It was sometime between 10 and 20 years ago, while traveling around who knows where in Buffalo, NY, that I saw a pink flamingo lawn ornament and thought "that should be a Pink Buffalo." The rest is history. Just kidding.
That should be a Pink Buffalo.
My love affair with Buffalo started in 1979, when I came to the "big city" to seeing the Bee Gees in concert. Being driven down Main Street and see the cacophony of wig stores somehow impressed upon me that maybe someday I'd make this hot spot my home. I'd live in Buffalo.
Spending my college years doing the tour of local schools, I started at NU, received my BS at UB, took a couple classes at Buff State and finished up the quadfecta with an MBA from Canisius. I gained a full brain of knowledge stuff, but it was not the education that would serve me on this journey.
While volunteering, which means to a 20-something at the time that I was shamed into helping out my roommate, I met my beautiful bride. Her family followed what I call "The Buffalo Migration," starting in the city at the Perry Projects, moving to a house nearby, then to South Buffalo and onto West Seneca (Cheektowaga is also a migratory path). My new Buffalo family taught me more about Buffalo than any book or class could have.
The Buffalo Migration
I fulfilled my karma-laced destiny by having three beautiful daughters. Maybe I shouldn't have said "I'm gonna be around women my whole life. Blonde hair, blue eyed women." at 3:40am some late night (early morning) at the Brick Bar. They are OP Quakers, but that's another story.
Fast forward many years later to about 10 years or so ago. With an MBA, creative mind and an exceptional misunderstanding of how things really should work, I took my first crack at making Pink Buffalos. It did not go well. It cost too much, would take too much time and there was 11,000% risk.
I didn't give up. In fact, I tried numerous times to figure out how to make this happen to no avail. Then the Internet came along and made things easier. The last 2-3 years I have earned an education in locally-made plastic lawn ornament production. I have also learned an awful lot of "Micro Lessons."
In Buffalo, everyone has "got a guy." I just needed to find someone who had a guy, so a guy with a guy. Then out of nowhere, a guy told me about a guy. This guy is my 3D designer. We worked to create a truly original buffalo, which turns out to be harder than you'd think. Apparently there are a lot of buffalos in the world.
The next step was creating the prototype Pink Buffalo. After finding an oversize 3D printing partner, my guy who paints vehicles turned the dull white buffalo into a spot on Pink Buffalo. The Pink Buffalo needed a box, so I have a guy who knows a guy, and our box is made in Buffalo. The design for the box and so many other Pink Buffalo things is another guy from Buffalo. Although we couldn't seem to find a guy to make the H-Stakes in Buffalo, they are made in the USA, which is a great start.
Now for the most important guy...the guy who is going to make the actual Pink Buffalo. This is where luck and the Internet came in. I tried to find a manufacturer for years, but it turns out if you don't know what you are doing you will not find one. I Googled what I needed and the Google transmogrifier turned my need for a guy into a guy. The best part is that they are just outside of Buffalo and technically in WNY. So, there's a lot of Buffalo in this buffalo.
There's a lot of Buffalo in this buffalo.
After an awful lot of yammering on about Pink Buffalos with my buddy Dan Gigante, I asked him and Del Reid (his partner at 26 Shirts) to help me get the word out that I wanted to do this Pink Buffalo thing. Being a big fan of the good that 26 Shirts does, I wanted to turn the Pink Buffalo project into something that also did good. Since the Pink Buffalo is pink (duh), it made sense to align ourselves with supporting the fight against breast cancer.
Now for a foreshadowing reference in my story. Remember the whole family of women I mentioned? Well if you do the math like Rob Lederman, there are 4 ladies in my inner circle and that's 8 chances that our family is effected by this awful disease. So, we met with Susan G. Komen Upstate NY and worked out a deal to work together. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Pink Buffalos will be donated to our local organization.
The Indiegogo campaign introduced me to over 500 people who also think the Pink Buffalo is cool and dig that we are doing good. We did not hit our goal of 2,600 backers, but how can you have 500 people believe in the Pink Buffalo and not go make it? So, with an angel and substantial personal investment, we decided to go ahead and do this thing.
Between the Indiegogo campaign and the beginning of the first batch being produced, we pre-sold Pink Buffalos on 26shirts.com with solid success. With their help we also were hosted on local radio stations, been on local TV and got some great mentions on social media. Some of our favorite new media friends include Linda Pellegrino, Courtney Corbetta, Kelly Dudzik, Rich "Bull" Gaenzler and Rob Lederman.
With Pink Buffalos in production, we seem to be at the end of our story, but it's really just the beginning of the next chapter of the Pink Buffalo. I am humbly thankful to everyone in our story and I look forward to filling-out many more chapters to come.GO Pink Buffalo!
Ian "IC" Woods
Pink Buffalo Inventor And Do-Gooder