Entrepreneurs turn to website to 'kickstart' their businesses

Entrepreneurs turn to website to 'kickstart' their businesses

PORTLAND, Ore. - How do you turn your great idea into a money-making business? You may have seen the show "Shark Tank" on KATU where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of rich investors. Well, some local folks are pitching their next big thing directly to you.

"We have Elly the Elephant," explains Lucas Ainsworth.

"And this is Geno the Giraffe and this is Rory the Rhinoceros," adds Alyssa Hamel.

Kinectic Creatures, cardboard animals that you put together, are the brain children of Ainsworth, an industrial designer, and Hamel, a school art teacher.

"We want people building with their hands," says Hamel.

Once built, these animals actually walk with either a hand crank or gear kit.

Ainsworth and Hamel are launching their creatures on a website called Kickstarter.com.

"What it's allowing us to do is be able to produce a product without going through the traditional gate keepers," explains Ainsworth, meaning the couple doesn't have to convince toy giants, like Hasbro and Mattel, to produce their toys.

Instead, they've posted a video explaining their project on the Kickstarter.com website. In a self-produced video, they point out that the animals will be locally manufactured at a cardboard facility in Portland using sustainable and recyclable materials.

Anyone can pledge their support online by pre-ordering the toys at a discount. If the target goal is not met, the project will not go forward.

But just a day before KATU interviewed Ainsworth and Hamel, the couple did surpass their fundraising goal, so Kinectic Creatures will be made.

Romanian immigrant, cook and inventor Marinela Dragan hopes to have her dream come true, too.

"Have you ever found yourself struggling to stir constantly when preparing sauces, frosting or cream for desserts, ice cream or chocolate when using your double boiler? You just don't have enough hands," says Dragan in her Kickstarter.com video.

Dragan invented the EZ Master Mixing Bowl, a stainless steel bowl inside a bowl. With it's own heating element, it warms while your standing mixer does all the work.

To start production, she needs $100,000 from her Kickstarter.com pre-orders.

"If anyone would pledge just even a dollar, that will move me up on the (Kickstarter.com) page," urges Dragan.

The more supporters she gets, the more exposure her product will receive on the Kickstarter.com website, hopefully, whipping up the needed sales for her invention.

Another local company, called Anopix, has posted its project on Kickstarter.com.

Anopix can take any digital photo and print it on aluminum to create a personalized cover for your iPhone that sticks without adhesive. Customers can get covers with the children's photos, company logo, even camouflage designs.

Each of these projects has a time limit. As of June 5, Anopix had 45 days left for people to pledge their support. The EZ Master mixing bowl is down to 33 days. And Kinectic Creatures will be taking orders for just 12 more days.