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Hello 2016!

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone that found our kits in their stocking, under their tree or just bought a treat for themselves is enjoying them.  I've already seen some cool creations and I'd love to see pictures on our Facebook page! 

Usually I'm all about ending the holidays on January 1st, but this year I find it hard to let go.  We've had such an amazing holiday season and we are so looking forward to 2016 and all of the great things we've got coming up.  March will have us at another STEAM Fest and possibly another TEDx event.  Our shop will be open fully by the end of January (hopefully!) and we're hoping to have a forum and YouTube Channel in the next few months!  So much to do!

 Have a happy and curvy New Year everybody!  Many, many more updates coming soon.

Christmas Update

Our first shipment of HyPars!

Unfortunately, it’s made bittersweet by the fact that we only have white HyPars and no connectors. If we can get connectors in the next few days we’re going to sell a limited edition “Candy Cane” kit that will make a perfect stocking stuffer. Fingers crossed!

We really appreciate everyone who has asked us about these for Christmas and we’re so sorry to have missed the deadline. Production hit a few snags and it’s just taken longer than we thought. Keep us in mind, though! You’ll know the moment our “digital doors” open. Hopefully we’ll be accepting orders for these limited edition kits soon.

In the meantime, enjoy whatever winter holiday you celebrate and have a beautiful New Year! We’ll make 2016 the curviest yet! ;

STEM Nights and the HyPars Shop Opening

I'm just going to stop foreshadowing blog posts.  Eventually this will be a weekly blog and it will make sense to do that.  Lately I just haven't wanted to post much until I had some real news.  So on to the real news!

We had such a great time with Aspen Creek K-8 and their STEM week!  On Monday, November 9th, we participated in STEM day and let the 6th grade class check out HyPars.  Mr. Haxton was so great, he let us use his room and made me thoroughly wish I had pursued my dream of teaching.  I have to say thank you once again to Mr. Eric Miller for coming with me and representing HyPars in the best way possible.  I definitely couldn't have managed without him.  

On Friday, November 13th, we were lucky enough to also have a table at their STEM night where all kinds different organizations and businesses set up booths and events for both kids and parents.  Let me tell you, Aspen Creek KNOWS how to host a STEM night.  We met some super smart, fun kids and their equally fantastic parents.  As always we saw some really great creations that we've never seen before, including this new take on the flower that you might just be seeing in a kit one of these days.  Thanks to all the parents that have signed up so far to be notified when the store opens.  You'll know the moment we start up.  If you haven't signed up already and you would like to, just click here and fill out the form.  I promise not to spam you, you'll just receive the one email alerting you to the shop opening.

 We are still planning to be on the market before Christmas, but it's going to be down to the wire. Our mold issues have been corrected and they're going to injection mold the connectors this week.  Hopefully next week they'll be making the HyPars.  We have a palette of shipping boxes arriving at our house tomorrow.  Maybe I'll get some pictures of the fun as we manually unload them off the truck.  It's gonna be awesome. 

We're so close!  Once we start shipping kits I'll be opening up the comments on the blog.  It's a little intimidating, I admit, but I'm sure we'll get nothing but good, constructive feedback.  Right?  If you need to contact us in the meantime, though, you can use the contact tab on the website, message us on Facebook or just email me at mitzi@hypars.com. 

 Last thing, I'm going to be running some local (Denver/Boulder area) play tests for home school educators.  Please let me know if you would like to be involved in this.  Feel free to use any of the contact info above. If you live out of state or farther away, still contact me.  I've got some ideas for something like a traveling play test in the first quarter of 2016. Take care and keep up the curve love!

The Really Real World

Wow, do you think that a time warp would be in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid? Maybe just a parabolic structure? Regardless, I’m pretty sure I hit one. Suddenly I’m very late with the blog post. All apologies, I’ll try not to let it happen again.

I have some frustrating news. There is a problem with the mold that our injection molding company will use to make the building toys. The pieces have been slightly redesigned to address the issue (don’t worry, you’ll like the change). Now the mold has to be manually altered and then the pieces made. What this means to you is we most likely will not be on the market mid-Fall as we had hoped. There is a chance we will still make Christmas and if that is the case I will absolutely tell you what to expect so that you can adjust your Christmas lists (or letters to Santa) as necessary. Unfortunately, it’s just one of the setbacks that come along with creating a new product. We’re as disappointed as you, but still determined to be out there as soon as humanly possible.

I will keep you posted on the stocking date and if we can be on the market by Christmas we might come up with a surprise or two for our local customers.  The next blog post might not be in a week, BUT it’s going to be about hyperbolic paraboloids and art.  I know many serious mathematicians think art and math are one and the same, but for some of us we need to see the lines drawn out, so to speak.

Take care and keep on curvin’!

 

TEDx Arena Circle Review

What an honor to be invited to exhibit at TEDx Arena Circle! We met a lot of great people and we were fortunate to show off our building toys to such a brilliant and enthusiastic crowd. Our booth was just a few feet behind a real TED stage!

 There were some pretty amazing things going on that day including the Go Fast jet pack, a funky maestro, a whip and nae nae’n principal (loved him!) and the greatest performance artist I’ve seen. Seriously, this was an inspirational show. We also got to watch people test ride Blow Fly Hover Boards, which was at the very least entertaining and at most super intimidating. Kudos to all the people that tried those out.

Thank you to Michael Shields and the rest of the TEDx crew for having us out. We really appreciate it and we had a blast. If we saw you at the booth, thanks for playing with us!

Next week’s post is going to be all about the hyperbolic paraboloid and its borderline cult following. Did you know the Pringle (snack chip) is a hyperbolic paraboloid? It totally is, does that make it curvalicious? I like to think so.

TEDx Preview and Updates

We are so excited to have been selected for an exhibit at the TEDx Arena Circle in Loveland, CO! Honestly, we were excited when the TED representative stopped by our booth at STEAM Fest. We were more excited when he came back by later. You can imagine how thrilled we were when he contacted us and told us he wanted us to be at the event. Mostly we’ll be play testing again and have examples of the previous iterations of the design. I’ll write up a review on that for next week. It’s going to be a pretty amazing day.

We have also been asked to attend STEM Week at Aspen Creek K-8 in Broomfield. This event is especially dear to us as we want HyPars to be more than just a building toy. Our dream is to see them used in schools and home school class rooms to teach creativity, problem solving and math skills. This might be a step toward that, but either way, it’s always a blast to see kids with the toys. They come up with the coolest, craziest structures. Our to-do list this week includes weighing kits to enter shipping costs into our online store, building a pvc display stand for our banner and finding a place to build a shipping area in our basement. You’re getting in on the grassroots movement here! It really doesn’t get much better than this. I hope that someday we’ll look back on these days fondly (“Remember when we were shipping out of the basement?”). We’re still looking good for our first round of parts to arrive end of October / early November, but I’ll keep you posted.

Lots more to come. Come see us (and all of the other amazing things) at TEDx Arena Circle!

Keep it curvy!

Building Toy Kits and Expanding Your Inventory

I know I promised “kits, how to build your inventory and what to expect when the store opens” in my last post, but I’m only going to deliver on the first two. We’re still in the early stages of the store development and I don’t think I’m in any position yet to explain how it will work. Other than the basic, “you will click on items then pay for them and we will ship them to you”. I guess that’s the overview.

Our kits, for the most part, are laid out and settled, so I can certainly tell you about those. If you check out our Instructions tab, you should notice a few things. First, the pictures scrolling across the top are cover pages from a few of our actual kits. The instructions are divided into sections, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. These classifications are based on both difficulty and number of HyPars and Connectors required. So while you may see a kit in the intermediate section that is simple to build, it likely requires a higher number of pieces. We honestly think that once you are comfortable with HyPars, none of our kits are “difficult”, just more advanced.

The second thing you should note is that all of our instructions are available to view or download for free on our website. This will always be the case. You are purchasing parts from us, not building plans. Because HyPars have only two pieces (the HyPar and the Connector) you can build any of our structures once you have enough pieces, they just might not be in the same colors. (That’s ok, for most of them Isaac decided the colors based on his mood that day.)

The third notable, though less obvious, idea about our kits is that we have tried to build kits in all price ranges. If you aren’t sure if you, your child or your class are going to enjoy HyPars we have kits in a lower price range with fewer pieces. If you have played with them before and you know you want a lot of them, you can buy one of our larger kits. We will also have “inventory builder” kits in our store so you can buy a larger set of pieces and choose the colors you want. Most likely there will be a limit to number of colors per kit (e.g., choose 4 colors for a 100 HyPar kit).

Hopefully this will give you some idea where to start with us. I’m about to schedule a homeschool specific playtest in the Longmont, CO area, so if you qualify for that and you are interested, contact me via this link, or the FaceBook Page. We hope to be debuting in the Pacific Northwest, and possibly Pennsylvania, soon. If you want to host a playtest in your area, keep an eye on the blog. We’re going to have some fun opportunities coming up either end of the year or beginning of 2016!

Stay Curved!

STEAM Fest 2015 Review

How did I manage to be late with the second blog post ever? I blame STEAM Fest. We worked hard to get everything ready in time and it definitely paid off. This is the booth before the show. We would have taken more pictures of the booth packed with people, but we were all too busy!

A maker fair is pretty much a sure win as a building toy company. No way they aren’t going to like it, right? That said, the enthusiasm and interest was overwhelming and so very appreciated. The night before the show Isaac and I were both having those last minute “what if no one likes us?” thoughts. Instead of those nightmares coming true, we spent a couple of days with hundreds of genuinely excited people and it was amazing and humbling.

After spending enough time with a product like this, it’s easy to think we’ve seen pretty much all it can do. Then we get to watch people who have never seen it before build completely new things. Sometimes very obvious things, like a sword. We’re a typical geek family. We play games (board and video) we read and watch sci-fi and fantasy and we attend the Renaissance Festival about every other year. It’s astounding to me that we never thought to build a sword.

This enterprising gentleman made one in about twenty minutes and our heads exploded. On the second day of the show HyPars was basically just a booth for people to come build swords. Everybody was using the first basic design and then improving on it, which really comes down to the whole heart of the maker movement and science in general. It was fantastic to witness and we’re so glad to have been a part of it.




All in all we made some great connections for HyPars, we met some super talented people (adults and kids alike) and we got to see first hand how much curvy goodness and fun we can bring to the world. Thank you Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest Staff, especially Anne and Martha, as well as Maker Boulder for hosting us. Thank you to all of the other vendors (we’re looking at you Boxwood Pinball) for dealing with our obnoxious boomerang swag in your booths. I have to also send out a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Russell and Eric Miller who worked our booth non-stop for both days. You both made this absolutely possible and we adore you. Next week the blog is going to cover our kits, how to build your inventory and what you can expect when our store opens!

Welcome to the HyPars Family

Hello! Thanks for stopping by, I’m Mitzi from HyPars. I’ll be writing most of the posts for our blog. Just so you’re aware up front, we’re a family company. Denny Newland, creator of HyPars, inventor, semi-retired nuclear engineer and family patriarch, needed some help getting his new building toys on the market and Isaac, my husband and Denny’s son, and I jumped on board. You can read about all that on our About Page, though.

Let me tell you what we’re up to over the next couple of months. Right off the bat we’ve got our website launch. If you're reading this, then that happened. That’s a good thing, we’ve been putting a lot of time and effort in to the site. Leah, our designer, has been amazing and extremely patient. Apparently creating a website is like being a parent. You see people do it all the time and it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but then you do it and suddenly it’s a whole world of things you didn’t realize existed. (SEO wha???)

Coming up this weekend, the weekend of September 5th and 6th ,we’ve got a booth at the Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest. This is a type of maker fair, but all of the booths have hands on activities. They have so many amazing things planned including Drone Wars and some life size brick building (think computer game that all the kids play and tons of adults play…sounds kind of like mind raft.) Also, and this is huge, Dr. Temple Grandin is speaking on Sunday. We will be running play tests Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm, so if you’re in the area, come see us.

As soon as STEAM Fest is done we jump feet first into the rabbit hole that is online retail. We’ve got packaging, inventory management, shipping to figure out and an online store to build! Our first round of parts is being injection molded in the United States and then hand delivered by our intrepid leader hopefully in October. The plan is to have our store open in November. After that we’ll be making all of our parts here in Colorado!

Hopefully from that point on we’ll be busy with holiday shipping and having fun with our two little ones over the holiday season. We have a few other fun plans in the works. You didn’t hear it from me, but there’s talk of a You Tube Channel and a forum! We’ve got to make it so all the kids that want to post in our forum stay safe, though, so we’re not rushing in to that one.