey been so far?
I have never used Kickstarter before - I love the concept - now that I'm doing it, I'm curious to know how some of these projects got significant funding - they must have really pushed the family and friends angle. We have a mommy blog campaign that just started that will push more traffic to our campaign. Kickstarter, in my opinion, really works well if it becomes a social network to those who are early adopters - those people who want to be the first on the block with anything - for us, we haven't felt that yet (that is, we know that we have been backed so far from our own fans/customers).

Check out the Myachi Battle Paddles on Kickstarter! I'm intrigued, and would love to play a big round of Myachi Football.
..and just a quick update on our previously featured Kickstart the Week projects.

The rock opera double vinyl, Love and Robots ended without reaching it's $18,000 goal.
The celebrity card game, Famous Missions is 9% funded, with 15 days to go to reach it's $5,500 goal. 

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