339
6 min 35 sec

Cards Against Humanity Inspires Six-Figure Party Game

Two friends in their twenties create a “nonsense” party game. Ten years later, they turn it into a side hustle that is now sold at Target.
Creative Design High Profit Kickstarter Manufacturing Product

Subscribe Now For A Free Five Step Tutorial

What It's About

A nonsensical card game that encourages the use of silly accents and phrases!

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Creativity & Design
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Despite their initial reservations about selling Utter Nonsense in big retail stores, Tim and his partner changed their minds following a little encouragement from the buyers at Target. They might have been successful with the direct sales model—we may never know—but being open to new opportunities allowed them to grow far beyond their early expectations.

To be luckier, take more chances!

Fun Fact

Tim just launched another side-hustle product with his 10-year old niece called Lickety Spin, a make-your-own-candy fidget spinner kit. You simply melt your favorite hard candy in the food-safe spinner mold, let it cool, and then remove the fidget-shaped candy. Make it, lick it, spin it!

Notes from Chris

Episode 339

Tim Swindle was 30 when he joined a college friend’s software startup. While he had high hopes the company would make it, he also understood the risk. A side hustle seemed like a good idea, just in case.

Cards Against Humanity, a card game that Tim loved, had recently become massively popular. In some ways, it reminded him of a game he and a friend had come up with back in their twenties when they would gather with other friends at a lake house outside Chicago. Each person would write the name of an actor or character on one piece of paper and then a funny phrase on a second. They would then take turns pulling a paper from each pile and reading it in the voice of that actor or character. The concept just worked. No one took themselves seriously, especially after a few drinks.

The success of Cards Against Humanity made Tim take another look at that lake house game. He wondered if turning it into an actual product could work as his side hustle. So on New Year’s Day, 2014, in a Chicago bar, Tim and the friend who had created the game with him decided to give it a try.

Tim says they spent the next six months working nights and weekends to launch on Kickstarter in August. They wanted to get their game into the hands of customers by the holidays.

Their hard work paid off, and by August of that year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for their game, which they titled Utter Nonsense. The campaign raised a bit more than their $15,000 goal. With that money, the partners placed their first order to get the game produced. In the meantime, they were put in contact with a founder of Marbles: the Brain Store, a boutique toy and game shop with about 30 locations across the U.S. known for finding new and innovative games.

Tim and his partner intended to sell directly to customers similar to how Cards Against Humanity is, and they never really considered selling their cards in any kind of retail stores. Naturally, they were surprised when they got a call in January of 2015 from a buyer at Target, who had read an article written about them and wanted to sell Utter Nonsense in their stores—an idea that threw the game’s creators into utter overwhelm.

Target was good about calming their concerns, and the two realized that Cards Against Humanity had actually created a huge opportunity in retail for party games. The deal was made, and Tim reports that Target has been an incredible partner. In fact, since that first game, a family version has been added, along with a holiday pack for the 2017 season.

Not only that, in less than two years, Tim’s side hustle has turned into his main hustle. Utter Nonsense now generates 6 figures in revenue per month and is very profitable. The business is cash flow positive with no debt and no overhead.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Utter Nonsense: Studies show (probably) that it's good to indulge in a little nonsense from time to time—get yours and learn more about Tim's card game on his website!
  • Kickstarter | Utter Nonsense: The Kickstarter campaign that started it all
  • Marbles: the Brain Store: The boutique toy and game shop known for finding new and innovative games that reached out to Tim and his partner about selling Utter Nonsense in their stores
  • Cards Against Humanity: The cult card game that inspired Tim and his partner to start Utter Nonsense
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter

Download all 2018 episodes from each month: JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH

Download 2017 archives: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Resources

GET $625 IN FREE TRAVEL

Earn 50,000 travel rewards points (enough for 2 round-trip plane tickets or $625 in travel credit). You'll also earn 2x points on all travel and dining spend, with zero foreign transaction fees.

I use this card every day all over the world! ✈️


Learn More

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

Learn More

Quote of the Day
"You’ve got to put yourself out there. Stuff doesn’t just happen to you."
—Tim Swindle #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

Cook with Blue Apron!

Supporting the sponsors keeps the show free. Today’s episode of Side Hustle School is brought to you by Blue Apron. 👩‍🍳

Check out this week’s menu and get your first three meals FREE, with free shipping. Get ready to say mmmmmm.


Get Yours Here

Like the Show? Leave a Rating!

Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅

It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.




Here's How

Keep in Touch

There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!





To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau