GiftTRAP Success Story

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Thu, 2007-12-06 12:06.
Posted in:

Kelowna entrepreneur Nick Kellet is hoping that his successful board game is the gift that keeps on giving.

And the 44-year-old hopes next year will see him break even on his investment of between $150,000 and $200,000 on GiftTRAP.

"I was trying to think of board games and my daughter Freya, who was six at the time, asked, 'How does Santa decide what to give children?'" Kellet said yesterday.

"It was like, 'Wow, that's a brilliant idea.' I did some research and I discovered there wasn't a single game about giving gifts."

That was four years ago and the game, which sells for $29.99, was launched in October last year.

Since then, 10,000 sets of the game have been sold worldwide.

GiftTRAP recently got a boost when it was named Best New Party Game of the Year by Games Magazine, and it should be in Chapters bookstores in time for Christmas, said Kellet.

"Since man got out of caves and first created some surplus through ploughing fields and making stuff, we have been giving gifts," laughed Kellet. "But why is gift-giving such a trauma?"

The problem is trying to pick the right gift for someone.

Then there are those gifts that people don't want.

"You have to open them and practise your best fake smile and say, 'That's lovely, Grandma. Thanks very much for the tie.' "

Kellet says his research shows that 35 per cent of gifts people receive are "unwanted and unloved."

"When you play this game you have a lifetime's pent-up frustration of bad gift-giving coming out," he said. "You win by being good at giving gifts and by getting given the right gifts."

Kellet hails from England and board games were a childhood passion.

By the time he was a teenager, he was having meetings with representatives for U.S. games giant Milton Bradley, pitching board games based on business, balancing and dieting.

"It was, 'Nice try, no cigar,'" said Kellet, who lives in Kelowna with his wife, Julie, and three daughters.

He became a high-tech entrepreneur and moved to Vancouver after selling his company in 1999 to Business Objects.

He worked for Business Objects as vice-president of new initiatives until last November when GiftTRAP started to take off.

Kellet says 11,000 more games have now been manufactured and the bulk of those have been pre-sold.

"For next year, we have already got deals in place to publish this in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Portugal and Spain," he said.

He has distributors in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany and England.

"The world is cluttered and crowded with trivia games, but there aren't any other gift-giving games," he said. "Got a review from someone in Norway saying that this was the best game they've played since Cranium."

And Kellet said the gamer website, where GiftTRAP got an average rating of 6.9 out of 10, put it in the top 20 of party games of all time.

"There are 1,000 new games launched every year," he added. "So to get this far is a pretty good achievement."

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