Hasbro has revealed via StarWars.com that HasLab is now available in Canada. This should come as welcome news to fans looking to add the mammoth Jabba’s Sail Barge to their collections. As announced at Toy Fair 2018, HasLab is a crowdfunding effort designed to bring unique and niche items to life, with the sail barge from Return of the Jedi being the first project. The official site sat down for an in-depth discussion about HasLab with Hasbro’s director of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing, Joe Ninivaggi, and design and development director for Star Wars at Hasbro, Steve Evans.
You can read an excerpt of the interview below:
It’s clear that HasLab is an extension of the longstanding collaboration between fans and the beloved toymaker that has, over the years, helped to introduce new products and figures based on feedback and the results of fan polls.
“We’ve done a lot of fan votes and they’re great,” says Ninivaggi, but that approach has its limitations. “You can click on a fan vote as much as you want. We’re not 100 percent sure if you’re really getting the full grasp of what the fan community wants.”
“Something like this really brings the fans together,” adds Evans. “To have a single item that everyone can get behind, it’s a much more, sort of, unified approach.” In the short time since it’s introduction, Hasbro’s team has already seen a groundswell of support for the HasLab concept and its inaugural product idea. “It’s incredible the way the fan sites are building their own rationale behind why you should buy it,” Evans says, including some that have introduced their own countdown clocks. “They’re brilliant!”
“In the case of Jabba’s barge, it’s been 35 years people have been asking us to make it,” Ninivaggi notes. “We make a lot of awesome products and we’re proud of the line we make and it’s certainly size able. But there are the ones that got away, the ones that we can’t get to.”
Producing a toy of this size without a pre-order campaign would be a gamble even Jabba himself couldn’t take. The best approach, Hasbro says: a partnership directly with the most fervent fans and collectors that not only creates the never-before-seen toy but invites backers along for the wild ride from concept to creation.
“We wanted to do something that wasn’t transactional in nature but gave up the opportunity to really kind of love the process and reveal it and share updates,” says Ninivaggi. “This is a year-long process and we created this beautiful book that shows all the behind-the-scenes work. We’re celebrating Mark Boudreaux [Hasbro’s senior principal designer on Star Wars], who has been part of every major vehicle since 1977, so it’s a really beautiful kind of platform that goes well beyond just selling a product.”
“Quite simply,” says Evans, “the fans deserve it.”
You can read more at StarWars.com
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