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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Fondell

An Interview with the Creators of SongFest!

It’s a big endeavor to take a product from concept to marketplace. Continue reading to learn how this process went for one client, Xperience Games, a new company run by long-time friends turned business partners Paul Kiser and Scott Mordell. 

After a career in corporate healthcare, Paul recently left to pursue other interests, like resurrecting a music trivia game concept he’d had 25+ years ago inspired by Scott’s frequent music-themed parties with friends and family. He’d even developed a prototype. But things got busy and it was put on the back burner. Until now! 

I interviewed Paul to learn more.

How did SongFest! come to be?

It’s easier to get exposure these days through the internet, social media, and the ability to sell on Amazon. It’s so much easier to bring something to market than it was 25-30 years ago. So I played out my passion and asked Scott to be part of it and we are co-owners of Xperience Games, with our game, SongFest!, on the market and doing well. Creative Fold was a big part of us making this a reality.

We look at this game as a vehicle to bring people together, for family and friends to reminisce and learn about each other's music interests. It’s set up to be competitive, but we’ve found that people also just like to play for fun because they enjoy music and remembering songs from the past. 

There’s so much music I like, that’s the beauty of this product – you’ve got something that appeals to everybody. We tried to make content where everybody could engage and enjoy it. A game that’s accessible for a broad group of people.

Why did you seek outside help / what prompted you to choose Creative Fold?

We didn’t know anything about bringing a game to market, really. I started coming up with some content and went to a printing company in Chicago to print some questions out on cards to start testing the concept a bit more. After getting feedback, we knew we needed to understand how to produce in a cost-effective way, design it, and incorporate a lot of different elements into it so I connected with Joe Barron of Gray Matters Games. My neighbor knew him and said, “You should talk to Joe!” We connected a few times, and he’s been a great resource. 

Then Joe said, “You should talk to Creative Fold, they do A, B, and C and all these things, they have relationships with factories, and so on.” 

We really hadn’t known where to go or who to go to. You start googling around and think “Who could manufacture things?” Having the ability to talk to someone trusted by someone I formed a relationship with made sense. We hit it off right away with Katie and Edoardo at Creative Fold.

What surprised you throughout the process?

It was the number of steps you need to take along with the number of decisions you need to make, from getting initial design and putting it together with prototype ideas all the way down to logistics and getting it to a warehouse for the final leg of the journey – a significant number of steps and decisions to go from step A to step Z. I didn’t realize all that goes into getting something from idea and initial concept all the way to market.

What was your biggest challenge?

We wanted this game available in time for the holidays last year. Creative Fold was doing everything they could to make this happen, and we were looking at different contingency plans. Getting everything to work in sync to make this happen was a big challenge. We couldn’t get all the inventory there in time, but we got a few hundred games available on Amazon in advance of the holidays. It amazes me to this day to think of all the things that have to go right along the way to get something from the factory into a consumer’s hands. Everything needed to make that happen was all new to Scott and me, we had to learn those pieces. Creative Fold held our hands the whole way through.

What did you enjoy most about the project?

Several things. One, the creativity discussions with Creative Fold back and forth on design. All of the creative elements were really enjoyable. We got input from Creative Fold based on their experience and us telling them what we’d like to see. That creative process was a lot of fun.

Two, seeing it come to life. Getting that final golden sample, the final sample to approve before manufacturing gears up and starts producing thousands of games.

Lastly, all the learning along the way, just understanding all the different things that have to get done. On the side, I mentor students in entrepreneurship, and it’s helped me have a much bigger knowledge base for someone wanting to bring a product from start to market. It’s been challenging at times, frustrating at times working with certain vendors, but it’s been great. Creative Fold told us to plan accordingly, that anything could happen. 

Any big ideas on the horizon?

In 2025, we’re hoping to expand the SongFest! line with a bigger and better version of the game along with expansion packs featuring well-known artists. We’re running with the theme and trying to make the game even more attractive to various audiences out there. We may also develop a few games beyond that.

In closing, I asked if there was anything else he wanted to include.

I just want to also give another shout out to Katie and Edoardo and the patience they had as we were going through this. They’re very responsive and have been really great partners to work with and we will continue to work with them, obviously, and will do so in the future!

A big thank you to Paul for sharing the SongFest! story. Visit Amazon to buy your very own copy of SongFest! 

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