Boardgames have a unique way of bringing people together, fostering social connections, and providing countless hours of fun and entertainment. In a world of 80-page instruction booklets and complex game mechanics, Misfits brings a fresh approach to tabletop fun that is purposeful and radically sustainable.

“Misfits is a novel stacking game that revitalizes the classic genre of stacking games. Designed for ages six and above and suitable for two to four players, Misfits offers a refreshing experience with its rule-free, creatively limitless approach. The game stands out for its simplicity and sustainability, providing wholesome entertainment for all generations,“ says Alexander Neumann, Director of aknDesign.

Based in Victoria, BC, Alexander established Misfits in 2023, after the original idea for the stacking game was developed in 2017. Initially launched as a passion project with the support of a few contractors, Alexander saw the potential for Misfits to deliver a delightful and innovative gaming experience across the globe.

Alexander connected with Export Navigator to explore new markets. With Export Navigator’s support, he grew Misfits revenue by $5,000 in additional export sales and reduce operational costs by 10%. This enabled Alexander to invest further into product development and hire more contractors.

Looking for a good fit

It was Misfits’ local success that made Alexander keen to explore the global demand for innovative and sustainable gaming experiences. Targeting regions with a strong affinity for tabletop and family games, Alexander was supported by export advisor, Brady Calancie, who helped identify some of the obstacles they might face in exporting.

“Looking into export opportunities, we immediately recognized several challenges,” Alexander explains. “From identifying and penetrating suitable markets in consideration of local consumer preferences to ensuring compliance with diverse regulatory standards and safety norms.”

Putting it all together

Taking Misfits’ distribution to the next level would require managing complex supply chains, establishing brand recognition in the face of language and cultural barriers, and navigating financial risks associated with entering new markets.

“These challenges required a strategic and informed approach, which was greatly facilitated by our involvement in the Export Navigator program,” says Alexander. “Our export advisor, Brady, provided us with general advice as well as initial help in guiding how to efficiently move our inventory units from our UK warehouse to Canada.”

With Export Navigator’s support, aknDesign is now better equipped to expand Misfits into new markets. “The program has enriched us with crucial market insights and trends, aiding in customizing Misfits for diverse audiences,” Alexander shares. “It allowed us to develop a strategic export plan tailored to our unique product and market needs.”

Exports as a path for growth

Since expanding their exports, particularly in the UK and EU markets, aknDesign has seen a significant uptick in revenue. “Our export sales have contributed an additional $5,000 to our revenue. This increase is primarily due to the strong relationships we’ve built with three UK retailers, which have been instrumental in establishing our presence abroad. Efficient supply chain management and strategic partnerships have enabled us to reduce operational costs by approximately 10%.”

These savings led aknDesign to hire additional contractors to drive product development and sales.

Ready for global expansion

“It’s crucial to assess your readiness, leverage the resources fully, and be open to learning and adapting,” says Alexander. “Networking and compliance are key areas, along with patience and persistence.”

With assistance in market research, information on trade regulations, and tailored guidance for developing robust export strategies, aknDesign is well equipped for the next stage of growth.

“Export Navigator is an invaluable asset for any business looking to broaden its horizons and succeed in global markets,” Alexander says, highlighting how the program offered comprehensive support and resources in the face of export complexity. “I highly recommend joining Export Navigator for businesses aiming to expand into international markets.”

Brady Calancie