When MonkeyfingeR Ray introduced me to begleri with a set of Ape Grapes, my first reaction was “cool, not my thing, but neat idea”. About a year later my tune changed. I’m not sure what happened, but I picked them up again and was hooked. It was only a few months later that I had leapt into the begleri community with both feet and designed a set of my own to release with my new brand, Rain City Skills.
Many years ago I got my start in the wider yoyo world as a sponsored player on team MonkeyfingeR Design. I moved on, but a solid, lasting friendship with Ray remained. When I got into Begleri, it only made sense to collaborate! The Space Needle begleri is a project that is over a year in the making. When Ray and I started talking about it, we dove in with design. Everyone’s favourite ‘weird begleri’ designer, Rain City team member Justin Scott Larson, was brought in to do what he does best. Take my terrible ideas and make them into functional terrible ideas. Except this time he didn’t have to. Ray and I passed our thoughts on to Justin and MFD team member Trevor Janvier and let them play. What they came back with was a design unique in the Begleri world.
The design is super comfortable in the hand. It’s on the larger side, but still slips through the fingers with ease. The narrow top allows you to catch the base really easily during juggle style tricks. Finally, it’s got the standard MFD bore, so you can hide your knot, or throw in some monkey bars for extra weight! After a 3D printed tester was made, we went ahead and ordered prototypes. Team members tested them out, gave feedback and we made some small design changes. Rounded an edge, lengthened a curve. Then we ordered the run.
After all this, which should have been the hard part, we were stumped on something simple. What to call it. We must have gone through 100 different names. The struggle was to find something that referenced both brands and the bead. After hitting a point of “lets just randomly pick a word out of the dictionary blindfolded” Ray had an inspiration — The Space Needle. Both Vancouver and Calgary have one as an part of the skyline (It’s in the Rain City logo!).
Then it was onto my favourite part. The unboxing experience! Ray got to work with his graphic designer to come up with a sticker/logo for the beads. I started hunting for packing and something extra to include. Ray managed to nail the sticker design with the MFD gorilla hanging between 2 space needles in the rain. As an added touch, he’s wearing my signature yellow glasses and fedora. For packaging I tracked down some neat metal tins. For an extra I stumbled on what I think is a perfect Begleri belt clip! Overall this has been a fantastic and fun project. The beads are my favourite set to date and MFD has been great to work with. I know you will love them!
Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming release date! We’ll be dropping 4 great colourways, anodized by MFD.