I'm a people ‘collector’. I love their stories, getting to know them and pairing them with other people. When I was working on a great opening presentation for last year’s TAGIE Conference, I thought Bruce Lund and Carlton Calvin would be a great combination. Although they had not met previously, they were fabulous together and have gone on to be good friends and collaborators. I have also fixed up a number of friends who remain married to this very day, but I digress.
Carlton told a fabulous story about reusing scorpions – a lemons into lemonade sort of story. Carlton has had a very interesting career. He started with the POG craze and ended up President of Razor USA. Today is their 10th year Anniversary and I am sure they will have many more. His 14 year old son, Seth, designed one of their top selling products last year, the Razor Rip Rider 360, and won the TAGI Young Inventor Award, so I expect we'll have interesting stories from him one day as well.
I asked Carlton to share his scorpion story with us.
"My first experience with scorpions was during the POG craze. I was driving through Arizona when I saw some paperweights embedded with scorpions and I knew scorpions would make the perfect Slammer.
So I called up the people that made those scorpion paperweights and bought 100 scorpions from them. It took me six months to figure out how to make the scorpion Slammers – how to dry out the scorpions, melt the plastics and embed the scorpions in the Slammers. My garage was full of ovens I made using bakery racks.
When I had 10 prototypes ready, I took them to the Pomona Toy Show and displayed them in a tiny corner of a rep group's booth.
One distributor found me and offered to buy 300,000 that day if I wouldn't leave the building before signing an exclusive contract. That distributor gave me the money to start factory production.
I called up the scorpion people in Arizona and told them I needed more – 300,000 more. It was then I learned that they hunt down those scorpions one-by-one out in the desert at night with black lights. There was no way they could get that many.
So, I approached the Hong Kong Trade Council since I had heard people eat scorpions in China. I was able to buy the supply of scorpions, plus 500,000 extra to continue the production flow.
Well, the day the 500,000 scorpions landed, the POG craze was over. I had to figure out what to do with the 500,000 scorpions that were in my garage, floating in alcohol. I tried putting them in key chains. Then I happened to stop in a yo-yo shop and found out yo-yos were hot – really hot because after that I sold 100 million scorpion yo-yos!"
Thank you, Carlton, I’d say that was a real scorpions into yo-yos story!