Ever wondered what it might be like to design a teddy bear? No? Well, just in case, there's a new online toy company that's asking the general public to help make teddy bears (and other toys). No, it's not Build-A-Bear, it's a company called Squishable.
The Squishable Crowdfunding Philosophy
I'll admit, the Squishable philosophy is a bit wacky. This company asks its Facebook fans to vote on possible teddy bear designs via the social network. These designs are submitted by contestants 18 and over. Winners are then sent to Squishable's design factory in China. There, the designs are turned into a prototypes.
From there, any design problems or issues are presented to the Facebook public. After problems have been solved, the design is sent into production. So far, Facebook fans have submitted more than 3,000 different designs. The first two designs were showcased on Facebook this week (a werewolf and a hyena). All of this is very interesting, but one has to ask the question: why?
Why Go the Crowd Route?
The idea here is that asking the public to vote on a design will entice those people to purchase Squishable toys. But, in many ways, it also seems like a case of "too many hands in the cookie jar." It can't be easy to sort and sift through the opinions of thousands of Facebook fans.
Plus, the company now has a ton of great teddy bear designs lined up. That's a lot of fan input that may just work out for the company - or not. It's hard to say whether or not letting people dictate a company's product designs is a good idea. Sure, people love to have an opinion, but those opinions can get out of hand too. So far, though, Squishable seems to be handling the crowd rather well. Got design skills?
How You Can Enter
If you've seen a lot of really ugly teddy bears and you think you can do better, go ahead and submit a design to the Squishable team. The project is officially called 'Project Open Squish,' and you can enter your best design via Squishable's Facebook page now. How do the two new designs look? Kind of like round teddy bears with angry faces - I'm not sure what market Squishable is going for with these designs, but maybe the public knows?
I also scoped out Squishable's Facebook page, and some fans aren't thrilled with the new designs. I guess that's what happens when you let a bunch of random people pick company product designs. To be fair, though, it's ind of a smart move for Squishable. The company doesn't have to pay a team of analysts to go over designs, and designs only cost a trip to China.
Plus, Squishable's public really likes the fact that they get to provide input into the products developed. It will be really interesting to see if Squishable can profit from this idea, though this writer isn't too optimistic about the whole thing. What do you think?