If you follow me on Twitter (if not, please follow me on Twitter! @gregaronowitz! Thnx!) you may have noticed a barrage of tweets about Floppets. Your first thought was probably "Why is he cluttering my timeline with toy endorsements!?!?!" I apologize, I usually refrain from multiple plugs, but I'm going to explain why I did it this time within this blog. Hopefully I will also answer the question that was most likely your second thought, "What IS a Floppet!?!"
Photo 1: A FLOPPET is a collectible, wearable "pet". Each character is a small PVC shape with a patented post on the back, which hooks into a velcro tether. The tether can wrap around anything you can think to attach it to!
Photo 2: Originally conceived by Ilyse Brainin, a teacher well known for her work with reading impaired children, Floppets were intended for kids to use as decoration on their flip-flops at the beach. Once they ended up in children's hands, it didn't take long to find tons of other uses for them: rings, hair-ties, pencil toppers, locker markers, book bag tags, and as you see here, I am using them as holiday ornaments! Obviously, any adult with the collecting bug will love them, too.
Photo 3: Why am I promoting them so much? Ilyse has been a friend of mine for a long time, and we have worked together on multiple amazing projects. She took her inspiration for Floptopia and the Petlets and formed the Zydeco company with another great friend, Rich Goodman. He handles all of the operations, and keeps the company functioning! They asked me to partner with them on this new adventure, and help create characters and concepts that would take the company in new directions. The second I saw what they were doing, I knew I had to be involved.
Photo 4: I think all the designs are amazing, but I particularly love using the skunk to tie my power cable, and ward would-be borrowers away...
Photo 5: No matter how many project companies I start, I always forget how much work goes into them. It's not a bad thing, it's actually my favorite part. It is really just A LOT of work. Once the physical Floppets were done, they needed tags. An outside needed to be designed...
Photo 6: And then an inside! There are so many details to keep the product functional. If Rich never has to see another barcode again, he would be thrilled. Unfortunately, that will not be the case, as there are going to be hundreds, if not THOUSANDS, more Floppets to come!
Photo 7: The response to the original Floppet designs was overwhelming, and I felt there was a huge potential for the brand to grow even larger. I wanted to move the company into licensed properties, but my partners agreed that we also wanted to keep the company "grass-roots" for a while longer, so we could have a stronger grasp on operating the business before branching out too far.
Photo 8: We were all very happy with the end results. This mythical creature seems to make everyone smile, including other mythical creatures such as Team Unicorn's Milynn Sarley!
Photo 11: I introduced Felicia Day to Rich while we where at Wizard World in Chicago, and he gave her a kitten Floppet. Of course, she loved it! A collaboration seemed obvious, and I started laying out the plan straight away. It is so exciting to have Codex, Vork, Zaboo, Tink, Clara, and Bladezz join our line-up.
Photo 14: And their director! Guild helmer Sean Becker models the choker version...
Photo 15: The main challenge The Guild offered was the level of detail that needed to be achieved. This series has really helped set the bar as far as the quality you will get with the Floppets brand. Series one is based on the animated avatars from the show's opening titles, and I really didn't want to do it unless we could recreate the look exactly. It took a little bit of work, but I am very happy with the end result. I hope you are, too!
Photo 16: The art of PVC inlay is not new, but it is the level of detail we are pushing to achieve that makes our product special. Especially since most Floppets are no bigger than 1 1/2 inches! Above is an example of an average mass produced PVC inlay product.
Photo 17: When you buy a PVC key chain or charm, they are made by hand layering liquid plastic into metal gang molds. The shapes are usually broad and simple, to help speed up production. This is an example of a typical character mold.
Photo 18: Here is one of our molds for the Zaboo Floppet. You can see the elevated amount of detail. All of those lines will be hand painted in the various colors...
Photo 21: The finished Codex. There were several versions of Codex in the design stage. I originally thought she might have more of a presence with a black outline, but filling her with solid black dulled down the other colors. Ultimately, we went with a white border, which helps give her a unique identity when lined up with the rest of the gang.
Photo 22: And... more tags! We got all the Guild Floppets shipped in time for the holidays, but the tags were delayed. In order to make sure that fans could get them in time, I hand cut a bunch of tags to keep the orders flowing. I don't know, would that be considered a collectible variant!?!