About a year ago, I had this oddball idea for a set of everyone's favorite classic green army men toys — only these ones would do yoga instead of fight.
Some friends of mine laughed at this funny concept, but when it came to mass production they gave their honest opinion — they didn't think anyone would really want them as a real toy.
After a year and hundreds of man-hours of sketching, melting, 3D scanning, and 3D printing, my "Yoga Joes" action figures have just been funded from a Kickstarter campaign.
It was an emotional, terrifying and expensive roller-coaster ride. But all along I truly believed in my gut that this idea could really happen. I'd like to walk you through my creative process and share some photos of the fruits of my labor. Always remember to NEVER give up on your idea, especially when other people tell you to!
I couldn't have done this without the support of my friends and family. They kept me going when things were the darkest, when I was nothing but a crazy person melting army men in my basement.
Designing an action figure from scratch was one failure after another. I categorized, melted, bended, and 3D-scanned existing army men, in an attempt to manipulate them into yoga poses.
Every time I hit a wall, I tried a new approach until it worked. Eventually I learned a new type of 3D design software, which I used to prototype the first Yoga Joes with a 3D printer.
While people around you may not share the same enthusiasm for your creative ideas, the Internet is a beautiful thing for connecting with like-minded individuals. Through websites like Reddit and Kickstarter, I was able to connect with people who actually wanted this toy to exist.
Remember: the haters are gonna hate. When it was time for Yoga Joes to meet the public eye, I was greeted with some pretty snarky critics. My advice is do not engage with the trolls — they just tend to crush our optimism.
In the process of getting Yoga Joes out there on the Internet, I came into contact with some pretty great non-profits that bring yoga to military veterans. I spoke with a non-profit called Warriors at Ease. They are an incredible organization that trains yoga instructors to help PTSD-afflicted veterans.
Even when I had my doubts, I was reminded by my girlfriend's dad to follow my gut or I'd regret it forever. He's a wise man!
My hope is that Yoga Joes will inspire more children, men and military veterans to try yoga.
I am so excited to share these "peaceful action figures" with the whole world.
And here is yours truly, proudly looking upon my finished masterpiece.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Author