Keri Andrews is the CEO of You Kick Ass, LLC, a personalized superhero action figure start-up based out of Seattle, WA. The magical service allows one to submit a picture of his or her face and then receive a personalized action figure with their likeness on it.
You Kick Ass first started its journey on Kickstarter where the team was able to raise over $40,000. Directly after launch they were encouraged to apply for Shark Tank and luckily were chosen over thousands of applicants! On the show they were fortunate enough to secure a deal with billionaire tech mogul Mark Cuban, who seems to be a great fit for the brand and technology.
In this episode, we discuss the pivotal role that 3D printing plays in the creation of You Kick Ass and customizable action figures. From perfecting the software to optimizing the facial recognition, the company has grown significantly since its inception.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Shark Tank
- Assuming ABC or YouTube hasn’t taken it down yet, [WATCH] Keri Andrews and Alesia Glidewell on Shark Tank Episode 628
You Will Learn:
- The inspiration behind You Kick Ass and how the company first got started while sipping mimosas by Santa Monica beach.
- How Portal, the video game, inspired the idea of individualized avatars in the form of a superhero.
- Since the idea for You Kick Ass came before knowing how to build it, Keri discusses the learning process behind creating a business that utilizes 3D printing technology for customizability.
- The challenges behind scanning and successfully printing out human faces so that they look realistic enough. Between children, women and men of all different ethnicities and ages there are an enormous range of facial features. The process of going from a photo of a face to a 3D render with an accurate face shape was incredibly important to get correct.
- How acquiring a full-color 3D printer became the solution for producing the action figures.
- Why You Kick Ass decided not to go with 3D scanning equipment and instead went with photos. They update their software on a weekly basis to recognize faces better.
- How the problem of shadows and varying skin colors was solved by being prepared with a library of skin tones, hairstyles and facial features.
- Taking inspiration from both classic and modern superheroes for the You Kick Ass model poses, costumes and color schemes.
- Using Kickstarter to gain valuable feedback, visibility and improvement before going into full production.
- How Keri and Alesia were able to get onto Shark Tank directly after launching the Kickstarter. She also discusses the Shark Tank filming process, the mentorship from Mark Cuban and shares the growth that happened as a result of being on television.
- Advice for those who want to create a customization on-demand business with 3D printing.
Enjoy the episode!
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