Boba Bot: An Entrepreneurial Journey
When STORY SPARK started in 2015, we never considered creating an original character let alone produce products around it. It was something that we dreamed about but always thought it was out of reach. With today's access to technology and the ability to reach talent so easily, realizing dreams are closer than you'd imagine. Of course it takes an idea, a lot of focus, dedication and hard work, but it can be done even for a small boutique brand like STORY SPARK.
October 1, 2020, marks our official launch of the Boba Bot resin figure that we've been working on for the past year. Like many journeys, producing this product was never a straight a line from start to finish. It involved a series of zigs and zags, delays and surprises – all of which were par for the course. With the many learning lessons that emerged along the way, they are something we don't regret. It made us aware that producing such an item in many ways is like its own entrepreneurial course. Interestingly enough, Boba Bot was perhaps the perfect example for this realization because its original concept is all about the entrepreneurial process!
The Boba Bot Story
Boba Bot is a character that came about from the notion of harnessing a dedication to hard work with the purpose of reaching one's dreams. Robots were developed as tools to accomplish actions that can give humans the necessary time to pursue their goals and passions. If we were to personify bots, why wouldn't they also have their own goals and passions as well? Thus the concept of Boba Bot came about.
With hard work, Boba Bot symbolizes the need to step away and take a well-deserved break. Taking the time to recharge and to enjoy one's passions is something that can be easily forgotten. There is nothing wrong with celebrating milestones and rewarding one's accomplishments whether as a human or a robot.
Boba Bot From Concept to 3D
Like many of STORY SPARK's designs, the development of Boba Bot stemmed from a core concept or message. In the case of Boba Bot, the concept was all about rewarding yourself after a hard day of automation. The process of realizing it took several iterations that involved visual explorations ranging from both hand-drawn sketches to digitally-created renderings.
Boba Bot initially came about from brainstorming sessions in the spring of 2018. The very first iteration was in the form of a hand sketch that eventually evolved into rough digital renditions.
Some of the inspiration for Boba Bot came from a variety of retro robots that spanned from 1950s tin robots to 1990s Japanese Gundam designs. After revising the Boba Bot sketches further, a vector-based illustration was formed using 2D elements and solid colors.
The first appearance of Boba Bot was revealed as a digital art print on cold-pressed paper in August 2018 while participating at the Jackalope Art Fair in Pasadena, CA.
Positive responses to the art print then led to the creation of a modified version of the Boba Bot design. This was specifically created to be screen printed on our unisex, women's, and kids graphic t-shirts.
The first public release of our Boba Bot tees was at the 2018 Long Beach Comic Con in Long Beach, CA.
One of the best things to have come about from our journey has been meeting all of the fun humans... and robots! Here's Sun with her Boba Bot tee at Nerdbot Con 2018.
Boba Bot has accompanied STORY SPARK in various colorways and often tagging along from dawn to dusk.
Since its creation, we can't seem to go anywhere without Boba Bot. From local California street fairs and craft shows to this trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Boba Bot has been there!
Boba Bot has also transformed into his alter ego: Super Boba Bot, which was an exclusive design released for WonderCon 2019.
Even though Boba Bot is never camera shy, it wasn't until May 2019 when Boba Bot got its first photoshoot.
Going from a 2D illustration to a 3D rendering was quite a feat. Fortunately, we were able to team up with a product designer, who was able to translate Boba Bot into 3D! Here's one of the first renderings of what Boba Bot would eventually look like as a three-dimensional figure.
After the digital renderings were completed, we provided them to our model maker who then was able to 3d print the prototype parts using a resin enabled printer.
These were all of the completed prototype parts – ready for finishing and assembly.
Once all of the initial parts were printed and sanded, the prototype Boba Bot was assembled and painted. This prototype was very useful to see and feel as we discovered areas that required some slight modifications before moving to the next step of producing resin-casted parts.
After some modifications were made, production began on the resin-casted figures.
Multiple Boba Bots were ultimately produced where some were fully assembled and painted by hand, while others were left unassembled and unpainted to be made available as DIY kits for those who wish to customize their own. Lastly, foam and boxes were produced for packaging.
After some final steps to the packaging as well as the production of the various colored-resin boba cups, the final Boba Bots were ready to go. With the pandemic impacting some of our timelines, it took us a little over a year to get the Boba Bot resin figures to where they are now, and we couldn't be more excited in terms of the final results!
Like any entrepreneurial journey, it shouldn't stop when a goal has been met. In this case, the final production Boba Bot was completed and made available to the world, but from what we as creative entrepreneurs have learned, we have to keep improving. We'll continue to look at ways to enhance the product and the process in order to produce the next version. Whether the next step is a design improvement or an entirely new concept, our mindset is to continue to find ways to build better and smarter - but not without boba in hand!
Be sure to follow Boba Bot on Instagram @boba_bot or subscribe to our Boba Bot email newsletter to stay updated.
If you have any feedback or insight in regards to your product or entrepreneurial journey, we'd love to hear them in the comments below. Thanks for following along.