AS SEEN IN...
Boston Business Journal: 8-year-old entrepreneur among finalists in Daily Grommet competition
Upstart: 8-year-old inventor takes on big question: How to get marshmellows into hot chocolate (re-posted from BBJ)
Boston Herald: Startups score in monster product pitch at Fenway
Wicked Local Weston: Weston youth in finals of ‘Product Pitch at Fenway’
Radio BDC (Radio Boston.com) interviews The Hive’s Michael Morisy on the product pitch event
Hello from Max's Parents
We are the proud parents of an 8-year-old entrerpreneur who is hoping to bring his ingenious invention, a "Mug with a Hoop"TM, to market. As a Finalist in the Product Pitch at Fenway, Max captured the hearts and minds of the esteemed judges and was the clear winner in the online community vote on Facebook.
As a Product Pitch Finalist, MAX'IS Creations has been offered this wonderful opportunity of an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds and test the market. Our goals for this campaign are three-fold:
1. To defray initial start-up costs for design and production.
2. To test the market and determine interest and support for manufacturing and distributing Max's product more widely.
3. To leverage the Indiegogo platform to feature and celebrate the upside of dyslexia and promote awareness and support for dyslexia research.
We know that most people are not interested in paying such a high price for a hot chocolate mug. However, the first run, Limited Edition of the Original MAX'IS Creations "Mug With a Hoop" (TM) patent pending design will be handcrafted. They will cost ~$22.80 per unit to manufacture, with an additional $3-5 to package, plus additional shipping.
Our hope is that the money that people like you donate to this campaign will not only be used to offset some of the initial production costs (prototypes, molds, manufacturing setup fees), but it will allow us to find ways to produce mugs in larger quantities at lower cost, that will make them more widely available. We are already working with advisors to identify ways to manufacture in the United States at lower cost and for wider distribution.
Even if you are not interested in one of Max's first run Limited Edition mugs, you can simply show your support for Max's ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit by making a small contribution on behalf of dyslexia research.
Max himself is dyslexic. His invention highlights that dyslexia is not only a learning disability, but it’s also a gift; and one that allowed him to envision a basketball hoop for marshmallow tossing where other people just see a mug!
And, if nothing else, just enjoy Max's story below and share it with others. While his first run Limited Edition mugs are expensive, his story and your support for kids like him is priceless.
And now, let us introduce you to Max. (We helped him with the written text but the spirit is all Max).
Hello from Max
Hi, my name is Max and I am 8 years old. I am in 2nd Grade at the Carroll School in Waltham, Massachusetts.
I have lots of ideas. I find them in my head. But this is my best idea so far. I even have a patent pending!
My invention is a hot chocolate mug with a basketball hoop for throwing mini marshmallows.
My vision is that the world would be a better place if we could play with our food! (TM)
I was recently selected from a field of 145 as one of ten finalists in the Product Pitch at Fenway innovation contest sponsored by the Daily Grommet, Indiegogo, Google Apps and Boston.com. I got to go to Fenway Park and present my idea to a panel of judges that included venture capitalists and the media. I was the only kid.
The good news is that everyone who has seen my mug wants to buy one. Now I just need to find a way to bring my mugs to market.
The first run, Limited Edition of my patent pending mugs will be handcrafted at Mudshark Studios in Portland, Oregon. The initial cost per mug is pretty high for a hot cocoa mug. We are hoping that the money we raise on Indiegogo will allow us to lower production costs and increase our scale of production. My dream is that one day everyone who wants one of my mugs will be able to buy one.
The Story Behind My Invention
I made my first mug with a basketball hoop in art class at school. I knew it was a good idea because other kids started copying me. At first, I was kind of upset. But my mom said that it was a compliment because it was such a good idea. A Professor at Babson College invited me to present my idea in a mini “Rocket Pitch” at the Center for Entrepreneurship.
They liked my idea a lot. And so I worked with Sean O'Reilly at 3D Printsmith to design and 3D print my first prototype.
Two weeks ago, my parents helped me submit my idea to the Product Pitch at Fenway contest http://www.dailygrommet.com/blog/maxis-creations/. You can watch my Youtube video submission http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDm6IvTugsM which has already been viewed by over a thousand people! I was really excited when I learned I was a finalist. I got to go to the Boston Globe for my first interview and then the Boston Business Journal and Upstart featured my story.
Boston Globe interview: http://bcove.me/2ieqmc0v.
The Product Pitch at Fenway was really Fun. It was viewed by 22 thousand people on Boston.com. Everyone said I did a really good job.
They even talked about my invention on the radio. Julie Kramer, the host of BDCRadio said, “What a cute kid. Someday he’ll be changing the world for the better, or if anything, just making a fabulous cup of cocoa.”
Made in the USA
What’s even more special about my mugs is that unlike most mugs, we are going to try to make mine in the United States. There are people in our country who don’t have jobs and there are other people who are trying to help create jobs for them. If I can make my mugs in the United States than maybe I can help those people. I am already working with people who know how to do this.
Brett Binford is a ceramic artist himself and the Co-Founder of Mudshark Studios, a ceramic manufacturing company in Portland, Oregon.
Brett has been working with me in developing the Original MAX’IS Creations "Mug with a Hoop." These are going to be REALLY nice mugs.
The mugs produced at Mudshark Studios will be handcrafted works of art. Each of the 4 pieces of the mug (the handle, the backboard etc.) has to be cast separately and then attached by hand.
Brett said that 7 people would touch each mug during production (which means 7 people have a job that day). I think there will always be people who want the original handcrafted version of my mugs and I am hopeful that Brett and everyone at Mudshark Studios will be helping us fulfill orders for many years to come.
But, our hope is that with financial support from people like you, my advisors will help me find a lower cost way to manufacture my mugs in the U.S. that everyone can afford and enjoy.
Not Just for Marshmallows!
What’s great about my mugs is that you can use them for things besides hot chocolate and marshmallows. If you are having cereal for breakfast you can throw Cheerios (or Cocoa Puffs etc.) through the hoop into the milk. Or raisins and nuts into oatmeal! At lunch, you can throw oyster crackers into soup! You can also use it at snacktime for tossing popcorn or topping ice cream with M&M's and Gummy Bears!
That's my 11-year-old brother Sam in the above photo. He's my Vice President and Head of Product Testing (marshmallow throwing).
Target Market & Distribution Channels
The target audience for my mug is pretty much EVERYONE. Kids of all ages will want my mugs. And so will their moms because they will keep kids from fooling around at the table! My mugs will also be popular at colleges. And even with executives in the boardroom.
My mugs can also bring fun to people who can’t go out and play regular basketball, like kids in the hospital or anyone recovering from an illness or surgery. My mom says it could even be used by people called occupational and physical therapists to help people with dexterity and fine motor control. It could even be something airlines could make available to their passengers sitting in their seats for long plane rides.
Eventually, I might be able to cross-market and/or co-brand with other companies like hot chocolate makers, or marshmallow companies. This could be extended even to soup and cracker companies, breakfast cereal companies; even companies or places that sell ice cream because you can throw sundae toppings with my mug.
The licensing opportunities here are pretty cool. NBA teams, colleges, schools, sports teams, and companies etc. could put their logo on my mugs.
I think college bookstores, sporting goods companies and specialty stores might want to sell my mugs. I also think restaurant chains with Kid's Menus might buy my mugs. Parents could enjoy some adult conversation while their kids throw sundae toppings on their ice cream. And someone else gets to clean up the mess!
Eventually, I even hope to make my mugs for other sports.
The Upside of Dyslexia
I have dyslexia (a language-based learning disability), and so do most of the kids at my school. Kids with dyslexia are very smart. It’s just that our brains process information differently. Sometimes that makes certain activities harder for us (like reading and writing, or remembering and repeating things that we’ve heard). But dyslexia is also a gift that lets people like me see the world differently. And my invention is a good example of why the world is lucky that we do!
Dyslexic entrepreneurs like me are in good company. Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein are other inventors who had dyslexia as supposedly did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Artists Leonardo DaVinci, Pablo Picasso, and Walt Disney are said to have had dyslexia and don’t they each have a wonderful view of the world? Charles Schwab also has dyslexia as did William Hewlett, the Co-Founder of Hewlett-Packard, and they did okay! I am told Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Airlines has dyslexia, as does Ingvar Kamprad, the Founder of Ikea. You never know, maybe someday his company will want to license my patent and sell mugs like mine!
Maybe my campaign and my company, MAX’IS Creations (spelling is mine) can be a platform that supports greater awareness and support for underestanding dyslexia. While we have made a lot of progress since George Washington and Thomas Jefferson founded our country, there has been relatively little progress in our knowledge of dyslexia.
There are many kids like me who do not have the benefit of the teachers and specific learning support that I get at the Carroll School. The Carroll school is working to change that by studying kids like me and using what they learn to help teach others and advance the field.
I hope that people will not only support my company, MAX’IS Creations, but that you might take the opportunity to help support the wonderful research and advancement being done at the Carroll School http://www.carrollschool.org./
If you only have a few dollars to give, I would rather you donate to the Carroll School (see my list of Rewards). Because that will really make a difference in the world. And if my campaign is successful, you could buy a mug later when we are up and running and our costs (and prices) come down.
Thank You From Max's Parents (And How Funds Will Be Used)
We wish to thank everyone for their wonderful support of Max and his ingenious invention. The response from everyone, including the media, has been overwhelming. Max being named as a Finalist in the Product Pitch at Fenway Contest and having this campaign sponsored by Indiegogo has all happened quickly. We are working closely with a set of advisors to protect Max's interests and to determine the appropriate next steps.
We set a goal of $5,008 (the 8 is to celebrate Max!) for this campaign to help Max get started in making his entrepreneurial dream a reality.
We are well aware that the donation costs for a ceramic mug are high and the timeframes for delivery rather long. It will take some time before production is at capacity. It's also going to take time to figure out how to best manufacture mugs in the United States at lower cost.
The initial funds will be used to cover the costs of initial prototype design and 3D printing ($2-3K) and preliminary production set-up costs at Mudshark Studios including casting molds and stamps (~$3K).
Our hope is that addiitonal funds raised beyond our stated goal will allow us to work with experts to design a line of mugs (in ceramic or less expensive materials) that might be more easily manufactured in the United States at larger scale.
Thank You From Max
Thank you for liking my mug so much. I think it’s really nice of you to want to help me start my business. My mugs are really fun. I hope someday anyone who wants one will be able to afford one. I also think it's great to create jobs in the United States and to raise awareness and support for people with dyslexia.
Thank you for donating even a small amount to my campaign. And, if you are old enough, please use the LIKE button and other SHARE tools on the top of this page to share this with other people to help my gogofactor so I can win the Featured Blog opportunity being offered by Indiegogo to whichever Product Pitch finalist gets the most donations (no matter the amount) between now and April 22. So please spread the word (and share widely) to people you know who might like my mugs or want to contribute in some small way.
And, if you’re having a bad day, just remember...
The world would be a better place if we could play with our food! TM
Max and his team had a fantastic weekend at the Rich Altman Sports Memorabilia Show. Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek all signed his "Mug With a Hoop" (see gallery for more photos). The support from the Celtics Legends was priceless. When Sam Jones heard Max was dyslexic he gave him a big hug. Max will be sending each of them their own "Mug With a Hoop" and Sam Jones made sure that Max would be signing his! Over 75 people stopped by and made a contribution to dyslexia research in support of Max's campaign. And congratulations to Joe Fallon from Stoughton for winning the drawing for his very own "Mug With A Hoop!" Don't forget to order your very own mug and supporting Max's venture. Even a $1 donation will go a long way in supporting dyslexia awareness AND help Max's chances of bringing his product to market. PLEASE MAKE A CONTRIBUTION AND SHARE THIS LINK WITH OTHERS. Thank you!
4/13 Update from the MAX'IS Creations Team
Max and his team had a fantastic weekend at the Rich Altman Sports Memorabilia Show. Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek all signed his "Mug With a Hoop" (see gallery for more photos). The support from the Celtics Legends was priceless. When Sam Jones heard Max was dyslexic he gave him a big hug. Max will be sending each of them their own "Mug With a Hoop" and Sam Jones made sure that Max would be signing his!
Over 75 people stopped by and made a contribution to dyslexia research in support of Max's campaign. And congratulations to Joe Fallon from Stoughton for winning the drawing for his very own "Mug With A Hoop!"
Don't forget to order your very own mug and supporting Max's venture. Even a $1 donation will go a long way in supporting dyslexia awareness AND help Max's chances of bringing his product to market.
PLEASE MAKE A CONTRIBUTION AND SHARE THIS LINK WITH OTHERS.