HeroMe is an online toy store where kids can create customized superhero action figures. Our mission is to inspire creativity and do good.
KIDS NEED TOYS THAT ENCOURAGE CREATIVE PLAY
Hi, my name is Josh, and I’m grateful that you’re taking the time to learn more about HeroMe. When I look around the toy aisles today, I see rows and rows of action figures from movies and comic books. In the same toy aisles, I see kids who are incredibly creative regurgitating the stories of these figures - stories that have been written by adults in an attempt to sell movie tickets. The thing is these kids don't need anyone to tell them the stories; these kids have their own stories to tell. HeroMe is here to help kids tell those stories.
I've created HeroMe to inspire kids' creativity through play. A recent study reported that creativity scores in elementary school children have decreased dramatically over the last decade. HeroMe offers a chance to bring those scores back up and help kids to become the creative leaders our global economy and changing world will need in the future. Join me in shifting the momentum back to creativity
HeroMe is an online toy store where kids can create their own superhero action figures. Each child names their HeroMe, gives their HeroMe a personality, and creates the story of their new superhero friend. Each HeroMe is unique and is assembled in the USA by our team at HeroMe HQ.
Target Age Range: 5-10
The purchase of a HeroMe includes:
HeroMe: A HeroMe is a customized action figure, created by kids in our online HeroMe Lab. Kids can choose one of five heads, one of five different superpower arms, and one of five superpower legs. We have designed each HeroMe head to be confident and happy. Each HeroMe arm and leg embodies a power kids most requested. You want to Fly? We’ve got you covered with our HeroMe Helicopter Arm. You want to run really fast? We’ve developed a special Cheetah Leg just for you.
ID Card: Each HeroMe comes with a special ID card with the name the child gives the HeroMe and the HeroMe’s powers.
Adventure Manual: This is a three-part book that guides kids through the process of telling a story with their HeroMe. Part One encourages kids to elaborate on their HeroMe’s personality. Part Two is a series of word games and puzzles to get kids comfortable with creative thinking. Part Three provides activities and tips designed to help kids write a story about their HeroMe.
Rocket Ship Box: Every HeroMe is packaged in a reusable “Rocket Ship” box that can be used to store the HeroMe or launch the HeroMe to Mars and back - or wherever the child’s imagination takes it.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Everyone who supports HeroMe in this Kickstarter Campaign will have the opportunity to join our creative team by submitting suggestions, ideas, and designs for our next HeroMe superpowers.
$5 contribution: HeroMe Sticker
$25 contribution: HeroMe T-shirt + HeroMe Sticker
$30 contribution: HeroMe Cape for (1) HeroMe + HeroMe Cape for a child
$35 contribution (Early Bird, Limited Quantities): Gift Card redeemable for (1) HeroMe
$45 contribution: Gift card redeemable for (1) HeroMe
$70 contribution: Gift card redeemable for (1) HeroMe + HeroMe T-shirt
$100 contribution: Gift card redeemable for (1) HeroMe AND (1) customized HeroMe poster + HeroMe T-shirt
$500 contribution: Gift card redeemable for (5) HeroMes AND (5) customized HeroMe posters + (5) HeroMe T-shirts
$1000 contribution: Gift card redeemable for (10) HeroMes AND (10) customized HeroMe posters + (10) HeroMe T-shirts + My undying gratitude
$5,000 contribution: Receive the first HeroMe ever produced and assembled.
THE INSPIRATION FOR HEROME
The idea for HeroMe began to take shape more than five years ago. At the time, I was a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. My “little brother” (we’ll call him “T”) was, and still is, a great kid. When he was 8 though, T struggled with Math. One day while we were working on his math homework and not getting as far through the multiplication tables as I had planned, T introduced me to “Mathman”. Mathman was this incredible superhero that T created on his own! Though he was only a pencil cartoon on sheets of notebook paper, Mathman had adventures that I could never have imagined. Mathman would battle the evil Mathon who would throw multiplication and division signs like ninja stars at Mathman, and he would save the day with his special mathematical powers. T, who had struggled with math for months, was incorporating math skills into a creative story that helped him learn at the same time. I could do no better than encourage the adventures of Mathman and ask, what happens next?
Unfortunately for T, Mathman ended at a two dimensional sheet of notebook paper. What if every kid could create their own superhero? Better yet, what if every kid could create a tangible version of that superhero.
As I look further into this idea and the learning that followed, I realized that boys are often left out of the conversation when it comes to creativity. Art kits, painting sets, and most customized or creative toys like Build-a-Bear and American Girl Doll are all marketed towards girls. The idea of launching a company focused primarily on inspiring creativity in boys seemed like the obvious next step. (Note: we’ve had a great response from girls as well, and we would love to begin designing and producing girl HeroMes. Our budget is limited at this point, but we are committed to bringing girl HeroMes to market as soon as possible.)
After two years of business school, I officially launched HeroMe in 2012. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with fabulous mentors and business partners throughout the process, but I won’t say it’s been an easy or seamless journey. Despite many delays and some major learning curves, the responses we continue to get from kids and parents alike has convinced me that our kids need HeroMe.
What originally began as paper figures taped together has evolved to a full size painted prototype. I’ve partnered with a factory in China to produce the plastic parts for our HeroMes. I’m taking great precautions with the plastics and paints used in our pieces, and I’m committed to bringing you a high quality toy that’s safe for kids. In fact, all of our pieces and products will go through rigorous industry safety testing in the US and EU before they ever leave our assembly facility that’s located in the USA.
I’ve invested my savings to produce our first prototypes and build a website for our official launch. Now I need your help. I’m ready to produce our first run of HeroMe parts, print our activity book, and get HeroMe into the hands of our kids. With your help, I can begin production immediately and start fulfilling orders in time for Christmas.
HeroMe would not be possible without the support of many, many people.
First, thank you to Ed, Nick, Syd, Mike, and the entire Bamko sourcing team. Your expertise and patience in guiding me through the world of manufacturing in China has been invaluable.
Shawn, Sunny, Travis, and the team at Cloud Castle, thank you for building an incredible website where the vision of the HeroMe Lab has come to life.
To my business mentors, Howard and Arv especially, thank you for your guidance, patience, and outstanding advice.
Thank you to everyone at UNC Kenan-Flagler who helped me flesh out this idea in business school.
Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me in this endeavor. You’re excitement about this project has been invaluable, and your willingness to spread the word about HeroMe near and far is truly what will make this company a success.
Most especially, thank you to my wife, Annie. There is not enough space on this page to thank you sufficiently. You have made HeroMe better than I could have on my own. Thank you.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HEROME?
After we complete our hopefully wildly successful Kickstarter Campaign, we have big plans for HeroMe. Whether it’s creating girl HeroMes, designing new superpower arms and legs, or creating a more interactive online experience, we’re committed to continuing to inspire creativity in kids. After you’ve contributed to HeroMe on Kickstarter, you can stay up to date with the progress of HeroMe by visiting www.HeroMeLab.com.
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
This is my first Kickstarter Campaign, but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time seeking advice from industry leaders, academics, and people who have run successful campaigns. As with any manufacturing process, there are potential pitfalls, but I’ve taken as many precautions as possible to protect against them. Our product will be thoroughly tested and meet all industry safety standards before it ever leaves our assembly facility.
Shipping and order fulfillment often causes problems for first time Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve partnered with a fulfillment center in Jacksonville, Florida to learn as much as possible about the process of order fulfillment. I intend to fulfill orders personally initially, but my agreement with the fulfillment center allows me to bring them on within 36 hours should the need arise. Fulfillment of orders from Kickstarter will arrive in time for Christmas, so go ahead and get your shopping done now!
Our relationship with our sourcing company, Bamko, provides another layer of protection against manufacturing issues in China. They work with hundreds of companies from Samsung, to Adidas, to Mattel, and HeroMe is proud to be one of their newest clients.