When is the last time you had game night? “Are You Kultured?” is a pan-African entertainment and educational experience created by four couples from Maryland: Nikki and Julian Davis, Olaide and Dapo Akingbade, Stacy and Ebo Biney, and Shay and Tony Awojoodu. These couples regularly get together for fellowship and, naturally, play card and board games. During one of their early meetings it became clear that there was not a good game they could share that created a fun and entertaining experience, centered around their Kulture. This led to the conception of the “Are You Kultured?” card game – which is a word guessing game with a “kultural” twist. While we’ve started with a game we hope to expand into products, experiences, and even services down the line.
What is it like creating new card game? Walk us through the process.
It’s WORK. Believe it or not, we started this process in January of 2018 and did not launch until March of 2020. The process started with conceiving the game and then the team met together to start populating clues. This took months to ensure we had the right number and quality of clues. In parallel, we developed the name “Are You Kultured” and began working with our creative design partners, Black Print Agency, to design the actual cards, box, insert, etc. We then worked with a manufacturer to prototype the game and source all of the products it contains (we have a wooden timer that gives traditional vibes, a black Velcro bell (buzzer) that’s reminiscent of your auntie’s tambourine, and a beautiful insert that allows you to use the interior of the box to hold cards during play. All of this took time and care. Once we were comfortable with the prototype we had to arrange logistics to get a bulk order of units shipped to our storage facility in Maryland. While we awaited arrival, we developed a digital marketing campaign including a website, social media, and a marketing and promotions plan. When we finally received our game, we worked with Tolani Afolake, a talented videographer, to shoot our promo video(s) and incorporated these into the launch plan. Despite all of the work and time involved, this was FUN – especially being able to do it with our friends and partners.
What are the pros and cons of running this type of business?
This was the first time many of us had run a product business so it has been truly a learning experience.
Pros: Being able to create all of our content, clues, design, videos, etc. in our product and making the game “ours.”
Cons: Logistics of moving a product internationally, inbound and outbound – product damage, storage, customer complaints, etc. are all things that we are still working through.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge in operating this kind of business?
The biggest challenge was getting nine people (the 4 couples and our creative design consultant) aligned on what to do at every single step of the way. We spent a LOT of time on the phone and in group chats discussing (some will say arguing) the path forward. While there isn’t always consensus, we all take pride in how much we’ve accomplished and how pleasant it’s been working with each other, despite moments of disagreement.
What makes this a game users should be excited about?
We created a pan-African game to pay homage to, and serve, people who look like us around the world. So often do our people build and create beautiful things that are ultimately misappropriated or end up serving other audiences. We truly believe that the uniqueness of the clues and the experience with this game will create a product that will uniquely serve our people. Most importantly, it’s for “us.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start up this kind of business?
PLAN. PLAN. PLAN. And then PLAN some more! Things as complex and involved as starting a product business never go completely as planned so it is important to not only plan for the worst case scenario, but to also plan multiple contingencies. You do that so you and the team can be agile and grow irrespective of what comes your way.
Kamoky was created to connect people with local Afro businesses and prosper the communities they identify with home and abroad. Buy now and Connect with AreYouKultured on Instagram or at www.areyoukultured.com