As I spent some days in the UK last week for the Software Craftsmanship 2010 conference, I took the opportunity to visit the Wand Makers Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley in Bishops Stortford, Chris’ hometown.
The Original Kymera Wand Frame with parchment, wand, crest and tibetan coins.
They picked me up from the station and we went directly to Chris’ home talking all the way about wands, kids and much more. On entering the appartment it struck me that this was really an inventors home. Lots of magic wands everywhere, magic candles and self made items of any kind.
While sipping on a coffee we continued to chat about inventing and business. I was also shown the Leopard Gecko who had recently suffered from an attack of his food (locusts). While wandering through the living room I found so many items that Chris created either for his kids, his dadcando site or for himself. That was truly amazing. I really like how he decorated his home with those Wand Company items and took some photographs.
The Counter used at the Birmingham Fair complete with secret compartments
We left for lunch at PizzaExpress which was really delicious. Then they took me back to the rail station to get in time to the airport to catch my plane home. Thanks a lot for this great time. Looking forward to visit you again.
The Wand Shelf with silver dragon wand stand and Kymera and Kandela Wands
At home several packages of Kandela Magic Candles waited for me to be smiled at and for you to order from us.
The book of Secrets, who knows what secrets a wand maker keeps?
Today I received the first Kandela samples that were graciously sent to me by TheWandCompany’s Chris Barnardo.
Although it was already quite late, I recorded this Kandela demonstration video.
The packaging is really nice. Great display of the Candle and the Wand. I really like how the instructions are printed on the package with the languages interweaved like a helix.
The candles rubber material feels soft and warm. The light is flickering slightly but not annoyingly. It is fun to operate the candle but it would be even more fun to have lots of those candles around. Then you’d feel like Albus Dumbledore when casting the "Lumos" spell. It takes a bit of breath to blow out the candle but it works well.
The Kandela Wand is of the same size and shape as the Kymera Wand but has a different antique ivory finish and a blue jewel at the end (instead of a green one).
I was also able to program my Kymera Wand to operate the Kandela candle, although it was a bit tricky to align the wands while teaching it.
You have to insert 4 AAA batteries to operate it, two into the candle, two into the wand.
Really a great product and gift, stay tuned we’ll have the Kandela available soon.
Room with Kandela Candles
I also recorded a quick demonstration how a room with Kandela candles would look like when you illuminated it in the dark.
Some Updates at TheWandCompany site
The Kandela page now features an illuminated view of the candle on top of the manual.
Illuminated Kandela Candle on top of the Manual Parchment
The idea of the new page was to show the candle resting on the original web page as if the original webpage
Kandela on top of Manual Parchment
The manual text had to be rewritten to fit with the Kandela and then written in such a way that even when partially obscured by the wand and candle it still made sense.
In order to get the most realistic looking 3D effect, I printed out the side elements and photographed them at an angle under a piece of old parchment paper.
I also got some real 1890s Tibetan coins from India off ebay and photographed them, because the originals were
just illustrated and I thought that they would not look real enough for this image.
I used all the elements to make up a real tableaux for the Autumn Fair show as wall decoration, and perhaps the sort of thing that you might find in a gentleman’s study or the drawing room of a Victorian room.
Richard and I scoured an old antiques warehouse and bought an old frame. I stained and polished the frame with French polish and then had a plaque made, built a shadow box to go behind it and build up the real webpage tableaux inside.
The effect is great and the shadow box is now hanging in my lounge.
Today, on Sept 15th, the wand makers, Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley, wizards of The Wand Company, funding dragon Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon’s Den fame and the Firebox crew, present the new magical device.
The Kandela is a great, magical package of a Magic Wand and a vanilla colored candle. The wand has an antique bone finish and is set with a blue jewel.
Actually it is a infrared remote control wand, a simpler, non-programmable version of the Kymera Wand and an infrared controlled, blow-out LED candle.
You can use the wand to lighten and extinguish the candle. It can also control how long the candle burns. But like any real candle it will cease to glow when you blow at it.
Duncan Bannatyne and the Wand Makers present the Kandela
Win a Kandela
When you’re active on twitter, your chances to win a Kandela from us are high. Drawings are held every month.
As I didn’t get a sample in time for recording a product video I just to my stock Kymera Wand and used a set of IR candles to demonstrate the "Lumos" and "Nox" spells. Please keep in mind – this is a different set of candles that works a bit differently, so it is just a substitute for a real Kandela.
We’ll offer the Kandela as soon as it is available for resale, for about EUR 39,50. If you want to preorder a Kandela just comment on this post and well figure it out. Firebox also offers it for pre-order right now.
The Kandela Candle and Wand
Kandela User Manual
Kandela User Manual Illustrations
Magical Wand & Enchanted Candle
Light the candle with a flourish of your wand, blow it out just like a real candle.
The Wand Company Ltd
Makers of the World’s finest Magical Instruments since AD 2009
BEFORE FIRST USE
Install batteries (not included) in the wand and candle before use. Use only alkaline LR03 (AAA) batteries, and do not mix old and new batteries.
The wand does not have a power button; once you have installed batteries in the wand, it is automatically ready to use.
After installing the batteries turn the candle on at the power button located on the candle base; the candle will illuminate. Blow the candle out to put it into standby mode.
Use a short sharp flick of the wand to illuminate the candle from up to 4m away.
The Kandela candle flickers just like a real candle.
To extinguish the candle either:
a) blow it out
b) wiggle the wand while pointing it at the candle within 4m of the candle
c) a 60 minute sleep timer mode may be activated by tapping the wand twice on the crisscross area whilst pointing it at the candle when the candle is illuminated. When sleep timer mode is activated the candle will automatically extinguish after 60 minutes.
To extend battery life, always turn the candle off at the power button when not in use.
Wand needs 2x AAA (LR03) alkaline batteries
Candle needs 2x AAA (LR03) alkaline batteries
Batteries are not included
The wand is about 35.5cm long
The candle has a diameter of 11 cm and a height of 6.5cm
As the Kymera Magic Wand and a new product were shown at the Birmingham Autumn Fair, I asked the Wand-Maker Chris Barnardo to send me a report of his experiences there.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I got back. Big Thanks to Chris for taking the time to write it down.
Report from the Birmingham Autum Fair
Awareness and Dragons Den Effect
Both products performed flawlessly extracting squeals of delight from anyone
that stopped by the stand to have a go. Passing interest was limited as the
stand was crowded out by people who had targeted us to come and see the wand
for the express purpose of stocking it. I guess it was a huge benefit that
Dragons’ Den had been aired only a couple of weeks before. This is one of
the luckiest things to happen to us. If it had been aired after the show,
awareness of the wand would not have been as high. If it had been aired the
week of the show we would not have been able to cope with both. In business
you always need a bit of luck.
Sir Barons Study
On the TV on our stand we had a dvd playing a loop from a promotional video
of surfing huge waves in Hawaii (I think, although Richard will know
exactly), that incredible footage was a draw and the TV was very useful to
demonstrate the functions of the wand. We also had what looked like a real
fire. It was a Dimplex Optimist and uses atomised water to look like smoke
and when lit by hidden light, like flames. Quite convincing it is too and if
we had been agents for the fire I’m sure we could have sold a load of those
too. The fire had the benefit of being remote control so the Kymera had no
trouble learning the codes and with a simple pull back gesture we were able
to put out the fire. The powerhouse of any demonstration was the iPod dock.
The iconic iPod has an interface made for the wand. The wands 13 functions
map well to the iPod interface and allow a great deal of control. We played
magical type music from the playlist that we had used in the Dragons’ Den.
Great Support by Dawn
Richard and I were joined by my partner Dawn on the stand for the whole
show. Dawn works in the Wand Company on the financial side making sure that
the accounts are kept up to date and as a result of the show is also working
with some new customers. Dawn was a great asset on the stand, capable and
confident there was no way Richard and I could have handled the wave after
wave of interested prospects on our own. The show is not one for the general
public, it is a trade show, so each person that comes to the stand is a
potential customer and needs individual demonstration and a discussion about
their particular needs.
After the first day it was clear that we were going to sell out of the stock
we had in the UK. Signing up numerous resellers who wanted stock immediately
gave us the pleasure and problem of working out how we were going to supply
them. Luckily we had been holding a large number o units for a French
customer of ours and a quick phone call assured us that he wouldn’t mind if
we dipped into his stock, in the knowledge that more stack was arriving next
week (before he needed it). By the end of the second day we were getting
dangerously close to selling out of that too.
Birmingham Autumn Fair Hall 5
Long days on the the tiny stand were tiring but huge fun. We didn’t stay at
the NEC but at Birmingham’s trendy Mailbox. So at the end of each day we
drove back there and had a nice meal and then staying up until 2.30am
writing invoices to make sure that our customers got the best service. We
had thought that we might go out and explore Birmingham, but we had so many
emails to catch up on and so many invoices to write that there was not time
Autumn Fair was a test for us, it was our first trade show and we wanted to
see if it was going to be worth doing Spring Fair 2011, which is much
bigger. We had a great time, we did a sizable amount of business, we signed
up a good number of new customers and made some heavyweight contacts that
will result in big sales later, so all in all a great success and even
discounting the result slightly for the exceptional effect of Dragons’ Den
(which of course no other subsequent show will have directly) we have to do
more of this sort of thing and Spring Fair looks like a definite date in the
Preparing the booth
Notes about the stand itself
Given its small size (perhaps the smallest at Autumn Fair, 1m x 3m) we
managed to pack a lot into it. The design itself was carfeully though
through and I build a special faux old bookcase with a hollow cupboard (and
locakable door) behind and there was the fire place, which itself is very
big. So to make sure that it would all fit and to help with the design, I
built a one tenth scale model. It was very useful in deciding what extra
accessories to get. I attach a picture of the stand model.
Stand Model 1 in 10 Scale
Richard has tweeted pictures of the empty space and the stand build and the final stand
Today Chris and Richard went to Birmingham to set up their stand for the Birmingham Autumn Fair that starts on Sunday, Sept 5. The fair is really big with about 4000 exhibitors.
This fair is for business only. So there will be lots of resellers that will be able to take a first hand look at the Kymera Wand and another new product of The Wand Company. If you’re there too then just go to hall 5 stand EE52 and say hello to the conquerors of the Dragon’s Den.
The booth looks very comfy, like the study of Sir Richard Barons. Hope the two have a great time there presenting their products and talking to potential wholesale customers.
You must take a look at the really long blog post by dohcjhw. He put on a darth vader helmet which is unusal for a wizard, but perhaps closest he could get to Lord Voldemort and tried the wand on himself.
Unfortunately all the Korean text is within the images so, I can’t have it tranlated.
There are also nice instructional images like this one:
This instructable will show you how to make (almost) anything look like old ivory or bone. The technique I have used is also called distressing. I am distressing (you might want to call it a creative hacking) my beloved Kymera Wand. However you got one, hacking a $90 gadget takes some guts, but I think the result speaks for itself and you end up taking something original and turning it into something completely unique.
Below you can see how the wand is transmogrified in 13 well documented steps from being your usual wooden colored magical instrument to an elegant creamy white beauty.
Please look at the instructable and comment and rate it or comment here. And spread the word, it is worthwhile.
Before starting you should perhaps consider the Chris’ last words:
At last it is time to remove the masking tape and review your handiwork.
Phew, either it looks fab or you have just ruined a hundred dollars of high tech wizardry. Perhaps it might have been better to practice on an old wooden spoon first. …
If you don’t like what you see, mask up and go back to step one and start again… remember as it says on the Kymera Wand manual…
The Kymera Wand is a
that recognizes up to 13
gestures and sends the
according infrared signals.
It can learn infrared codes
from any remote control
(also Mac Apple Remote).
Gesture recognition is
achieved through an
built in accelerometer.
Ihr Kymera Zauberstab
ist ein wahrliches Meisterstück
der jede Ihrer Bewegungen
spürt und durch Strahlen
unsichtbaren Lichts die
meisten Geräte Ihrer
Umgebung aus der Ferne
Dieser Zauberstab ist
kein Spielzeug sondern
ein sorgsam kalibriertes