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Backed Or Whacked: Ignoring The Little People

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Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and blogs at Techspressive. Each column will look at crowdfunded products that have either met or missed their funding goals. Follow him on Twitter @rossrubin.

The period leading up to the New Year is often a time of self-reflection. Resolutions often relate to people wanting to create a better version of themselves or at least a thinner version of themselves. Many also want to be more giving. Following through on these challenges often helps if you have support.

Likely taking inspiration from the success of Foldable.Me, three recent Kickstarter projects sought to step up production of various miniature versions of you. Apparently, though, someone was sticking pins in dolls of the project owners. All fell far short of their backing goals, leaving them nothing but resolve to try again in the future to realize their dreams of Lilliputian likeness.

BW-jbWhacked: JB FiguresWhereas many Kickstarter projects seek funds to create expensive injection molds, 3D printing advocate Jonathan Bowen is committed to the artisan approach to production. His campaign sought to offer packaged action figures tailored to the demands of a form requesting at least 17 pieces of information about your modeled alter-ego. These include such essential details as arch-enemy, mascot and love interest which, in the case of many would be-customers, would undoubtedly be themselves.

Alas, the mighty models’ faces showcased in the video suffer from a lack of detail and the high price of $70 per action figure; also offered were an iPhone case for $50 and a keychain for $25. Bowen defended the prices explaining it took from 20 to 30 hours to create each figure. Villainy carried the day at the end of November, however, as only two backers offered a total of $35, far short of the $1,500 requested.

Whacked: LittleCloneBW-littlecloneThe artiest of the egomaniacal effigies, the LittleClone was discovered at an Argentinian party, the creation of  surname-shy doll makers Alberto and Luz. Party guests were apparently fascinated with the creation, positioning it into all kinds of contortions and raising the fun bar well beyond Juanita’s Polly Pocket playdate last Thursday after school.

The answer to whether LittleClone could succeed on a broader and more northern American scale was sought via Kickstarter, where the pliable puppets were offered up at $100 per pop, even more than the custom-printed JB Figures. For that sum, though, you would get a companion box frame for your little you and a set of clothing accessories. Or, rather, two people would have. LittleClone’s campaign ended in mid-December collecting only $130 of its $5,500 goal.

BW-youdollWhacked: The You DollLong Islander Peter Carnegie opens his Kickstarter video with a tender tale about how he hid his sewing avocation from his construction industry coworkers only to have them be among his first customers for his stuffed superhero dolls lightly customized with the face of the owner’s choice. Unlike the JB Figures, the You Doll is not high-tech, and unlike the LittleClone, it is not high art. But Carnegie has found some success in offering DIY kits that allow consumers to create their own You Dolls with an inkjet printer and iron, neither of which is included.

Because of its simplicity, the Carnegie dolly was available at prices well below those of the other vanity dolls: $25 for a 12” version and $40 for a 20” one. But the 30-day campaign could not beat the doll drums, attracting a single backer contributing only $25 of the $3,000 sought.