A former Wycombe Squash club manager is celebrating an international deal for a board game he launched after a family holiday with his children.
Shaun Delaney, 58, has just sold his game ‘Jask’ to a distributor in New Zealand and is set to ship 1,500 copies of the game to Christchurch.
It’s a huge step for a man who since selling his first game in 2011, has gone on to see his product stocked in hundreds of shops around the UK, and after securing his first overseas contract the entrepreneur is quickly looking to secure further sales abroad:
He said: “I am absolutely thrilled that it appears to have caught on in New Zealand. I am also discussing a deal at the moment in Holland and Belgium so it is really exciting to realise that I might now be capturing an international market.”
Shaun describes ‘Jask’ as a merger between Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit or Snakes and Ladders based on general knowledge. When a player lands on a letter, they have to name as many words as they can that begin with that letter, these can be anything from capital cities to words that sound the same but are spelt differently.
Shaun, a former manager HighWycombe Squash Club at Booker, has revealed how he invented the game to entertain his three young daughters whilst on a family holiday to Cornwall 15 years ago:
He said: “I’d brought chess and draughts along, but they weren’t interested, so I came up with a game which was both fun and educational to play.
“It started out as a few markings on a piece of cardboard and my kids absolutely loved it.”
Jask, which normally retails at £25, is now sold in the likes of Hamleys, John Lewis, Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks and Waterstones, and Shaun estimates that more than 400 shops sell it nationwide, including 140 independents as well as the chains such as Waterstones.
The game has also made its way into Westminster, after Aylesbury MP David Lidington presented a copy to Prime minister David Cameron.
Shaun has revealed that he took the name for the game from a source closer to home, with the initials of his three daughters Justine, Abby and Kerry, plus his own initial S combining to give the games title.
Despite having left the security of a permanent job in order to concentrate on the game, Shaun couldn’t be happier:
He said: “I am really pleased with the way things have gone and the reaction from the public has been fantastically positive - although it’s a bit scary that I don’t have the safety net of getting money from a normal job.
“But I know I have got everything in place to provide me with more than a good living. I have invested thousands of pounds of my own money and, at the moment, I am keeping my head above water.”
Jask is now produced at a factory in China at a much cheaper rate, enabling Shaun to get a better profit margin. However, he aims to campaign for better deals for British businesses to keep their costs down, and has already been in contact with the Government over the issue.
“It’s fantastic that I have managed to break into the overseas market now,” he added. “I really believe in my game and think it’s going to be the next big thing.”