The Goodie Monster Is Here

Just in time for Halloween! Over the weekend my friend Mark and I put the finishing touches on the Goodie Monster: a vending machine filled with healthy, tasty snacks. Not only does it taste good, it looks good too. Check out the full project process and see more pictures of us sewing and painting nonstop to create a green fur-clad monster complete with a mountainous environment where pears fly south for the winter. Read more >>

The Goodie Monster Vending Machine

The Goodie Monster is here! After a good idea, some sweat equity, and a few technical hurdles my friend Mark and I have brought into this world a new kind of vending machine. It looks a little different, and tastes different too.

Mark came to me with the idea of the Goodie Monster in the summer of 2011 and asked if I would help make it real. The goal: to put good food within people’s reach. The location: the Goldsmith Building where we both work. The details: make it the most awesome vending machine ever. I am a voracious snacker and quite interested in food (as evidenced here, here, here, here and here), so I took about 30 seconds to think about it before committing to one of the bigger side projects I’ve done.

Fuzzy type was the first inklings of our Monster-to-be.

After a failed attempt at getting onto Kickstarter, Mark took the plunge and bought a vending machine out-of-pocket. Yes, you can do that. He also researched what kind of snacks to put inside and put together an informational site that has details about each snack in the vending machine. Did you know that Luna Bars were created for women but can be equally enjoyed by self-confident men?

We have big plans for you, boring vending machine...
A selection of snacks that the Goodie Monster approves of.

My end of the deal involved giving the machine a personality, which included buying various materials at Fabric Depot, the largest fabric store in the nation. They must see a lot of strange things come and go, but even the ladies at Fabric Depot raised their eyebrows at my purchases. One check-out person saw my 5 pound box of polyfill and commented “Looks like quite the project you have going there”. You have no idea lady, that’s just for the tail of it!

Once we got started, the Goodie Monster took shape pretty quickly. He didn’t really have a lot to say, but he was very excited about snacking. In fact, all he could utter was NOM NOM NOM and point towards his mouth. Very demanding.

The Goodie Monster says it all with buttons.
He lives somewhere on the way to Snack Mecca where pears fly south for the winter.

This project was challenging in numerous ways. Mark had never owned or operated a vending machine. I had never sewn 12 yards of fake fur. My sewing machine was from the 1970’s and didn’t like working overtime. Fabric Depot was located in deep Southeast Portland next to some strip clubs. Things could have gone wrong in so many places, but we made it through fairly unscathed. Here are a few pictures showing the process from start to finish, including having our first customers arrive 30 seconds after the Goodie Monster was unveiled. The door wasn’t even closed and they were already clamoring for their Justin’s Nut Butters and Larabars.

To announce the Goodie Monster’s arrival, Mark gave each tenant of the Goldsmith Building a small Kind bar with a booklet introducing their new neighbor. Other businesses in the area got a note in the mail that came in a very hungry envelope.

Many people helped us with the Goodie Monster: Darin Richardson who painted and painted and painted, Jen Stevenson who gave us the idea for a GORP recipe card, Jelly who repeatedly yelled WOOHOO and gave constructive feedback, David who owns the Goldsmith and encouraged us to make it happen, and Greg who helped when the Goodie Monster went haywire and started spewing coins and Clif Bars unprompted. To all of you – THANKS!

And since there is nothing more satisfying than a before and after photo…

Our little corner: BEFORE
Our little corner: AFTER
Mark and I doing our best "I love what you do for me" jumps. Hurrah!

Update 11.15.2011: The Goodie Monster gets a four course review by local food writer Jen Stevenson of Under the Table with Jen. With almost 40 courses to choose from it was a tough job, but less filling than your regular Thanksgiving dinner. Read more about our snack sampling.

Update 11.23.2011: The Goodie Monster is now on Facebook! Where else is a vending machine clad in green fur supposed to find friends? We hope you like him.

Update 11.25.2011: Steve Law of the Portland Tribune has written a nice article on the Goodie Monster and vending machine policy for the Thanksgiving issue of the newspaper.

Update 11.29.2011: Portland Pulp wrote a nice blurb about our friend called “The Goodie Monster: The Future of Health Food”. Check it out here.

Update 01.01.2011: Portland’s Chinatown newspaper featured the Goodie Monster as their “employee of the month”. Pretty amazing seeing as the Goodie Monster just sits there and sells snacks with a smile.

Update 01.02.2012: The Goodie Monster gets a mention in Mix Magazine alongside another vending machine makeover case, the Soda Pagoda.

Update 01.27.2012: Making more Goodie Monsters has been accepted as a project for Kickstarter. Plans must now be formulated – stay tuned!

Update 03.31.2012: Portland Monthly Magazine wrote a short article on the Goodie Monster, saying is a vending machine “with more personality than most, or maybe any.” Why yes, it probably is.

Update 04.29.2012: The Goodie Monster Kickstarter campaign has officially started. Help us raise money to make four more Goodie Monsters, which will be the start of creating and sustaining continued growth for the Goodie Monster family. Check our our video and rewards on Kickstarter.

Update 05.01.2012: Silicon Florist blogger Rick Turoczy picks up on the Goodie Monster campaign in the article VendScreen and Goodie Monster: Could Portland be the epicenter of vending machine innovation?

Calling Cards for the Digital Era

One of the projects I’ve worked on recently for Jelly Helm Studio was to design the studio’s business cards. Several ideas were sketched out (monograms, pop-up castles, and a series of tableaus, among others), but early in the brainstorming process we decided that simple was better. To support this direction, internet research turned up calling cards from way back when.

Most business cards from days of yore included only the person’s name. Additional notations on the card (in the lower corners) were left for specific reasons and were part of the intricate etiquette system surrounding the calling card, which are detailed in The Gentleman’s Guide to the Calling Card. We took the calling card structure and updated for the 21st century. Done and done.

Simple does it.

The smaller-than-usual cards were letterpress printed by Kyle van Horn of Baltimore Print Studios with a nice deep plum ink on French Muscletone Whip Cream. During the project, Kyle sent us this slip taped to a furniture cabinet at the Baltimore Print Studios.

According to this, Jelly Helm’s business card size (1.75″ x 3″) is somewhere between a Miss and a Mister. According to me, it’s just the right size to carry the information on it.

Other people get cards too.
A calling card for the digital era.