“Everybody has an inventor in them, you just need the confidence to listen to that voice inside of you.”
These were the words of wisdom offered to ToyNews last week, when the team took a seat with toy inventor, Ali Kermani to talk about the ongoing success of his creation, the Crazy Cart.
“I now have my dream job, and it is one that I sort of stumbled upon all by accident.”
Three years ago, the words Crazy Cart would have raised little more than an eyebrow from toy buyers the world over as the fledgling product once labeled as ‘too new for the market’, battled for industry recognition.
By mid-2013 however, the innovative drifter was raising pulses across the globe, having sold out of more than 30,000 units at Toys R Us in the US and even secured the 2014 accolade, Toy of the Year.
Today, Kermani is touting the latest developments in the Crazy Cart dynasty, the Crazy Cart XL and the Lil' Crazy, two variations of the original, launched in response to popular demand.
But the Crazy Cart journey has been far from an overnight success. In fact, looking at the skateboarding and snowboarding fanatic, it’s hard to believe that Kermani’s Crazy Cart has been over ten years in the making.
“The project actually started in 2004,” he tells ToyNews. “I was working at Razor when we were tasked with updating the bumper car. The product we ended up with was the early designs of the Crazy Cart.
“We took it to the president of the company and he immediately started picking it apart. For a start, it was too complicated, but most importantly it was ‘too new’.
“The issue was, it didn’t have a precedent and in 2004, before YouTube really took off, the only way to achieve a mass info campaign was through TV advertising. That was too much to ask for an item that we weren’t even sure people wanted.”
For the next two years, the Crazy Cart remained little more than an object of mirth in the Razor offices, until one day in 2008, Kermani took it upon himself to turn the Crazy Cart in to a Toy of the Year.
“Of course, everybody told me ‘no’,” he continues. “So I started delineating the most important criticisms and started to address those. Instead of seeing a stop sign, I saw each as a trail marker on the path to success.”
Fast-forward the years, and by 2013 Kermani was ready to launch the Crazy Cart as it appears today.
And his first taste of success eventually arrived via Toys R Us, who agreed to give the product a test run through its online store.
“It was good news, but it wasn’t great,” explains Kermani. “However, by this time, YouTube was at an all time high, so I thought I would make a video and show people how much fun this cart is.”
Hoping to get around 1000 online views, Kermani managed to captivate an audience of over 100,000, gaining 10,000 views every hour.
“As a result, the Toys R Us test run went very well, they ended up going for full production and six months in to 2013, we had produced and sold out of 30,000 units. It was awesome and super vindicating.
“It was nine years after I was telling people the Crazy Cart would be Toy of the Year, but we had created a community of Crazy Cart fans, largely through YouTube,” says Kermani.
“I even created a channel called Crazy Cart TV and started to populate it with videos, so innovation really has been the corner stone of the entire Crazy Cart journey.”
Despite the arduous journey to retail, Kermani believes that the Crazy Cart word is only still just getting out there.
“I see an amazing future for Crazy Cart. And that is the beauty of when you believe in an item, you put everything in to it,” he says. “I am now looking to start a Crazy Cart racing series. I live by the axiom, if you have tasted the truth, then you can reproduce it.”
And that’s not Kermani’s only word of advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs, and he offers a comprehensive mantra on industry success.
Ali Kermani’s advice to help you on your path to success:
- Believe in yourself – “If you let people tell you that you could never achieve it, it won’t happen. If you believe in your idea, then start there.”
- Talk about it – “I talk to everybody about my ideas. A lot of people are afraid of having their ideas stolen. But ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the execution that’s worth a million dollars.”
- Listen to your peers – “By showing everybody, they give you feedback and input. A ‘yes’ is great for your ego, but a ‘no’ is better for you progress.
- Be prepared to earn success – “Nothing that is worth having, comes easily. If you want something that you have never had, you have to be willing to try something you have never done.”