We’ve been working on a series of articles for the Outdoor Games Blog that will feature Outdoor Game business owners. We want to know how these businesses came to be, what makes them unique, their general workflow, and their plans for the future.
Our latest Q&A is with Matt Butler, creator of a game called Rollors. We’ve been working with Matt for years, and wanted to share some details about the evolution of his business here on the Blog. Here’s what Matt had to say!
Business Spotlight : Rollors
What’s your business?
I created the new award winning game called Rollors. Think of Rollors as a game that combines the fun of Bocce Ball, Horseshoes, and Bowling. There are both the elements of skill and chance to Rollors. The homepage for the game is www.rollors.net
How did you learn about the game that is/are the basis for your business?
My family has a lake house cabin in Minnesota and back in those days there wasn’t Internet, satellite TV, portable gaming systems, etc, so we played a lot of other activates like Bocce Ball and Horseshoes. Then, later in life when I joined the Air Force, I was on a deployment in the Middle East and was thinking how nice it would be to be back at the lake house, and started developing ideas for other outdoor games that could be played. I figured everyone seemed to have a set of Bocce Ball or Horseshoes in their garage.
How did Rollors become a business?
I had some local woodworkers create a prototype and played it with my friends and family. I received a lot of positive feedback and even offers to purchase the prototype so I had more made and then it was on a “roll” from there. Starting in the Summer of 2009, Rollors was available only online at first, but now it’s available in retail stores like Menards, Meijer, REI, Camping World and various specialty toy/game stores. You can see the list at http://www.rollors.net/
Is this a full time or part time job?
It’s a part time job. My other job is an active duty officer in the Air Force.
Where is your business located?
Since I’m in the Air Force it moves from time to time. Currently I’m located in Dayton, Ohio. I started the business in Destin, FL.
What is the biggest challenge in selling, promoting, and marketing Rollors?
The most difficult part of Rollors is spreading the word about the game. I’m continually trying new and innovative ways to spread the word through press releases, gift guides, review sites, sending samples to various news stations. I try and team up with outdoor review sites, online retailers, etc. I’ve also done quite a few donations to organizations like The Boys Scouts, VA, USO, and Toys for Tots.
What sets your business apart from other similar businesses?
There’s no other game out there like this. Many people have told me they’re so impressed with the craftsmanship of the game, especially in a time where everything seems to be plastic. You can see some of the testimonials at http://www.rollors.net/
How are your games made? Is there any element of construction that is different than your peers?
They’re all had made from hard wood. The wood pieces are very durable. Here’s a quote from Jeremy, “The game pieces are all made of wood. They’re put together well, and will stand up to the usual wear and tear that games go through. The pieces have a quality look and feel. Numbers are neatly printed on to the discs.”
Do you create everything you sell? Do you hire anything out? Drop ship or Wholesale?
I use to have everything made in the USA but after the demand started to rise I had to find other means to lower the cost. It’s now manufactured overseas but continues to keep the same look from the original prototype I had made. It’s also been ASTM toy safety tested and approved. We do both Drop Shipping and Wholesale. For wholesale inquires you can email me at email@example.com.
What is your favorite part of the business?
One of my favorites was when I first saw the game on retails shelves….I was on ecstatic.
Another favorite was when I went other to a friend’s house for a BBQ and someone had brought the game over. I asked them what they thought of the game and they said they’re kids play it all the time. Then I asked if they knew who invented it <with a smile on my face>. I flipped the game over on the side and showed them a blurb about the inventor.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your business?
I have another game that I’m researching the patent protection for. One thing I did with Rollors is made sure no other companies would try and knock off this classic and so I have multiple issued and patent pendings.
What are some fun facts about Rollors?
To date we’ve sold over 25,000 games. Rollors has won several prestigious awards from Creative Child, Dr. Toy top 100 games for 2010, Dr. Toy top 10 active toys, Major Fun in several categories and Mr. Dad.