I hate it when I’m jamming out to PandoDaily favorite Carly Rae Jepsen on my iPhone and I can’t hear who, exactly, should “call [her] maybe.” The iPhone’s built-in speaker is powerful, but it isn’t nearly powerful enough to incite a full-on dance party. Luckily, Bloombox is here to help. Making its Kickstarter debut today, the Bloombox is part iPhone stand, part terrarium, and part amplifier. Excited? Me too.
Created by Portland’s Nicholas Hyde and Brennan Conroy, the Bloombox is a small (6″ x 6″ x 6″), hollowed-out ceramic cube that was designed to complement the iPhone’s industrial design. With a $5,000 funding goal and a few limited edition color options, the Bloombox combines the minimalism of the modern age with a dash of the natural world to create an iPhone accessory that should feel at home anywhere.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Bloombox is its doubling as a stand for a smartphone, the symbol of our modern times, and plants, the reminder that there’s more to this Earth than a pane of glass and bits and bytes and video sharing apps. Philosophical connections aside, it’s been shown that having plants around can improve a person’s mood, which can help us relax in our stressful, always-on society.
If Mark Pincus is a self-confessed serial entrepreneur, Hyde is a serial Kickstarter…er. His original Kickstarter idea was an iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener. (Hey, he’s from Portland.) When he realized that someone else had created his iPhone-oholic case, he turned to a hybrid iPhone case and wallet, which, as it turns out, has also been created by someone else. As a last-ditch effort Hyde teamed up with a local ceramic worker and created the Bloombox.
There’s something to be said for the desire to create a successful Kickstarter project instead of the desire to build a successful business. If Bloombox fails to receive funding, Hyde will try to come up with another project. “[It's] mainly just to see if we can get something to work on [Kickstarter]” I was told.
This company further illustrates the fact that it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what Kickstarter is for. Bladepad CEO David Baum likened Kickstarter to a marketing platform and preorder machine, while Blank Label founder Fan BI turned to Kickstarter to decide whether or not his company should expand its business. And then there’s Stompy, the monstrous, spider-like robot whose creators are using the platform to raise money and create a working version of their robotic masterpiece. As more Kickstarter projects surface, it seems that the answer to “When should I create a Kickstarter project?” is becoming increasingly complicated.
I’m excited by the Bloombox. Simple, well-designed products are my weakness, and there’s a spot on my desk that is just begging for this little ceramic cube. What worries me is the commitment that Bloombox’s creators have made to creating a successful Kickstarter project, instead of a commitment to making the Bloombox a reality at any cost.