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The Story of Podpoi

Podpoi

Design: We consider the perfect universal poi head to be streamline and slightly tear-drop shaped, where all the weight is focused towards the end of the poi head. It has to be durable with no exposed electronics, yet be cushy-on-impact and not hurt, so people are invited to learn to spin and motivated to practice. It has to have an intuitive user interface, be easily rechargeable, and of course be beautiful on or off, inside and out.

The podpoi’s organic design evolved out of an engineering challenge. After exploring all the mechanical solutions to our various requirements, we found the design had evolved into something much like a seed or flower pod. Tapping into nature's wisdom for the final details, we found that we were essentially creating a fruit to contain the seed of light to propagate the artform that we love. We needed a vessel to carry and protect this seed, it had to have a way of opening, protecting its cargo, attracting its propagator and delivering its message.

The design didn't begin with us trying to make a poi head that looked like a plant. Every attribute pretty much came out of solving some structural challenge, and resulted in the same sort of solutions that nature has evolved overtime. It's like the fundamental fractal nature of the universe expressing itself in poi.

Podpoi's success: Podpoi's beauty, user-friendliness with its clean design and cushy shell made it an instant success. Podpoi was released Thanksgiving 2012 and sold out within 6 hours. It was released in 2 successive batches in December 2012, both of which sold out within a day. It became the world's favorite LED poi - the glow poi that made people who didn't spin poi want to spin poi. For many poi spinners at the time, it validated the artform as it was the first commercially available LED poi product that made poi seem like a thing that some company out there thought worth investing in. Many professional flow arts performers got their first gigs with podpoi, and many LED prop companies grew out of podpoi's success. 

Podpoi was a huge learning and growth experience for us. We faced many battery challenges with the capsule light, and experimented with different production models to maintain and sustain podpoi production. While the pod shell and capsule light were produced in our small factory in China, all the other production and assembly was done in-house, including cutting and sewing handles, making and installing leashes, and the final assembly. We were no longer able to keep up with a couple of part time friends helping out, and had to level up our skills in running a factory, HR, create a customer support team, all while maintaining our mom and pop shop.

In 2018 with the launch of capsule 2.0, podpoi v2 was released, bringing wireless control and connectivity to everyday LED poi.