Chris Meade, 41 of the SouthPark area began Genetipetz in 2012. Over the past year, the local creative toy company has grown substantially and is about to expand their line of adorable mixed up stuffed animals! See how your child can help design the next character!
Q. What exactly is a Genetipetz?
A. Genetipetz are kid-designed mixed up stuffed animals. What do you get when you combine a cow and a giraffe? A Mooraffe! Kids suggest the combinations, everyone votes for their favorites and we make the winners into the softest, most huggable, and most unusual stuffed animals in the world!
Q. How did you get the idea for Genetipetz?
A. I had the idea for Genetipetz over 15 years ago while sitting in a cube contemplating whether working a in a cube was all there was to life. It took a while to make it a reality, but I realized now was the time my kids loved stuffed animals, I was in transition after retiring from the nonprofit I had founded, and it was the perfect way to teach our kids about starting a business that we could all do together as a family.
Q. How did your children react to the idea?
A. They loved the idea. Jackson and Cavan are super-creative kids and they have had no shortage of ideas for mixed up animals. The hardest part early-on was when I came home with stuffed animals from the toy store, tore them apart and then sewed them back together is some very strange combinations. Cavan thought it was pretty cruel to take apart such cute stuffed elephants, cats, dogs and other creatures. Of course he was right and so we then set about creating animals from scratch no stuffed animals are hurt when making Genetipetz today!
Q. What does the customer get when they purchase a character?
A. Our online customers can select which mixed up character they want. Each Genetipetz Pal ships in its own pet carrier. They all also contain a chip and coded label sewn into them that can link the pet back to our online clubhouse via a smart phone or tablet. They can name their pet, learn about genetics and play games that we are continually enhancing at the clubhouse.
Q. Are you expanding your line?
A. We are actively expanding the line of characters. Our goal is to launch 5 more characters by February 2014 in time for the next annual Toy Fair in New York City. We are seeking ideas for these characters right now through our Design Contest.
Q. Tell me about the contest going on
A. Everyone can come up with their own idea for a mixed up Genetipetz Pal and enter our Design Contest. The Contest runs through September 30th. All you do to enter is think of 2 to 4 animals you would like to combine, draw a picture of the combination, take a photo and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone can then vote for their favorites and we will make the winning designs into our future production characters.
Q. What has been the feedback from your fans?
A. We had only 400 fanz in May; 4 months later and we now have over 7000 on Facebook and they love Genetipetz! Entries for the contest come in each day, but there is plenty of time and space for more ideas! We love having everyone tell us what to create and to be a part of the collective voice that helps us grow and produce even more unusual stuffed animal Palz.
Q. Which is your favorite Genetipetz?
A. Now that isnt fair thats like asking me which child I love more! Simply said, I love them all some combinations make me laugh (like the Skoink a pig/skunk combo), some make me scratch my head and some kind of creep me out to be honest but they are all fun because they celebrate our differences and remind us of the power of our imagination. Genetipetz its the pet you always wanted!
You can find more information at:
Design Contest: http://www.mygenetipetz.com/DesignContest.aspx