The year 2008 will mark OgoSport's third time at Toy Fair, but they still have a story that could be helpful to new companies just starting out . Here company representative Todd Smith tells TDmonthly readers how it all started:
One of the more enlightening (and dramatic) happenings during OpoSport’s rise was following the 2005 ToyFair – which they paid for using the last of company reserves. It turned out to be the launching pad that would facilitate the future of the company.
From what one of OgoSport’s founders terms, “the basement of ToyFair” (where many of the surprise products can be found) OgoSport’s SportsDisk generated immense interest. OgoSport had countless booth visitors who said that, “they heard from somebody that they had to come and see it.” Represntatives from the company had been walking around the Fair floor, playing with the toy as retailers milled about the various booths. This strategy also helped to generate interest.
After the show, the team at OgoSport walked away with very positive feedback on the SportsDisk, numerous orders, and interest from representatives in all 50 states! The phone was ringing off the hook – retailers wanted rush orders, representatives had success placing the product. Great, right?
NO WAY TO FULFILL DEMAND
But the factory agent who had worked to facilitate the production of the SportsDisk resigned from her company. Even worse, she took her team members with her, leaving OgoSport to scramble to find another factory to produce the SportsDisk. While the product was ultimately a success, this early factory flap caused a setback with regards to some of the many orders that were placed on the heels of ToyFair.
OgoSport now has failsafes in place to ensure that production problems no longer occur.
TRAMPOLINING TO SUCCESS
OgoSport comprises three accomplished designers who took a chance and left stable, salaried jobs behind to take the leap into the world of toy entrepreneurship. Before sales of the SportsDisk kicked in, the entire OgoSport operation was funded out-of-pocket by Rick, Kevin and Jenie themselves.
When you look at OgoSport’s entire product line, their mandate shows through: to create toys that encourage active play. They refuse to throw lights on products or use a glow in the dark coating if it adds nothing to the play value of the toy. In a world where childhood obesity is on the rise and it’s increasingly difficult to get kids from behind the Wii or Playstation, innovative companies like OgoSport and creative products like the SportsDisk are more essential than ever.
A NEW WAY TO FLY
At this year’s Toy Fair, OgoSport is premiering CopterDarts – a game that seeks to alleviate the pain of those who miss the once ubiquitous, but now banned, lawn darts game. As a child, OgoSport partner (and resident mad inventor) Kevin Williams could be counted among the lawn dart enthusiasts. From his initial concept last year and after over 100 revisions, the CoperDarts were born.
In initial testing, adults and children alike have been unable to put the CopterDarts down. When thrown in the air, the rubber-tipped dart floats back down to earth (and on the included target, if you are good enough). The game is sure to cause a buzz for kids, parents and grandparents who want to engage in play with their children and for a lawn darts community (there is a large one out there) that has been waiting for a safe product to fill the void.
Also premiering are two sizes of OgoSport CopterBalls that utilize the same OgoMotion to spin down to earth in fun and unpredictable ways.
This 18” sports disk features a foam ring with a high-strength elastic membrane, and can catch and throw balls up to 150'. It is a safe, high-quality sports activity device that adapts to volleyball, tennis, baseball and other sports, and can be a blast at the beach or pool. A 12” size is also available. Suggested retail price for the two sizes ranges from $15 to $40. “The Super Sports Disk products are fantastic as confidence-building, motor-skill activities for young children, but are also great for more advanced users,” Kevin Williams of OgoSport told TDmonthly
. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Award. Launch date: May 20, 2007.
— Quality materials and a super bouncing effect earned the classy OgoSport a TDmonthly Innovations 2007
award. Its broad appeal and correlation to other sports make the disk applicable to a variety of fun and healthy activities, and its bright color and sleek packaging grab attention.
— “OgoSport is a good line for us,” Eric Masoncup, owner of Gepetto's Toy Box
in Oak Park, Ill., told TDmonthly
about his best-selling gift for boys in summer 2009.
— Joe Beradoni, owner of Pun's Toys
in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly
in a Summer 2011 survey about best-selling toys that "during the summer, we sell 5-7 a week."
Past videos: WTHRA 2007
OgoSport is the invention of Pratt Institute of Design professor Rick Goodwin. It is an inflatable disc that can be used to play catch with a ball (it gives like a trampoline and can catapult balls up to 150' in the air) and can also be used at the beach like a frisbee (as a bonus, it floats!). Batteries are not required. Available are OgoSport Mini ($7.50), Single Pack OgoSport Large ($10.00) and Double Pack OgoSport Large
— After the 2006 Toy Fair and Pomona shows, where the toy debuted, OgoSport was shipped to 300 stores within a couple of weeks. Shortly after, Kevin Williams of OgoSport told TDmonthly,
"We’re getting great response and reorders already."
— Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys & Books in Scottsdale, Ariz., spotted OgoSport at the American International Toy Fair 2006 and knew she’d found a winner. “When we played it, we had adults waiting in line to play it,” she told TDmonthly
. “When we have fun with it, you know the kids are going to have fun with it.”
's homeschoolers also loved OgoSport (view article