You know those LED poi you see all over at loads of festivals and events? Affordable LED’s great for someone just starting out; yea I know there everywhere! They were even featured on the television. Well who are the guys who got it started? What’re they up to?
Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL and in business since 2010 Spin-Balls has a vision! Offering an affordable avenue for those who have just discovered props, the opportunity to give it a try. Jimi Dennison and Kevin Daniels have big plans for the future and gave us a little peek into how it all began.
How did you get started? What’s the story?
“Jimi had brought a ton of extra homemade poi to let people on the Boardwalk play if they wanted to. And boy did they want to!! They gave out all of the 50 pairs of poi that he brought that night. It was a frenzy!! So they decided to do it again the next week. Same place only this time they brought little glow bracelets to put on the ends of the tennis balls. They ran out that night as well! Kevin had bought some glow poi from overseas and was playing with them during the jam. They were having some technical difficulty and he was frustrated with how much he paid for them. So Kevin and Jimi got talking. And a lot of talking later Spin-Balls was born!!!”
“As a flow artist having a Poi company has been an awesome, yet extremely challenging and at times frustrating experience that comes with starting and running a business. One of the greatest benefits Spin-ballS has had for Jimi and I is giving us a legitimate excuse to be able to devote so much of our time to the flow arts and our own spinning and attending festivals and being a part of this amazing community.”
Do you have supplemental income?
“The sad thing is that after all of these years, if Jimi and I hadn’t had other sources of income there is no way we could have gotten this far. From the large amount of money it took for us to even get started with setting up the business developing the products, doing laboratory safety testing, paying lawyers to create our LLC, getting our registered trademark and also the ridiculous cost of filing for patents on our design which we felt was necessary due to how much we were investing into this attempt at growing the market. Not to mention the cost of producing a TV ad and buying air time to run the media. Of course our business model is much different than most of the other Flow Arts prop makers since we have a very small profit margin in order to make sure our product fits our mission of being “affordable quality equipment”. Because of that the only way we can ever succeed or even make back the money we have invested is by getting a whole lot of people spinning poi. And that’s exactly what we love to do. We really see this as and hope it will prove to be a WIN WIN. If we succeed that means there’s a lot more people out there spinning poi, but also there’s a lot more people introduced to not just poi, but awareness of the flow arts. If all goes well we hope this has an effect on the community by generating business for our friends who are selling the next level higher end Poi options that we are not focused on. We hope this means more people interested in getting lessons from instructors in the community. We hope this means more people seeking out flow festivals to grow their own flow and connect. We are not there yet, and there’s so much work still to be done, but we are committed to seeing this through.”
What’d you do before the company and the arts?
“Jimi has a degree in computer science with a minor in physics while I have a degree in business/marketing. So we really couldn’t be any different. He is extremely analytical and reality based, while I am always coming up with a bunch of ideas and strategies for us to go after. Jimi makes sure I remember which of those ideas or strategies we can actually implement realistically. So in other words there can be some lengthy debates. “
How many Prototypes did you test before releasing your product?
“We went through about half a dozen different shell and battery compartment designs before settling on our first model. Since then each design has gone through a similar number of assessments and adjustment to the various elements (shell, battery compartment, cord type, cord attachment style, swivel type, handle type). But overall, the base design of our Spin-light has been consistent in how we choose to attach to the ball and place the battery compartment on the interior side of the spinning arc.”
“We are proud to continue to be involved with and a sponsor of the Flow Fests group of festivals which grew out of our own back yard with the Florida Flow Fest. Our mutual goals to share the Flow Arts to the general public makes this a great partnership for us. From a business perspective we are extremely excited with our retail strategy and have launched our new video display case and looping video. It looks pretty cool and so far the results this holiday season suggest it might really help bridge the gap for those people that have never seen poi before. In 2016 we are registered to be an exhibitor at ToyFair the largest annual toy industry convention which will give us a chance for greater exposure to retailers and affiliate program offering coupon codes for them to earn money for themselves and a discount for anybody they send to our web site. Cash for referrals is accumulated based on these website orders.”
What does the future hold for the company?
“We have brainstormed all kinds of ideas. If we hit our goals then the market for poi should grow dramatically. We would eventually like to expand our product line and Jimi would like to get back to his roots of offering classes and helping transform communities through the amazing power of poi to break down boundaries and build up confidence.”