Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FOLDEES turns ONE!

Wow. Time sure passes quickly when you’re having fun and losing hair. I can’t believe it’s already been 365 days since we launched the site. June 17th 2008 was the date we launched www.foldees.com with our first contest, “We Are All Geeks”.

I remember, we were very insecure back then. Would anyone join our contest? What if the designs were crap? What if our engine was buggy and people didn’t get to submit.

And then I remember the excitement, when my programmer said that within 5 minutes of launching the site, we got our first visitors (mostly friends, and friends of friends…), and by morning, 12 hours later, 200 people had already seen www.foldees.com!

Those were very very exciting times, and if there’s one thing I’m totally honest about, it’s still really exciting today. For me, this is my first time out starting a company, so it’s a nice feeling when things go well (if not entirely according to plan). Today, we boast a collection of over 200 designs (not even including our massive new contest, Monochrome), from a massive pool of designers from 30 countries. We also sell cards all the way across the globe from Toronto to New Delhi.

However, enough about the present. To commemorate our first birthday, I would like to share with you five things you probably didn’t know about Foldees.com

1. Foldees is owned by a company called Energon Sdn. Bhd.

First person who answers a comment in here with the origins of that name gets a free card. Here’s our logo to give you a hint.

energon logos

2. Foldees.com was formed in Chili’s BSC

I still remember this day well. I called up my two potential partners, Alvin and Noel, both my high school mates, and told them I had something very important to discuss with them. I used dinner at Chili’s as bribery for them to come. When they arrived, I handed them a basic 5-page brief to both of them as I laid out my grandiose plans of being the Threadless of greeting cards. They were excited enough to commit on the spot. Here’s a shot from that first “company dinner”,

DSC00572

3. Foldees is funded by the Malaysian government

After that first meeting (you can see the business plan on the table!), we immediately set about applying for the MDEC Technopreneur’s Pre-seed grant, which after 3 months of paperwork, awarded us RM150,000 (approximately US$40,000) to start our little site.

Incidentally, the grant is still active for those who want to make their ideas a reality. It’s a great programme that’s really helping to foster an entire generation of entrepreneurs in Malaysia, so make sure you check it out!

4. Foldees was originally called Baweet

What the heck is a Baweet? Well basically, we are humoungous nerds (in case you couldn’t tell) who idolised the Transformers movie. If you’re like us, you’ll know we’re not talking about the AllSpark, but the Matrix of Leadership. Yup, that’s right.

The original Transformers movie cartoon, where all 80s kids learnt the horrible truth. Transformers can actually die (OMG!?!).

 

 

 

 

Anyways, one of the running themes in that cartoon was a phrase used by Hot Rod and Kup, “Baweet granna weet ninnibon!” which was used as a universal greeting to show good intentions at all the planets they visited. Universal Greeting? what a perfect name for the website! Except that no one could pronounce it. So that’s why we settled on Foldees. Incidentally, it was originally spelt as Foldies, until someone indicated to us that it kinda sounded like “F*** Oldies”.

5. We went through (and sorta fired) 3 designers before even launching our website.

The first was an ex-girlfriend of mine (probably a mistake doomed from the start). She gave us our first logo, which is of our original name, Baweet, but we eventually could not afford her services.

baweet_logo

The second designer was a talented freelancer called Maeka, who came up with the  Foldees logo that we’ve all come to know and love. He then went on the become an art director for some big shot agency and was never heard from again. Here are some of his mis-steps before the masterpiece.

foldees

The third was a quiet, reserved magazine designer from The Edge named Jun Kit, who came up with the early versions of the Foldees website. Although it has evolved quite a bit since then, you can see from this screenshot that the basic ideas were from him .

interface jun kit 6

 

Wow. Just like a relationship, your first anniversary always brings back a flood of memories. Eating cup noodles at 6am in the morning to stay awake, playing Burnout in between writing our business plan… etc.

I’d just like to thank my two programmers, my financial dude, MDEC, our talented designers, all the people who’ve helped us along the way and all you people out there reading this for your continued support of our humble little greeting card site.

Thank you for taking my little dream this far.

Chak

Founder&Fluffy Vision Guy

www.foldees.com

6 comments:

Eudora said...

Energon

P/s : Happy 1st Anniversary Foldees team ! :)

Mike Tee said...

Sounds like an adventure man. Congrats!

Oh, Transformers Energon cubes - THE shizzo to get the robots buzzing and dancing!

Btw your next contest should be something about Transformers or robots or something. Would be amazing for the TF fans.

chak said...

Eudora: We have a winner! Email me your full name and we'll drop you a coupon!

Mike: You always have the best suggestions.

Shang Lee said...

congratulations to your journey so far!

maeka said...

Happy 1 year anniversary!!!
keep it up...

one day you'll see me submitting some designs. for now I i let them all win the first prize first :P

chak said...

thanks guys!

maeka: wow... been a while, mate! See, we made you famous like we said we would :)