Last month OiDroids scooped the prize at the annual License This! competition held at BLE. Creator Jonathan Klemenz tells us how they came to be…
It was a real honour for OiDroids – a range of collectable pop-out and build robot characters I’ve developed – to be declared winner of LicenseThis. It’s amazing to get recognition for something you’ve created so I hope it’s going to be a real boost in getting the brand noticed. To introduce you to OiDroids I’ve put together this short history of where we’ve been and a little bit about where we hope to go.
A few years ago I’d started to fall out of love with my job as a graphic designer and was starting to think about making a career change. Around the same time my own children got to the age where they started collecting some of the usual trading cards and stickers, which to my eyes hadn’t really changed from when I was their age. I thought it had to be possible to use the skills I’d acquired over the years to create a collectable trading card that offered a lot more fun and play value than the things that my sons were collecting and from there the ideas for OiDroids started forming.
After working through a number of different concepts OiDroids was born. The idea felt like a great fit for me as, rather than having to retrain for a new career, it brought together the various skills I’d studied and developed over the years – graphic design, illustration, product design and marketing – and I relished the challenge of creating something new and building it from the ground up.
Being new to all this, I teamed up with two of the guys at the design agency I was working at and within a few months we’d started the patenting process, produced a test run and run a number of fantastically positive focus groups. Seeing how the children responded, not just to the cards themselves, but to the characters and the whole concept instantly changed the whole project from something that felt like a bit of a crazy idea to something we all really believed in.
With the feedback from these groups I continued to develop characters and a few months later the product was launched online as a pack of four characters cards through Box of Awesome to a very positive response.
Not long after that we started talking to a distributor and they launched OiDroids into retail. This included a number of independent toy stores as well as WHSmith high street stores. For this launch I added an extra 32 characters, taking the initial 64 up to 96. The product range was expanded from a Four Pack with a 12 Pack and, as they’d proved really popular as party bag fillers, a Party Pack which includes 10 sets of OiDroids packs, invitations and party bags.
We supported the products with giveaways, promotions, an augmented reality app, social media and an animated advert. In the last year we’ve added an animator and a producer to the team, so we’re really focussing on bringing the characters and their world to life through animation and video.
We also have new product on the way. In future I’ll be releasing smaller sets of characters more frequently throughout the year, which I think will make the product more exciting as a collectable and allow us to build a product range of themed character sets. The first one of these the ‘Nuts ’n’ Bolts Crew’ is in production now and will be released very soon. We’ll be distributing directly ourselves for the time being which means we’re able to launch a 99p pocket money three character pack for retail which is very much more in keeping with my original vision for the product.
OiDroids are now also available in the US through Amazon. They seem to be meeting with a positive reaction out there too and it’s interesting that customers there seem to value the educational benefits more out there with several buyers emailing us to tell us that they’re using them as bodies for bristle bots they’re building in their STEM classes. It’s very early days but we hope sales will continue to grow out there.
It was a massive surprise to come to BLE this year and win LicenseThis with OiDroids and I’m really looking forward to having a stand at the show next year and the opportunities that could come from it.
I believe OiDroids holds great potential for licensing – be it the cards themselves in conjunction with partner brands or extending the pop-out and build character concept to items such as greetings cards and books. The possibility of including the pop-out and build characters would make them a great gift as well and these characters could be exclusive to the cards or could be seasonal versions that aren’t available in our normal packs which would really enhance the collectability of these items.
I also think the characters are strong enough to make great products from stationery to apparel and, again, I’d love to see these items coming with the featured character to pop-out and build on a tag.
I can think of endless products that would hold great potential for OiDroids, it’s just a case of finding the right partners. My hope in entering LicenseThis was that we’d be able to open up to potential partners who are looking for something new instead of the established brands – something that could be the next big thing, which, hopefully, will be OiDroids!
OiDroids are collectable pop-out and build robots characters. Each one comes on its own postcard sized card, ready to pop-out, fold and join. No cutting or sticking needed. The design is patented and the cards are made and packed here in the UK. Find out more at OiDroids.com.