It started as a pet project, a dad mucking around with his three boys before EverBlock launched in January and the first blocks were shipped in March.
Once he knew he was on a winner, Rosan pushed impressively to get EverBlock at some high-profile PGA events like the Zurich Classic, the Byron Nelson Classic and even the US Women’s Open.
It’s already in a few US and Hong Kong retail stores and soon, Australia.
And business is picking up fast. This week, Rosan said the EverBlock site topped 130,000 visits in just four days as media started picking up on fans posting their creations online and at art shows.
In the US, they retail for $US3.95 for the 3-inch blocks up to $US7.25 for the 12-inch blocks.
Here’s how they work:
Rosan says about 20 “is a good number for kids to play around with”.
But you’ll need up to 80 to really open up creatively and start building your own chairs, benches and tables.
Or even exterior walls:
“We tend to let the user decide what they want to build, rather than limit their imagination with specific plans or suggestions,” Rosan says. “This leads to incredible objects being designed and we are always amazed by what people come up with.
“That said, we are starting to build an object library with step-by-step instructions on building the various staple items on our site like tables, chairs, sofas, desks, and other objects we plan to add.”
To that end, EverBlock has added a 3D Virtual EverBlock Builder to its web site, which helps people design objects before ordering blocks.
When it comes to 3D printing, a product line based on big, plastic bricks seems ripe for piracy. But while Rosan’s fascination with the Maker movement prompted him to build the blocks, he says it would be “incredibly inefficient and time consuming” to print blocks the size of EverBlock.
While he still admits “every product is at risk”, Rosan’s confident customers will stay loyal to the best product.
“I believe that if you stay close to your customers and respond to their needs, forming a true relationship between your brand and your customers, your customers won’t buy pirated products, even if they can save a few pennies,” he said.
“And it’s fairly expensive to build the tooling for these blocks and we keep adding new parts (and more tooling), so hopefully the upfront expense to get into the game serves as a type of barrier to entry.”
Yes, they’re coming to Australia.
EverBlocks ship to Australia, but the dollar conversion and shipping costs are obviously a huge hurdle. So Rosan is working with a Sydney agent, who told us he’ll have stock in Australia comfortably before Christmas.
Rosan says he sees his own kids spending less time on Minecraft and more time building out “ideas that I write off before even trying to build them”. But more and more people are using them less as playthings and posting their creations online.
There’s cool architectural decor:
— EverBlock Systems (@EverBlock) August 25, 2015
And even modular buildings:
Which obviously need to be built with some guidance.
“We try to make sure (customers) understand that they need to reinforce taller walls and constructions with additional columns, extensions, and internal reinforcement rods,” Rosan says, adding that EverBlock “advises people to have wall designs reviewed by a qualified contractor or engineer”.
There’s even a couple of channels built in for lighting strips and reinforcement rods:
So military applications aren’t out of the question. Several of Rosan’s previous startups had military and disaster relief applications and he reckons it’s only a matter of time “until governments and aid agencies see the value in having a rapidly deployable building system that is so versatile and re-useable”.
“While tents are great, having a rigid block wall offers a greater level of protection and prevents unauthorized entry,” he says.
But right now, Rosan’s just interested in growing the business “organically, at a good pace”. For all the architectural applications – one guy made a Mondrian-inspired apartment divider for his New York apartment – Rosan’s favourite to date is this life sized “Mario” from the video game made entirely from EverBlocks.
“It’s important to me that the business … remains fun and interesting,” Rosan says. “That, to me, would be true success.”
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