Op-Yop Makers Participated In the 2010 Maker Faire
A Little Bit of the Back Story…
During the Detroit Windsor Fireworks on local Channel 4, Devin Scillian
and Carmen Harlan announced an upcoming event at the Henry Ford called
The Maker's Faire. It sounded interesting and right on target for
helping re-launch the Op-Yop. We hurried to the laptop and looked
for the Henry Ford Website to find out more. Even though the
entry date had passed, we sent an email to the link on the Henry Ford site and asked
permission to exhibit. We were encouraged to apply. Dale Dougherty,
GM, Maker Media, Make Magazine & Maker Faire, O’Reilly Media, gave
approval, and our journey began. The next contact was from Sean
Ragan inviting us to advertise with them in the Makers Market, which we
hope to do soon. Sherry Huff, the Event Director followed up with
an extremely informative outline of what the Maker's Faire was all
about and how to best participate.
What we did next….
The Op-yop rebirth is in its infancy so flexibility is key wherever
possible. Sherry's email encouraged us to make our exhibit
interactive. So, we put on our thinking caps and what emerged was
an easy way to involve our customers in making the product. We
drew a basic storyboard of
what steps there were in making an op-yop and focused in on the
assembly that could be done by a customer. We wrote detailed
instructions on how to assemble the op-yop. We printed them out
on press apply adhesive backed paper and mounted them on two foam core
boards. We glued actual op-yop pieces onto the storyboard to show the
We bought 8 totes from the dollar store and filled them with bulk
supplies, then cut the string and packed everything up ready to let
“Make Your Own Op-yop”.
Ready to sell…
We set up Friday night, displaying both the make-it-yourself and
ready-made-versions. Within an hour of the faire’s opening, Saturday AM there
was no doubt that making the item your self was a hit. People
wanted to make their own as well as make their own kits to give away as
gifts. At previous markets, Mom or Dad might buy one to share
between the children, but here each child made their own.
discovered many things we had not considered before. By making
the string shorter, we made the toy usable by smaller children as the
shortened string accommodated their shorter open arm reach. We
found that little fingers properly positioned the labels more easily
adult fingers. We found a gender line for disc color and label
choices. We had several teachers buy them. One teacher said
she thought is was the perfect tool to have in her hands when wanting
the class to look at her while she was speaking. One physical
therapist saw the benefit of the resistance exerted on the upper arm
muscles. A couple of area librarians ask for demonstrations at
their facility's. Many people commented on the mesmerizing,
with the toy. A California company executive bought several to
distribute to staff as stress relievers . A union representative
arranged to buy raw stock for assembly by children at their Christmas
Party for Kids. Several schools setup orders for the Op-yop to be
in their schools Christmas store or craft show.
We met hundreds of people, made dozens of valuable contacts, and came away with some very enjoyable
Here are some of the photos taken during the event...and a very special ending follows the photos.
Boys chose blue discs and a blue red label Threading the string through the Op-yop
Just tie a knot and you are ready to
helps select a color string
Henry Ford likes the Op-yop
A Special Day For Darcy
Darcy won an Editor's Choice Blue Ribbon Award
She was bagging groceries at Kroger when Mom and Dad found out about it, so they
arranged with her store manager to take the rest of the day off and
come to the Faire to receive the award. The whole thing was a secret until Brook
came over and told Darcy. Darcy was astounded.
Afterwards Darcy told her brother "This was the best day of my life".