If you are just here to read about the new "Showgirl" yoyo, scroll down a bit!
As far as yoyos go, our first release was at best a slow burn, and broadly was an idea that hit the market about 3 years too late. Rain City was started by my wife Andra (Mrs. Yoyothrower) and a friend and I. The friend was a silent partner that wanted to add "I made a yoyo" to his list of things he'd done in life. My wife was and is the artistic director of the whole operation (she gets most of the credit for the concept behind the Hipster Highlife). We launched with the Hipster Highlife, made in the USA at One Drop, anodized by Grunt Bull, bearing, response and string supplied by MonkeyfingeR Design. The problem was that all of these choices pushed it out of the price range for a first release by a new brand. Despite this, the Hipster Highlife set the standard for the Rain City brand.
Our first begleri release was also a hit/miss. It was priced a bit too high and didn’t quite work out the way I wanted. I pushed to get it too market too quickly and learned the lesson of Always do 1 more prototype. I wanted to be the first on the market with a begleri/fidget spinner combo that had bearings and extreme weight mods. The set worked great overall, but I would have preferred the hole for the bearing to be about a half of a millimetre smaller. Overall, they were a great set. I matched the colours to the Hipster Highlife so that you could buy a set if you wanted. They came with bearings and custom end caps. You could also swap out for a variety of weight combinations with MonkeyBarz or Micro-hydras from MFD and A02. It was a slow start, but once people started playing with them the idea caught on. In the long run they sold well enough to keep us moving forward.
I did a writeup on the whole story, check it out here.
So that was 2017. 2018 has started with a huge bang. We released not 1, not 2, but 3 begleri designs at once. The BEHgleri was probably the most fun project I’ve worked on. This one was the result of a month of Justin polling the Facebook group Begleri Enthusiasts Hangout with questions on each step of the design. In the end we created a Titanium “Hamburgleri” (people thought the computer rendering looked like a hamburger) that is fun and a really great playing set. They were initially sold as a pre-order set.
As Justin does when he is left alone for too long, he was bored and came up with a new design for a cube-dice shaped begleri, inspired by the latest Star Wars movie. He did 2 iterations, Brass and Aluminum. We initially decided to make just the brass, but at the last minute decided to do the aluminum as well. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the decision, as the aluminum is actually my favourite of the three!
Going back a couple months, in November I got contacted by a community member Troy Butner who was looking for a handful of people to help him fund a prototype run of his dream yoyo. He had no ambitions to start a brand, he just really wanted to make this yoyo. He got a dozen or so people together and ordered the throw. He did a great job of keeping everyone informed throughout the process and discussing colours and other ideas.
Early Jan, I received my copy. Just looking at it, I was in love. 1 throw and I knew this was the next yoyo Rain City needed to make, so I asked Troy if he'd be interested in partnering to do a full retail run. He was overjoyed! The best part, he already had a Rain City worthy name! The Showgirl.
So forward we moved. The only change I wanted to make was to the hub. It needed to be able to take Lego so I could have the fun of choosing pieces to match the theme!
We did decide to keep the lego nub a little shorter than past throws to maintain the overall aesthetic.
To the right you see the prototype in the foreground and the production run in the background.
The Red/Black/Gold splash that is "Cabaret", reflecting what is often the preferred colours for a high class performance space. The Purple/Silver Orange is an explosion of colour called "Atomic Bombshell". A 4th colourway called "Va Va Voom" suffered from one of the challenges of the business, people going on holidays!. The anno shop had some difficulty creating the effect we wanted, so rather than rush it we decided to wait until after Lunar New year to get the last 25 done in a different anno shop.
For the Lego Troy and I hunted and found some gemstones and little roses that were perfect. Each colourway will come with it's own combination of parts.
For the packaging we went with a classic black box. Releasing on Valentines day meant the dollar store was full of sparkly things! So on the boxes went glittery heart stickers and patterned rhinestone stickers.
To round it all off I managed to find a zip up case that had a rose printed on it! It will ship with a 10 pack of string in it, but it's also big enough to carry your Showgirl around in style!
The showgirl is now available at Return Top Shop, grab yours while they last!