Bet You Wish You'd Installed a Blender in a Cooler Lid
The hottest crowdsourced hit of the summer is the Coolest Cooler, an unassuming party cooler that features a built-in ice-crushing blender, a removable waterproof Bluetooth speaker, a USB charger, an LED lid light, a gear tie down, super wide wheels for dragging it over sand, a bottle opener, integrated storage for plates, a divider to help keep your margarita ice separate from your sandwiches, and a rust-proof ceramic knife built right into the lid.
The knife isn't there to help you fend off robbers -- the knife is there so you can cut limes.
This is a party cooler, and it's touched a nerve: Within just a few days, the Coolest absolutely rocketed in Kickstarter funding to blow past US$5.2 million in project support. With 44 days of funding to go, it's hard to imagine the Coolest not going much higher. The Coolest is getting widespread press all over the Internet and beyond. It's only a matter of time before the inventor, Ryan Grepper from Portland, Ore., shows up on morning TV news shows.
The Coolest Cooler is already the 6th most-funded Kickstarter project of all time.
So what gives?
Little-Known Fact: The Coolest Failed Last Year
Interestingly, Grepper first tried to launch the Coolest last year on Kickstarter. That first project had a funding goal of $125,000 and garnered 279 backers who pledged a total of $102,188. Obviously, Grepper didn't give up. He retooled the design -- mostly just the look of the Coolest -- and revamped the Kickstarter project marketing page to better show off its features. And the funding goal? He actually reduced it to $50,000.
So what's fundamentally different? Tapping into a viral zeitgeist of funding love isn't easy, of course, but one thing jumps out: The new version of the Coolest is bright orange and takes on a new overall jaunty shape. Instead of a basic rectangle cooler with features glommed onto it, the Coolest looks like something new -- at once recognizable as a traditional cooler, yet with new angles that imply this cooler is ready to party.
Plus, think about the launch date: Last year's Coolest Cooler launched in the fall and didn't complete its funding until late December. Who wants to buy a cooler in December?
This year, though, the Coolest launched in July, which is a hot summer month when the summer is still full of promise. The irony is that the previous campaign would have delivered a Coolest in time to use in the summer of 2014, while this new and improved Coolest won't ship out to backers until the chilly month of February in 2015.
There are a few low-dollar rewards for people who like the idea but aren't ready to commit. For $55, you can get a "Keep Calm and Blend On" Coolest t-shirt with a blended drink guide and Coolest reusable party cup.
Early birds were able to get the Coolest Cooler for $165, while everyone else can still get one for $185, which will save you a whopping $115 off of the $299 expected retail price next year.
After that, you get Coolest options that include the t-shirt and cups, along with a $1,750 10-pack of Coolest Coolers for those who are super serious partiers (85 backers so far).
For $2,000, Grepper agreed to personally fly out to your home town and man your bar at your next event with a fully functional Coolest prototype. Grepper writes, "I make incredible drinks and dogs and kids like me." This offer reached its limit with eight backers taking him up on it.
Because this project took off so quickly, Grepper introduced some reach goals that let backers vote on new colors, like Margarita, Blue Curacao, Sangria or Cosmo.
Meanwhile, What's the Risk?
As with any manufactured product, especially larger products that include multiple types of integrated items, the supply chain and assembly-and-delivery process introduce the risk of delays. To minimize errors or delays, Grepper says he's working with tooling manufacturers that have a track record for prompt quality. Plus, he's lining up backup suppliers for each component in case one supplier runs into an unforeseen problem.
Manufacturing of the injection and blow-molded parts will begin in December, with final assembly and shipping starting in January and February.