The AeroBloks venture is my most recent foray into the entrepreneurial arena. It is a life-size construction play system that I invented and patented. Its main purpose is to allow kids and adults alike to build pretend-play settings quickly and easily. Its primary value is in the fact that while kids are allowed to play with fairly large structures that can be transformed, the clean-up is just as easily done. Each is made of heavy-duty inflatable vinyl that could sustain up to 180 lbs. of sitting weight and rough playing. Extreme care was designed into the product to ensure that all the connectors work like hinges and provide motion while staying intact with its triple layers of material. To quote a customer “This thing is built like a tank!”
The Business Side of AeroBloks:
Within a year of conceiving the concept, I was able to bring it to market and validate its popularity at the largest educational trade show. In a short time I signed up distributors and resellers in both the domestic market as well as international markets. Its absolutely unique capability caught the eyes of potential resellers and customers everywhere I went. Eventually I developed a tiered distribution channel structure that included the largest catalogs, online, and small mom and pop toy stores.
At the beginning of the Great Recession I was afforded the opportunity to sell the mass market line to the top two out of three toy retailers. By then I had developed several different product lines suitable for different market segments. However the recession and the dramatic cost increases (456% over four years) put a damper on the entire industry and this product was no exception. I made a business decision to shut down the operation based on the foreseeable continuation of the oil crisis and its implications on the consumer.
This venture has been an incredibly stimulating journey from both the positive and the negative perspectives. A chronicle of the AeroBloks venture’s developmental path as well as a detailed timeline are available on the Developmental History . You can also view the evolutionary path of the product from prototype to finished product, including its packaging designs there.
Likewise, there is also a Video Clips page that shows the product in action. In the Pictures Gallery you will find a quick representation of the various aspects of the business building and management phases, including sample configurations of the product lines.
If you are interested in bring an invention to market, you should not miss this detailed case study. I hope you will find much value for your own situation.
Enjoy the tour!