The year 2017 started with optimism for big things. LOTS of new product hit early on.
PAOLISTA dropped first, Jan 14
Akira joint our team in Japan after unofficially repping the brand for a while .
SPACE CROWN ULTRA dropped our first ULTRA yoyo (and is still amazing if you haven’t tried it).
By January we were already in ICELAND doing prep work for WYYC. In our pockets… new basecamp yoyos
Early Feb saw HEIST drop. We have made yoyos in the usa every year since our launch and with Heist we upheld the tradition. with this fun steel throw.
Replay Pro, Flight, Edge, Horizon and Shutter all started the year not as new yoyos but as popular yoyos and by the end of the year they still held that position. Its great to have new waves of players discovering our yoyos year in year out.
Feb 25 Saw PNWR as the BASECAMP/Navigator launch and the launch of a new contest year at PNWR. The season would run until ICELAND and Nate dailey took the first win of the season for YoYoFactory.
Bratislava was the next big destination with Evan Nagao and Gentry Stein heading to Europe to hook up with our European squad for EYYC. Paolo, Tony, Robert, Vashek, Ann, Michael, Konstantin, Kasper, Carolina, Matous…. we rolled deep.
After EYYC Gentry took a detour to Germany to look for a bridge…. yup.
Next up, we went in on a new concept with YoYoExpert and the buyers club /mystery box concept and the introduction of PIVOT. we had first done dimple capped metal in the BASECAMP Sherpa and PIVOT as a concept was the next step. Before Czechpoint Pivot came out we needed to drop HORIZON ULTRA, another great yoyo we will continue to release in 2018.
About this time we took loop2020 public, showing our concept for the future. We still aren’t finished with development but you can follow along or be part of the process at https://www.facebook.com/groups/235808530184435/
By this stage FIDGET SPINNERS started to mess with our year. Retailers started giving up shelf space to them, high end collectors had a new hobby…. We knew it would pass but man….
Come April it starts getting hot in Arizona so it was surprising for Evan to come visit but we worked on some designs that later now are WEDGE and some others still lined up for the future. We tagged along to Mexico nationals, great city and scene. Good to see Paul, Luis, Betty, Emiliano and the crew. also excited to see them again in a few months in ICELAND.
Next to launch was FLIGHT PRO. The ETHOS came next through YoYoTricks and in our hands was a prototype yoyo for Nate Dailey that wasn’t quite right meaning it would be later this year.
May we had an adventure. Vashek and Gentry jumped in in Arizona and we took the long way to BAC. Originally we were going to climb a mountain but heavy snow fall had us swimming in creeks, hiking travelled and less travelled canyons and criss crossing Utah, Nevada and California.
Gentry kept on being a rock star throughout the year. He took trips to Paris, Canada and Hawaii, performed on a music video with the recording artist Baby Raptors and stepped his yoyo presence working with the Shutter Crew.
Betty got her first player edition launch with an Edge as did Konstantin. In Europe Paolo was putting contest results on the board and Robert and Matous were touring with SLUSNY.
A last minute planning trip to Iceland in early July while Polo repped YYF at AP. Shu flew the flag at CYCC and soon we tarted seeing pictures of people arriving in ICELAND. The Mexicans borrowed a tent and disappeared for a week….
As a small company when one of your few employees volunteers to basically take a full time hobby of organizing a contest it becomes a big part of your year. As a sponsor YoYoFactory contributed 2 years before the event to see a big chunk of the yoyo world make its way to such a remote place was amazing. The contest was amazing. Iceland turned it on. Rain, Sun, Rain and Snow all within the hour ;)
YoYoFactory team SHOWED UP. The Shutter Crew starred through the prelim days Chandler Steel was unstoppable coming from wildcard to Finals. It was a party. When the contest was over we didn’t want to leave. It felt like the russians were there weeks later, oh wait they still were ;)
There were 3 main projects still not finished. A Evans plastic dragon, that we had been chasing for 4 months now through 3 rounds of prototypes, a project we still aren’t talking about and NATES new yoyo. In September Nate met ND Ultra…. and the world was introduced to shutter WIDE ANGLE. Gentry had been throwing wide Angle since JUNE. No-one noticed, or mentioned it to him despite the obvious size differences. ND Ultra was in stores by September.
The curse of the spinners was also well and truely over. We needed to work hard and catch up!
New colors of WHIP including an Ann edition signaled the start of 3 new Ann Collection releases. Legend wing started coming in lacquer finishes for those who like their wood a little less natural.
Then it was USA Nationals. We scooped John ANdo and Kevin Nicholas on our way to Chico. Its always good be back in Chico and see the players turn up. We hit a mini adventure before the contest with John and then straight into the competition. THICK AND FAST. It was Shutter Crew again starred early but then the seeds came in and it was BOOM BOOM BOOM. when the dust settled Nate snapped a string, Gentry held a bit too much back and Evan was grinning. There was a new champ! In 3A Alex Hattori calmed his 1st National title for Yoyofactory and will compete next year to become the most successful player of ALL TIME at the USA national contest.
ND Ultra also dropped. It’s super good!
The European Contest season was next! YYF players won almost everything in the open divisons.
There has only been brief mentions of doing things in Asia but there was stuff happening and still time to do more. YoYofactory in Japan had been conduction a national promotional tour all year and Shu would be joined by Gentry to do the final events in tokyo. Before then Shu and Gentry would meet up to do Shanghai Toy Fair and get to know the city in anticipation of Worlds 2018. After Tokyo Wewould all meet up in Korea, a place we had never really visited and somewhere we had long wanted to see!
The event in Korea was massive. It was such an honor to be a part of it. We need to come back!
In Japan Shu continued to feature in media and finally the loop720 has gone ben him a successful selling signature yoyo in the market. Things are looking good for 2018 with new concepts and looping promotions.
Towards the end of the year we got involved with the Toy Movement in South Africa who conducted special event on December 1 st , 2017 to coincide with World Aids Day at the Woman’s Goal on Constitutional Hill. We supplied a demonstrator and product for the kids in an awesome day of fun! (Thanks Corli!)
By December we start looking to 2018... but need to finish the year off strong. Wedge, killer. Snowflake Collection, perfect. Horizon Ultra, Drool.
So what’s next?
Interesting year coming up.
No EYYC USA Nationals or Worlds date or venues named.
Product wise things are a bit more exciting.
Something new in plastic.
720 rollout / loop program/ 2020
Alex Hattori has something pretty special to share
A Horizon Team member is getting a signature yoyo (not edition).
Plus a bunch of just as exciting things we aren’t ready to share just yet :-)
Performance of the year: SHU TAKADA
Most improved Competitor: Chandler Steele
Best on Screen: Polo Garbkamol
Who to watch in 2018: Gentry Stein
World Champion: Shu Takada (2a)
Malaysian champion: 1A Julian Chee Yie Jian
Brazilian Champion: Daniel Borges
USA Champion: Evan Nagao (1A)
Alex Hattori (3A)
Czech Champion: Michael Malik (1a 2x)
Karolina Zahrubska (womens)
Italian Champion: Loris Rosa
Illinois, Ohio, MER Champion: Chandler Steele
PNWR Champion: Nate Dailey
Mexico Winter Contest Champion Betty Gallegos