Veronica Vargas is the founder of Shaboo Prints, a boutique lifestyle brand designing positive products that will reawaken your joy. Veronica uses “imaginovation,” inventing ground-breaking products by combining reality with imagination to provoke awe and wonder. She is a social expressionist and entrepreneur on a mission to return millions of adults back to a wondrous world full of potential, play, and a knowing that expressing their real self is the whole point — i.e., finding their happy place!
Tell us about your invention? What problem does it solve?
Let me first welcome you to the wondrous World of Shaboo! A place to play in, feel safe to contemplate who you really are, and consider what you really want to do. It is an imaginative, happy place where you can experience another version of you!
We live in a time where fear and negativity occupy the media. Many adults are suffering from what I coined as adult-onset doldrums. It is the low-energy existence of someone not living to their potential, not having enough play time, and burdened with other expectations — not living within their happy place.
Since I was young, I have valued the power of imagination, play, and creativity for my happiness. The times in my life when I did not exercise these, I became low-energy and inflicted with the doldrums. The times in my life since then, when I returned to that joy, have been happy, productive, and successful.
Feeling life’s magic using play, imagination, and creativity is a healing balm. People are hungry today for the wondrous — and that’s what Shaboo provides.
I also wanted to address the reports that our youth are suffering from the doldrums, from social and personal disconnect caused by smartphones and other technology. Our connections with self, others, and nature are powerfully healing. I figured if technology has moved our youth away from these connections, then I would use technology to bring these connections back to our youth.
Shaboo combined leading-edge augmented reality with playful animations that the heart will recognize and inspirational messages of truth that encourage considerations of fulfillment. I use animated characters inspired by nature (animals, insects, trees, and flowers) that possess human qualities. Essentially, we are using the power of imagery while blurring the line to a caring reality, using augmented reality, in order to ignite feelings of joy and self-worth.
I am excited to introduce to you our Light the Magic lamps! They are the first-of-their-kind scannable tabletop lamps. Simply download the free Shaboo AR Scanner app to use your smartphone as a magic wand that opens images printed on the lampshade, like windows into the wondrous.
Scan our Good Day Good Night Love lamp and receive two messages from a magical white peacock to start and end your day. Scan our Good Day Good Night Balloon Fun lamp to watch a meerkat balloon artist send you off and welcome you home. Or you can scan the very special Tree Wisdom lamp, which contains 20 animated quotes inspired by nature, to receive a randomized uplifting message. It is the next evolution of the oracle deck!
Today, Shaboo is on a mission to get our products into one million homes to uplift and inspire households. I believe if we can help reduce the doldrums and increase the joy in one million homes, they could collectively cause a positive cultural shift.
What was the inspiration for your invention?
There were two paths of inspiration that resulted in our Light the Magic lamps: one for the product and the other for its content.
My personal superpower has come from the connections I have with myself and my world. I use imagination and play to deepen those connections, which have been the keys to my personal and professional success. I wish to share my experience and encourage others to connect.
Ever since I was young, and then as an artist, I understood the power of imagery to bypass our minds and connect with our hearts. I also witnessed the power of video (which uses images) to amplify messages. I combined imagery with video on social media to broadcast my messages through v-logs and animations. I then felt the need to make these videos and animations “portable”; access to them using platforms such as YouTube and Facebook was too limiting. I began embedding them into QR codes, which were new at the time. I placed various QR codes installed with uplifting stories and animations on my greeting cards and submitted this to the Greeting Card Association (GCA) for review as the next evolution. The industry was not ready, and the application was not understood. I stopped promoting this idea but kept an eye on developing technology, believing that the right application would come along at the right time.
Augmented reality finally showed itself. It didn’t require an ugly bar code and offered the ability to more effectively blur the lines between realities, which was exactly what I hoped for! I immediately applied this to my greeting cards and promoted them as “living” cards. I have not submitted these to the GCA because they still may not be understood; however, the time for “living” cards feels so appropriate that I will promote them outside of the industry.
I read reports on the drop-in sales within the greeting card industry and was affected by its slow response to innovation, so I began to question whether cards were the right vehicle for alluring people into the wondrous world of Shaboo.
I love light. Light, whether it comes from a window or a bulb uplifts people. Light is also magnetic; people and insects are drawn to it. A lamp with a scannable shade was the next natural step! An augmented reality lamp supported my goals to uplift, support a positive lifestyle, and carry the magic into one million households.
Naming this product line Light the Magic came easily, and now we can literally energize homes with the goodness of Shaboo!
At what stage in the invention process are you?
There is no destination in the invention process because it is ongoing. It started in my youth, inventing stories and characters outdoors; it continued in my own reinvention throughout my career and in my product development, like the QR codes, living cards, and Light the Magic augmented reality lamps. The latest stage of product evolution, Light the Magic lamps, was launched February 2020. I am already engaged in future developments, using the next evolutions in technology for customization, metamorphic content, and 3D. I am always on the lookout for new ways to uplift and inspire. I don’t like to limit myself to one kind of message vehicle or industry.
What is the number one goal you have with regards to your invention?
To ignite imagination and wonder again in order to cause positive social change one person at a time.
I think about the hard-working mom who has one of our lamps in her home. She may not always have time to sit and scan its positive message, but she smiles at it, knowing what it contains and reminded that there is an undercurrent of goodness. I think of the young boy, struggling in school, who scans a Good Morning Good Night lamp and is reminded that he will be okay. I think about the man who has a dream but feels life does not offer opportunities to fulfill it, experiencing hope again after he “opens” an image.
My initial tactic is to get Shaboo’s uplifting products in one million homes because I believe that an inspired collective of people would help point the nose of society towards a better way.
I am imaginovating a world where more people value their differences, hear the messages of their hearts, and see magic in everyday life. I am imaginovating a movement of Shaboo Good Messengers who believe that life is more amazing through connection and encourage that perspective in others.
Who is your product for (target market)?
Anyone who can benefit from encouragement and reassurance! As a youth, I needed it, so I want to offer others an easily accessible resource for it. It is also for anyone who has an inner knowing that the world is a positive place and that they are destined for more. Ideal customers are mindful adults struggling with fulfillment and pre-teens struggling with identity. Shaboo has a strong male client base! I think males are curious about feeling good, without the social pressure.
Our products are soothing, playful, creative, and uplifting. They are appropriate for any age, but I am particularly interested in targeting adults — many of whom have forgotten how to play. Approximately 60% of the adults I approach are challenged with the concept of play as a means to access a better life. Some even get downright mad, which tells me that we are on to something!
How long did your invention take to get to this point (from the time you conceived of the idea to now)?
Inventing is an ongoing process. It’s like a timeline with offshoots of activity and self-expression, that’s why I call myself an “imaginovator.”
The process of imaginovation that led to the Light the Magic lamps started as a youth playing outdoors, then to storytelling and animations that led to using QR codes, which evolved into augmented reality greeting cards, then table top lamps — and who knows what’s next?
But if you want to know how long it took to combine uplifting content and AR applied to tabletop lamps, then I would say that it took five years, starting from the time I embedded QR codes. However, after the neutral response from the GCA, I paused the development for about three years. An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped, because when augmented reality arrived, the process began again and the lamps manifested very quickly and easily.
When you had your idea, what was the first thing you did?
I created quality content, which is key to this success. I honed my ability to communicate playful joy through my images and animations. I developed many story lines and recurring characters with an underlying theme: reawaken to your happy place through play and joy. During this time, I trusted that the right vehicle to deliver the content would present itself. The time I spent readying myself with signature content has paid off. It is this signature style that will keep my products distinct, even as others adopt my innovations.
What has been the greatest challenge getting your idea from your head to something tangible?
Combining the technology I had in one hand with the lamp that I held in the opposite hand! After finding the right technology, then a local and dependable lamp manufacturer, the work had only just begun. I had to understand how the technology worked so that I could create designs that it recognized and played content that was stable. I also had to create a branded scanning app and understand how that worked too.
There were quite a few design changes trying to provide the technology with enough features (information) for it to recognize because the software performs similarly to facial recognition. There were also new parameters for the animations: length, file size, and aspect ratio. Once we successfully used the technology to target an image with the animated content using the app, we then had to overcome new challenges caused by the curvature of the lampshade.
I considered using a square shade, which would have been easier and increased costs, but I preferred to make the technology work with a circular shade because that was the most popular kind.
After a lot of testing and beta sample shades, we finally developed a stable product that consistently performs well on a curved surface. I look forward to constant and further improvements. Light the Magic lamps will only get better and more awesome with time and consumer feedback.
You can learn more at www.ShabooPrints.com
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