So how did I start all of this, you may ask?

As I’d put my four-year-old daughter to bed each night, she always asked to hear a story.

Not wanting to re-read the same books yet again, I began tucking her into bed and telling her the story of Princess Crystal and her adventures in the realms of fairy, dragons, and magic….which I made up on the spot, while sitting in the rocking chair next to her bed in the dark.

As I spun the story, I began including ethical lessons related to each day’s activities in order to drive important points home.  I tried working in historical references that could tie into the story somehow.  I described how Crystal could attempt to take a scientific approach to her new magical world, teasing out how it worked with guesses (hypothesis) and experiments.  I introduced characters from different mythologies and pantheons, sometimes allowing them to mix and morph as the story required.

These were a big hit, as my daughter would excitedly tell my confused wife about Crystal’s adventures during breakfast the next morning.  But my wife didn’t know anything about the story, since I had just made it all up on the spot!

Recently, I started looking for a new business idea (I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart). I began exploring the subscription box model, wondering what I could create that people would enjoy.  I didn’t want to offer another discount or beauty box, which might make money but I wouldn’t feel passionate about creating each month…After thinking it about it for a few weeks, I began musing about the various things I’ve often had fun with…crystals and gemstones, fantasy adventure stories, magic and illusion,, humor and wit, science and technology, metaphysics and mysticism, and anything else that helps us expand our minds beyond our normal, everyday life.

I quickly realized that the Crystal stories I had been weaving for my daughter at bedtime were already pulling all of these elements together! Remembering her excitement as I told them, and my own fun at dreaming them up, I decided to take the elements of Crystal’s tale that could be made real and create a box full of stories, science, and treasures all in one.

The world of Gemtopia was born.

Each subscription box would include beautiful crystals and gemstones.  Through a comic book that introduced Crystal’s adventures, these would appear as part of the story, and sometimes also as part of a game or a project.  Crystal would need to discover her new world and come up with creative solutions to emerging problems, so the story would introduce the box’s physical objects—Gemtopian treasures—-that would allow children learn about geology and science while enjoying the magic of this new world.  I’ve always loved creative and unusual ways of looking at things, so I knew I would enjoy selecting treasures that you are unlikely to find anywhere else, presented in new and exciting ways.  Each new box’s comic book would advance the story of a longer epic adventure.

A few days after coming up with this idea, I found Cratejoy.com, a company that helps entrepreneurs develop subscription boxes like mine. I noticed that they were taking applications for new subscription box ideas, and saw that the winners would be invited to join their exclusive pre-launch program that started the following week.  This sounded great! The pre-launch program would include personalized help directly from Cratejoy’s teams, professional product photography, and a private support group for new entrepreneurs, as well as marketing help from Cratejoy, which would promote the winning idea through their 250,000-member mailing list.

And my adventure began! I’m an optimist who always wants to shoot for a big success, so I began spending hours and days conducting research to decide what I wanted to put into the first box. I found vendors who could offer me Gemtopian treasures at affordable prices.  I found artists and graphic designers to help me design the logo and help me start branding and designing the comic book.  And I spent many hours on the computer playing with product possibilities and figuring out ecommerce and launch systems.

Finally, I managed to piece together a quick video talking about my idea and showing some of the initial treasure samples I had brought together.  The video was shot on my phone in the early hours of the morning (around 3am), which is the only quiet time in my house full of little kids.

After two weeks of anticipation, I was thrilled to hear that Gemtopia had been selected as a finalist for the pre-launch program!  Just a few more details were needed regarding price, margins, and other necessities.  And Createjoy needed the answers in 48 hours!  I scrambled to scrape all these details together and submit them as well.   Then came a long weekend of crossed fingers and toes.

The next week, Gemtopia was selected as a winning entry!

Woohoo!

“Hmmm,” I thought. “This might really happen!”

Ever since then, it’s been late nights, early mornings, and occasionally exasperated family members who wait patiently while I pull all the pieces together.

To help me create Gemtopia quickly, I’ve created a team of virtual assistants, graphic designers, social media experts (luckily, my wife runs a social media consulting service!), collaborators, and comic book artists to help me get everything done in record time.

The Gemtopia box will introduce you to a fabulous new world that can be enjoyed by anyone from 4 to 100.

Sign up for the mailing list now, and bring color, excitement, and adventure into your life—oh, and you’ll learn amazing things!  You’ll be first in line to know when our adventure begins.

See ya in the box!

– Brian (Gemtopia Elf)

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