We're on Shelves!
In the past six months, we’ve taken TowerBall from our little office in Dallas to nationwide DICK’S Sporting Goods locations. This marks a big moment for our family business. We want to share the journey of how we got here and what’s on the horizon for Caliber Games.
The TowerBall Origin Story
A little over a year ago, we got the idea to invent a new game that could solve some of the problems we found with most backyard game products. The average yard game was cheaply built, clunky to assemble, or difficult to move and store. From our vast game experience through our first startup, Toss Up Events, we knew families and friend groups would enjoy something better.
We started designing TowerBall with our kids in our own backyard using cardboard cutouts. We went through dozens of iterations to hone in the gameplay experience until we’d created a fun, easy to learn game that could be enjoyed by all ages. Next, we embarked on the challenge of engineering and manufacturing.
When figuring how to actually make this thing, the biggest challenge was striking a balance between durability, easy of setup, and affordability. In the end, after several 3d-printed prototypes, we opted for a more premium, heavy duty product that families could trust as a longterm investment. By November 2021, our first shipment of TowerBalls had arrived from the factory, and we officially launched the business.
Shooting Our Shot
After this intense upfront investment of time and energy, it was pretty nerve-wracking to put our creation out into the world. By this time, TowerBall had become an everyday part of our lives, but nobody else knew anything about it. It’s hard to overestimate the challenge of convincing the world to try a new game they’ve never heard of (especially with a $189 price tag).
We hosted a big party in Dallas with all our friends and family to introduce TowerBall to the world. Then it was off to the races. Months of shooting videos, posting to TikTok and Instagram, running (and endlessly tweaking) ad campaigns… several months of very small wins led us to an initial groove of success.
We were still a small startup product without much popularity. But we were selling TowerBalls all over the country and most importantly, people were LOVING the product. Positive messages and five star reviews came pouring in. The choice not to compromise on quality and durability had paid off big. And with that success under our belt, big retailer started to take notice.
DICK’S Adopts TowerBall as Their New Summer Yard Game
After months of developing a relationship with the team at DICK’S Sporting Goods, they picked up TowerBall as their premium yard game product just in time for summer. Going on shelves as DICK’S makes this the biggest week in Caliber Games history so far, for a few reasons.
Big Box Validation
Eventually, Caliber Games will become a known and trusted name in the outdoor leisure space, but for now, we’re still the new kid on the block. Gaining the trust of a successful company like DICK’S offers us a new level of trust from customers. Some customers would otherwise be hesitant to take a chance on a new game product without seeing it in a reliable retail store like DICK'S. It’s also a big encouragement to our team that we’re on the right track.
Same Day Shopping
While e-commerce will always be a core part of our business, in-store retail adds huge benefit for our customers. Realistically, when people are hosting a party, going to a tailgate, or traveling out for a beach day, they want to stop at a store like DICK’S to pick up supplies. The convenience of grabbing TowerBall as part of an impromptu shopping trip instead of waiting for shipping will open a huge opportunity for new customers to enjoy TowerBall.
Elevating the Industry
From the beginning, we saw an opportunity to improve the low expectations of quality, design, and durability for yard games. Yard games can be such a valuable way to bring people together through shared play experiences. But the status quo expectation is cheap, clunky, and uninspired products. We hope having TowerBall on the shelves in a mainstream store will move the dial in expanding how people view yard games and what they should expect from outdoor game brands.
The Future of Caliber Games
Turning the corner of big box retail adoption will bring Caliber Games into a new season of growth and expansion. People will start seeing TowerBall on more retail shelves, then more backyards, parks, beaches, and tailgate parties. We want to use this increased awareness as an opportunity to develop more products, content, and experiences that fulfill our mission to help families and friends play together.
In the coming year, we plan to develop and launch several more original, premium game products. We'll also be expanding our catalog of other top-notch products in our “Brands You Love” collection. This is all part of our vision to cultivate a world where more families and friends connect through playing outside together instead of siting around staring at screens.
We invite you join in this vision however you can. Consider picking up TowerBall from DICK’S Sporting Goods, or if you’re already a happy customer, help us spread the word! Or do something as simple as making daily time to turn off the phones and TVs to get out in the sun with people you love.
Thanks for all the support you’ve shown this past year. As always, we promise to keep doing our best to bring the magic of play to your community.
Love from our family to yours,
Alex and Kelsey Carroll
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