Seaford entrepreneur wants to bring a little Sparkle to the holidays.
Come Friday, Sparkle is ready to take her place next to a plush hippo, bulldog, bunny and even a Santa replica that share a common, errr, feature: the ability to generate laughs from a common bodily function.
Brandon Tull, of Seaford, said he understands there will be differing opinions on the stuffed toy he and his girlfriend Chelsea Russell created.
“There really is a generational divide,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are going to look at this and say ‘I don’t get it.’ But there are going to be a lot of other people who are going to look at this and say ‘I get it.’”
Sparkle, you see, is “The Original Farting Unicorn,” a condition that results, or so the story goes, from the animal’s affinity toward tacos.
Tull pointed to other unicorn-related products on the market, such as a bag purporting to be unicorn farts that is in reality cotton candy ($10.99 on Amazon), or a can of “unicorn meat” that sells for $13.76 on Amazon, but the description includes the disclaimer “Okay, you can’t eat this. It’s a dismembered stuffed unicorn in a can.”
“Products like that have sort of pushed unicorn farts into the mainstream,” Tull said.
According to the website emedicinehealth.com, “Most people produce about 1-3 pints of gas a day, and pass gas about 14 times a day. Flatulence itself, although not life-threatening, can definitely cause social embarrassment.”
It can also produce laughter.
Tull graduated in 2008 from Woodbridge High School and in 2011 from the University of Delaware with a degree in sports management.
He said he has worked at a few different jobs, including two radio stations and a stint doing reputation management for businesses before taking a class on selling on Amazon.
“I took that class and I said to myself, ‘I get this. I can do this,’” he said.
He created Integrity Brands LLC and began selling on Amazon. Basically he goes out and finds products, mostly discontinued or out of production, and puts them up for sale on the massive online retailer.
“The next evolution was launching our own product,” he said.
He decided to start with an existing product – in this case a plush toy.
“I wanted to essentially take an established toy and make it more marketable,” he said. “We took something rather simple -- a stuffed animal -- and made it fart.
“Gross out in toys is becoming a bit more common,” he said. “There’s even playdough that looks like poop.”
There’s also a board game (“Who Tooted?”), a series of stuffed animals that produce similar results when squeezed (including a hippo, a bulldog and a “Farter and Son” bear), the “Fart Blaster” guns made famous by the movie Despicable Me 2 and a host of other toys and games related to this particular bodily function.
But Sparkle is unique in that it is the first unicorn. And for Tull, the best part is the reaction from kids the first time they squeeze Sparkle and, along with an English voice asking “Do you want to see how rainbows are made” or some other phrase, comes the distinctive braaap that makes kids burst out laughing.
“That’s what’s really cool about this product,” Tull said.
Sparkle premiers on Amazon Prime Friday, but Tull isn’t looking to make the unicorn the must-have toy of holiday season. In fact, there are only 500 of first “Special Deluxe Edition Box Sets”– which in addition to Sparkle include a poster, two temporary tattoos and a “mystery prize.”
“Once it is proven we will invest more heavily in it,” he said.
The temporary tattoos, Tull said, are “100 percent safe for kids,” something that is equally true of Sparkle.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to do it right,” he said.