This is a follow up story for Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello! We are Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment, the artists’ formerly known as Game Night in a Can. We make board games (party games and travel games), we host live events, and we’re developing game shows. We currently have Game Night in a Can for sale in Urban Outfitters and Dr. Biscuits’ Radical Road Trip for sale in Barnes & Noble. We’re also in a lot of independent toy and gift stores nationwide.
Our newest endeavor is in the world of licensing. We dove in head-first last year, and now we’re about to release Anchorman: The Game, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Historical Trivia Travel Game.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Things have certainly grown since last we chatted. We brought on our first hire, Cassie Slane, who we met at a trade show a few years back. Not only did we love hanging out with her, but she also had all the skills we were missing as far as logistics, bookkeeping, and even PR go. Adding her to our team has been huge, even though she lives in Philadelphia and we’re in LA. Working remotely is pretty easy these days.
When we encounter people that we really trust and admire, we ask them for advice when we’re dealing with things that include a lot of unknowns for us.
Otherwise, we have grown our sales numbers, we’ve worked on creative development for other companies, we created a game with another company (The Ultimate Putty Challenge with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty), and as mentioned before we’re now playing around in the licensing world.
For our Anchorman game, we just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $51,000 to go toward manufacturing, which is just about to start up for both new games. Working with existing IP has been interesting for us because we love creating our own stories, but getting to borrow the familiarity of franchises so many people know and love (including us!) makes the marketing so much easier. We’re not starting from scratch with millions of people, we’re just offering something new and different connected to characters they already relate to.
And for Anchorman, we found that local news anchors have a real affinity for that movie, so they naturally want to get involved in our marketing. We had a lot of fun going on the news in Philadelphia and seeing other anchors pick up on a story from NBC NY. Once we have the game itself we will be sending it out to local news programs across the country for them to play.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
We learned that licensing is a fantastic way to help build your own brand.
We learned that when working with retail stores, it’s important to listen to what they respond to, what lights them up, what they’re requesting, and what they offer….but it’s really important to stick to what makes the most sense for you. We have had stores that we really want to work with, but when we bend over backward (on price, manufacturing deadline, etc) it can lead to problems. But when we are honest with what really works for us while also trying to find a positive common ground, great things can happen.
We were also reminded of just how hard running a Kickstarter campaign is. It adds so many more steps to the creation process and there are still lots of people out there who have never backed a Kickstarter project and are maybe not comfortable spending money there.
That said, we were still able to bring in 150% of our goal, make some meaningful new connections, get the word out to tons of people about the game, and add over 1,100 new email addresses to our mailing list.
Jason also learned that he loves to “Win The Day.” He creates a list every morning that is less of a traditional To-Do list and more of a “What Can I Do To Feel Like I Won The Day” list. It would be different for everyone trying it, but the title pretty much says it all!
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Right now we are in the midst of manufacturing, so that is front and center.
Also, we’re smack dab in the middle of a pandemic so who knows what anything even means anymore!
We are planning on hiring a few more people in the next year, including a Project Manager-Slash-Video Producer.
We are working on more games to unveil Fall 2020, as well as a few game shows we’re currently developing. We also have some ideas for products outside of the games category, and we’re looking to create a lot more entertaining content.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
You know, Jason is really the guy who reads the awesome business and self-growth books, and I am a nerd-out fantasy guy. But I’ll list those books!
Keystone - Written by Jason’s wife Katie Delahanty! It’s an entertaining YA heist novel that is a fun and fast read with some great adventure.
Golden Compass Trilogy (His Dark Materials) - A really crazy inventive world, and I love the idea that part of your soul is embodied by an animal (Daemon) that becomes your best friend for life.
Six of Crows - Another heist novel I’m currently in the middle of and thoroughly enjoying. I had never heard of it but it was recommended to my wife as a Christmas gift...and now I’m gobbling it up.
The Daily is great for in-depth news reporting by the New York Times.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Seek out advice from people that you like, especially if they are successful.
Going to trade shows is a great way to make new friends in the industry, and these relationships are indispensable when it comes to sharing tips, information, and even sometimes warnings.
When we encounter people that we really trust and admire, we ask them for advice when we’re dealing with things that include a lot of unknowns for us. This has been a huge help!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Nothing at the moment, but we will be looking for a Project Manager//Video Producer at some point, and we’re always happy to see artist portfolios.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have questions about the toy and game industry, feel free to email us any questions.
Stay healthy and happy everybody.
Barry (& Jason!)
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