Thoughts on Launching My First Kickstarter
Way back in 2014 I had this crazy idea for a toy company.
I thought it would be amazing if kids could build, race and hack radio-controlled cars. We’d have a store and a makerspace, and kids would learn all about design and engineering while they built and rebuilt their cars to dominate the ever-changing in-store racetrack.
Well, the cost of NYC real estate soon made me rethink starting with a store, but the vision didn’t change all that much. It just moved into a box and online, where space doesn’t cost $30,000 a month.
But maybe someday….
The very day I announced to my friends on Facebook that I was starting RaceYa, I walked into the iconic FAO Schwarzon one of my regular competition scouting trips and found a mini store-within-the-store where you could … build your own race car!
I was devastated. Here was my idea, minus the racetrack, but fully staffed and operational inside one of the most awesome toy stores ever created. But I stayed. And I watched. And I started to see, with my anthropologists brain, what was really happening in that store. Kids weren’t “building” race cars; they were just decorating toy cars — shiny plastic toys to which you could affix more shiny plastic. And they were aggressively FOR BOYS. Girls were offered a concessionary pink or purple model.
As I stayed and watched, I realized that I could do so much better than this. So I kept at it.
Over the past four years, I’ve built and tested and rebuilt and retested. I’ve begged and borrowed and badgered and cajoled. I’ve screwed up and recovered and screwed up again.
And I still believe that my team and I have built something better than the shiny, plastic, gendered nonsense on offer everywhere else. I still believe that the best way to get our kids’ brains working is to get their hands working by teaching them to take stuff apart and put it back together to achieve a goal they set for themselves. I still believe that little girls should get to build the super fast race car of their dreams and that it doesn’t need to be stereotypinkly girly. (Though it really should have glitter, because really, glitter makes everything fabulous.)
And now I’ve put it all on the line — tomorrow, May 15th at 12:00 PM EST, I’m launching a Kickstarter to crowdfund production of this guy, right here.
I realize how incredibly lucky I’ve been to be able to do this. Like so many entrepreneurs before me, I’ve been sustained through all this madness by a loving and indefatigably patient family, so many dear friends and supporters who’ve kept me sane, gave much needed advice, listened to me complain about and celebrate, in equal measure, this bifurcated existence that is entrepreneurship.
People talk endlessly about networking, but not enough about the network itself. It is the network of people who’ve been willing to teach and encourage and share that has made this bonkers idea a reality. So thank you. Thank you so much.
And because I’m an entrepreneur, my “Thank Yous” often, immediately and by necessity, precede another request (oh, by the way, thank you, Dear Reader, for spending 2:45 minutes reading this!😊). So…
If you share my conviction that kids need toys that stimulate their curiosity and challenge them to be creative, that sometimes frustrate them yet ultimately reward their resilience with confidence, that give them opportunities for hands-on, not screens-on, exploration of the amazing world around them, then I have one small ask:
Please support our Kickstarter to bring this vision to life!
And don't be shy about spreading the word! We'll even loan you some good ones to use:
Want to help kids—especially girls—learn through hands-on, not screens-on, play? Join me in supporting @raceyatoys, a new vehicle for creativity & exploration disguised as an RC car! Donate now on @kickstarter: https://kck.st/2rNIGD3 #STEM #STEM4Girls #WomenInSTEM #STEMEd #edtech #STEAM