The Journey to Snap Swaps began May 17, 2017, I (Kristen) was working at a children's clothing store. I really love kids, they can say the funniest things. As time passed the kids started talking less and less, they began having a phone or tablet with them and it was if they didn't even notice the world around them. Little girls weren't even interested in shopping for their clothes, thats just crazy... they just wanted to watch whatever was on the phone. They wouldn't talk to me or even answer their own parents. I was saddened and their mom and or dad's were really frustrated.
Prior to this I had asked God to dust off my 50 year old brain, I was coasting along in life and ready for something to shake me up. One day I was walking my dogs, as I do most days. I was thinking about the kids who I saw at work and reflected on shopping with my own son. When we were out and about other kids were like a magnet, they just instantly made friends and had a great time just playing or showing off whatever toy they had with them. As I walked, sad about this loss of "kid connection", what was to be Snap Swaps just popped into my head. My concept was really rough, I am not an artist or designer of any kind.
I called Shaun, my fiancé while I was walking home and told him about my idea for a toy bracelet that kids could wear and play with. The bracelet could have small links with characters on them that kids could trade and collect.
This is where Shaun shines, he had graduated from Texas Tech with a Bachelors of Fine Arts....I won't tell you how long ago, lol. He was working at a company doing shipping and receiving 10 hrs a day, doing absolutely nothing with his talent. He had built a beautiful home, with his own two hands, in White Deer, a wonderful small town but not exactly in need of a computer art graphics designer. Shaun was doing what he had to do to pay the bills, he appreciated having a job but wished to be back in graphics.
Back to the story....within the last 20 minutes of my walking the dogs we had a name for the toy, Snap Swaps, and by that evening Shaun had made the first mock template, that would be refined over the next year and a half. Check out his first design made out of wood.
For the next year Shaun would create different ways to connect the links and begin to design the art work on the character pieces. Shaun would work on Snap Swaps for about four hours a night, after a ten hour work day, his passion for graphic art was ignited. He was my inspiration to keep learning and growing not only the company but as a person. Honestly I never in my wildest dreams did I ever think this would come to fruition. Shaun was doing what he loved every night and God answered my Prayer and began "dusting off" my brain. The first "line" or series we decided to create is now the Fun Faces collection. We had decided on how we wanted them to link or SNAP together, we wanted the snap to keep the bracelet secure but also to challenge kids by making them not so easy to get the hang of right from the start. Things come too easy these days for all of us, so you have to work at the snaps to master them.
Shaun sculpted the very first piece out of molding clay, then he created a silicone mold and cast it with fiberglass resin to create the very first Snap Swaps. Shaun, and his mad computer skills, designed different CAD drawings until he came up with the final design that was 3-D printed and then hand painted by a fantastic local nail artist Casandra Bartrum. These were the first working prototypes that we could use in researching our business model. We would eventually send the working CAD drawings to the injection mold maker and Snap Swaps manufacturers. These are the first pieces that he had cast and hand painted.
While Shaun was creating these cool pieces I went to our local Small Business Development center here in Amarillo and spoke with Rick Palmer who became my consultant, friend and biggest cheerleader. I have to admit back then I was a crazy person, Rick will gladly laugh and may tell you a story or two. I didn't have a clue about business, I graduated college with a Bachelors in Communications, when there wasn't internet! As Rick guided me into Business Planning, I took every available class and attended every luncheon or speaker they had to offer. I slowly was getting legs underneath me and with Ricks encouragement began to believe in myself. As I continued with classes and learned from great businessmen, lawyers, and other local leaders who would continue to guide me. I would also meet amazing people who attended these classes as well and soaked up all the knowledge they had. During a Google marketing class I met Andrew Flores from Amarillo College, he helped me find our sourcing agent who would connect us with the right manufacturer. Thank You Andrew!
There is a lot to this story, perhaps i'll start a blog...I have no idea how to do that but I can bet I can find a class or someone in our community to teach me, in the meantime I better get back to work!
Now for our "spiel"
SNAP SWAPS is a simple and affordable way for “fun on the run”, as an alternative to “screen time”. Enhancing traditional play of collecting and trading that can be worn. SNAP SWAPS will encourage interaction and communication amongst kids. These key elements of socialization skills may be getting lost to technology.
With SNAP SWAPS a child can get together with their friends and interactively SWAP pieces. Who has the latest, coolest pieces? Some are created to show off personality, others are interactive and some even glow in the dark. Imagine two children playing with toys that attach around their wrist; or themed birthday parties; or school fundraisers.
New lines of SNAP SWAPS, along with Limited Edition pieces and their favorite characters will keep the fun fresh for kids.