IN JUST THREE YEARS, TORONTO-BASED FOREVERSPIN, PRODUCERS OF ULTRA HIGH-END, FINELY ENGINEERED SPINNING TOPS, HAS ACHIEVED A GLOBAL PRESENCE, SHIPPING TO OVER 120 COUNTRIES.
It’s taken just three years to buff and polish their product to a covetable shine. Three years to identify an audience and target them with laser precision. And, three years to break through the geographical barriers and conquer international markets1.
How did they get so big in such a short time? They started with some e-commerce basics. For instance, their website is exactly right for a traditional product 2. There’s a confidence in the imagery and the emotive taglines. A real sense of timelessness and elegance.
To find out more, we caught up with Viktor Grabovskyy, one of ForeverSpin’s three founders. Here he shares his thoughts on the pitfalls, planning and passion that led to the meteoric rise of one determined startup.
In business, people often focus on the success stories, the big dreams that turn big revenues – not the crumpled blueprints, the small business ideas that go nowhere. But there is much to be learned from people’s failures and side-steps and how they use them as a transformative or driving force. ForeverSpin was not the trio’s first venture.
In 2013, they had planned to start an analytics company. “We had originally started with a few other projects,” Viktor explains. “We were just looking for different ways to obtain funding and found that some ideas worked better on Kickstarter than others. That’s how our flagship product was created. We launched a campaign for ForeverSpin on Kickstarter, it became incredibly successful, we’ve continued to evolve it – and really never looked back.”
And while there is a degree of luck involved in sparking the imagination of thousands, their approach was methodical. “We had a few criteria that were just fundamentally required by all of us,” Viktor says. “Something that’s incredibly simple and beautiful in its simplicity. Something of unmatched quality. And, finally, something that’s nostalgic.” The spinning top ticked all of these boxes. But this also proves that your desired ingredients can eventually become a recipe for success – with the right idea.
Viktor Grabovskyy and his fellow founders may have tried out a few concepts before settling on the winning formula of ForeverSpin, but that is not to suggest that they are flippant about spinning tops. Quite the contrary. “All three of us played with the wooden spinning top as children,” says Viktor. “It’s what we remember as our first toy.”
However, he’s quick to dismiss any suggestion that the spinning tops are part of society’s current appetite for all things retro. Such a label, he contends, would make the spinning top seem trendy and fashionable – a fad that could disappear. Yes, there is a nostalgic element to spinning tops, but it is more the quality of yesteryear that is attracting consumers’ attention 3. “Items that were popular in the past were of high quality and high value but the global marketing platform wasn’t there to communicate the product to the world,” says Viktor. In essence, people miss craftsmanship.
And with a range of beautiful tops meticulously created from over 17 different metals, this is a niche that ForeverSpin can cater to perfectly 4. The tops are designed to look elegant and function precisely in what is perhaps the most perfect marriage of style and substance.
Though Forever Spin can now identify a wide and varied audience ("Engineers, kids, writers, designers, teachers, collectors ..." the website reads), interestingly it was the product that came first. It is not necessary, then, to find your market before making your product. If you craft your new company with passion, everything should fall into place. “Guided by our fundamental requirements, we created ForeverSpin and found a very varied audience,” says Viktor. “There were a lot of individuals all over the world, all different demographics, different psychographics who were drawn to the fantastic quality of our spinning tops.”
ForeverSpin believes that the quality of their products is selling point enough. So much so, that each perfectly formed top is free from any branding or logo. “It’s something that we felt would be significantly better to keep off our spinning tops,” Viktor explains. “They’re as simple as can be and there’s beauty in that. Each top is not just a toy but a work of art.”
When you get consumers hooked on something so rare and fundamental as quality, new avenues begin to open up. ForeverSpin offers a bespoke service to their customers and has even catered to the whims of some Fortune 500 companies.
Setting up a business requires hard graft, a plan, efficiency, and organization. “We didn’t forecast the success that we were going to have with Kickstarter,” Viktor recalls. “We didn’t know that our project would go viral and there would be as much demand as there was for our spinning tops. And so, we hadn’t made the necessary preparations – materials hadn’t been ordered and contracts became backed up.” It’s important, Viktor believes, to think a few moves ahead in business. To explore all contingency plans. Remember to prepare for success and brace for failure.
It’s essential to surround yourself with the right people to help transform your home business into an international company. “Right now, we have a team of 12 individuals,” Viktor outlines. “It’s been specifically designed that way so we can keep our team lean, keep it effective, keep it really efficient in everything that we do.”
Viktor and his fellow founders are keen that everyone, from in-house staff to suppliers and partners share in their basic principles. “That allows us to maintain quality in our customer service, our shipping, our logistics, everything … And today the entire world is being differentiated by quality over price.” We couldn’t agree more.