It all began with my overuse of emojis. I’d started using them ironically because emojis and text speak were for 20 somethings and that ship has long since sailed. I used the catchphrase ‘coolio iglesias’ ironically for a while, too – but then I couldn’t stop. Anyway, one day in mid-June 2019 I caught myself using like ten crying with laughter faces after texting an only mildly amusing joke to a pal… ‘I was down the beach the other day and I heard a man screaming “HEEEELP, SHARK HEEEELP” I just laughed, I knew that shark wasn’t going to help him’. TBF that joke’s probably worth like 5 crying with laughter emojis, but it got me thinking – are emojis in any way representative of actual human emotions? And, could I even make any of those faces? BOOM! Totes Emosh was conceived.
A little over a month later we had our first prototype and were testing it on our families. It seemed like a winner with the kids, so we updated the design, ordered a load of packs, and set up a site and a bunch of social media channels. We launched around October and only a few weeks later, an email popped up from a Sarah from Firecracker Films in Glasgow. She wanted to pitch the game to the BBC with a view to it being featured on The Customer is Always Right, where “Britain’s best entrepreneurs put their precious products to the customer test”. The Beeb loved it, obvs, and the wheels were in motion.
A camera crew came to film the backstory at my mate Biju’s place – my gaff is a studio the size of a postage stamp. I was nervous as hell, but luckily Biju suggested a beer pre/during filming and that was all I needed to loosen my tongue. We talked Totes Emosh from conception to launch, then I played a cheeky game with Biju and his kid, Abheek. It was actually totes good fun and I felt like a pretty big deal getting my fifteen minutes.
A few weeks later, and it was up at 4am to fly up to Glasgow to film in the studio with Lucy Alexander (Homes Under the Hammer) and the other contestants. None of us had any idea what the others’ products were or what “the customers” had said about them. I don’t know about the other guys, but I was bricking it – luckily, I’d squeezed in a quick beer at my hotel, so I was keeping it together.
First up, we watched the customers unbox and critique Exosuit a kind of stability-giving, posture-supporting training top (very high tech). Then it was on to Lustre a blue light treatment for serious acne (very, very high tech). I was bricking it again, these guys had some seriously impressive products, and I had… a game of cards. D’oh!
Anyway, I got through it and, once I got over the nerves, actually had one of the best days of my life. The other inventors/entrepreneurs were top chaps and Lucy made us all feel pretty comfortable… Unfortunately that’s as much as I can tell you about what happened without giving away spoilers.
To find out who was crowned champion of The Customer is Always Right, tune into BBC1 on 7th May at 3.45. It’s gonna be Totes Emosh!