Member Profile: Yamie Chess

Yamie Chess

 

Company Name & Location:
Yamie Chess Ltd. Las Vegas, Nevada

Number of US based employees:
10+ AND our partners at EPI Printers, Inc (where Yamie Chess is domestically manufactured in Michigan) who employ over 400 people + in Michigan and Indiana. Yamie Chess works with a U.S. chess champion and math /science advisors who come from the following universities: Princeton, MIT, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, Vanderbilt, University of Louisville, University of Arizona and Caltech.

Years in Business:
(Incorporated in Nevada in November 2012.) We are officially launching for K-8 math education simultaneously at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on 16th February 2014 and the NSSEA Ed EXPO in Dallas, TX in March 2014.

Family-Owned/Employee-Owned/Publicly Held:
Employee-Owned

Principal line of business:
K-8 educational math learning aids and educational animation for STEM learning. Yamie Chess Ltd’s goal is to get K-8 students across America equipped for math learning through classic chess, so that by age 13, most elementary and middle schoolers will have a realistic prospect of a math related career at college, i.e. math, physics, chemistry, computer science or engineering.

Social Media information:
Pre-launch website: https://www.yamiechess.com  (Official website is launching in October/November 2013)

http://www.facebook.com/yamiechess
http://www.twitter.com/yamiechess
https://plus.google.com/112570117711554971255/posts

Why does American Made Matter to you? 
Yamie Chess Ltd is an American business; and as corporate citizens we feel a strong responsibility and commitment to the community. The democracy and freedom of our way of life as Americans depends in a very real way on a thriving economy and investment in our country’s resources and the next generation of companies following our lead to invest in America on every level. Keeping jobs at home, domestic manufacturing and the passion and hard work of the people who make up the backbone of our country – the unsung heroes who go to work every day and build America from the grassroots – this is what makes America great – their participation in our society of which we all share the benefits is what makes our way of life possible. It is a no brainer that Yamie Chess MUST be manufactured in America – we love America too much and although it has been challenging, we have found a way to profitably manufacture domestically by partnering with EPI Printers Inc, an ISO 9001:2008 manufacturer in Michigan who has been in business since 1959:  http://www.epiinc.com/about-epi.aspx

What values drive your business decisions?
Education, innovation and the exciting possibility of getting a generation of kids across America into math, and taking up math careers. Yamie Chess is an investment in education. If Yamie Chess can succeed on our educational mission over the next 10 years and make the class of 2025 the most employable students to ever graduate the American public school system, we stand the chance of raising U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $1 trillion dollars in income per year, evidenced by figures released in Harvard University’s Kennedy School report of August 2011, “Globally Challenged: Are U. S. Students Ready to Compete?

Has your company won any awards recently?
Yes, Yamie Chess Ltd’s first debut animation, King Tigermore In Strawberry Fields, which is shown on our pre-launch website (https://www.yamiechess.com), designed purely to introduce our cartoon chess characters to children, has won the Canada International Film Festival’s Royal Reel Award in Animation, won the Honolulu Film Award’s Aloha Accolade in animation and won official selection to over 50+ major US film festivals including the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, Coca-Cola’s Beverly Hills Film Festival, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Gasparilla Film Festival in Tampa, and the 22nd Arizona International Film Festival which is a grant recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars!) and sponsored by the University of Arizona and NBC Comcast. Yamie Chess was one of only 4 children’s productions to win selection to the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City (Fear No Film Kids Age 3 and Up) sponsored by Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Chrysler and Verizon. The full list of the international and national awards (including judges’ panel statements) will be published on the Yamie Chess website at https://www.yamiechess.com/animation in the next 2 months when our official website launches.

What advice would you give to a start-up business that plans to manufacture/source/etc. in the USA?
We don’t like giving advice because we don’t want to be seen as telling anyone what to do (especially as we haven’t launched yet!) however, a suggestion we’ve found agreement on with other start-ups looking to move forward with U.S. manufacturing is to do tons of research like Yamie Chess has done and be broad thinking in looking for an established and reputable American manufacturing partner to team up with, even if you have to look to other states, and even if what you’re looking to produce isn’t your intended partner’s core business.

For example, Yamie Chess is in Nevada, and we found EPI Printers (who are based in Michigan and Indiana) because they handle the entire offset printing workload of the University of Michigan’s academic faculty (they didn’t make educational math products before!) – so we reached out to our midwest colleagues, and they liked what we were doing, and together we agreed to partner to produce Yamie Chess’s range of math learning aids that will launch in six months time at New York Toy Fair 2014. With EPI Printers Inc’s help, Yamie Chess will supplement math and science education across America through classic chess, being useful for not just for classroom work in school, but also America’s homeschooling community.

How are you using the AMM logo on products, website or marketing materials? 
Used on the official website, first math learning aid product, press releases, marketing materials at Toy Fair, National Education Association in Denver, National Science Teachers Association in Boston, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in New Orleans, San Diego Comic Con, Ed Expo in Dallas, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association in Phoenix, Arizona, National Association for the Education of Young Children in Atlanta.

What are the benefits for your company of manufacturing in the USA?
When we compare the ease of doing business in America and the technical excellence of U.S. craftsmanship with product engineering against the HUGE costs of importing, international shipping and the serious risks, dangers and legal complexities of dealing with Far Eastern countries like China and Taiwan (particularly in the educational toy industry where child safety is a massive concern), before we even get round to the patriotic aspects which are substantial, it makes no economic sense for a new U.S. small business like Yamie Chess Ltd to be dealing with outside the USA from a manufacturing standpoint.

How do you balance US and foreign manufacturing for your company?

  • 98% of materials for Yamie Chess are sourced from heartland America, with our ISO-9001:2008 certified American manufacturing partner, EPI Printers Inc. Yamie Chess is physically manufactured in Battle Creek, Michigan, in an FSC® Chain-of-custody (CoC) certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (EPI is under the organizational brand “EPI Marketing Services” (FSC License Code: FSC-C022187), and EPI operates a number of ecologically friendly practices.
  • All Yamie Chess®’s chipboard is made from at least 40% recycled material, so Yamie Chess®’s educational chessboard, box and packaging is green and from sourced entirely on American soil!
  • The Yamie Chess® K-8 math comic only uses officially FSC® certified paper and print production from American forests.
  • All scrap paper created during Yamie Chess®’s manufacturing is recycled inside America.
  • All scrap plastic created during Yamie Chess®’s manufacturing is recycled inside America.
  • Yamie Chess® uses vegetable-based American inks.
  • Our American manufacturing partner, EPI Printer Inc’s FSC® Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certificate is based on the company being able to account for and track all wood fibers that are used in the different production stages of the Yamie Chess® manufacturing process from the forest to the mill, to the paper and finally to the finished Yamie Chess® sets made in Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • In terms of fair labor practices, both Yamie Chess Ltd and our partners EPI Printers Inc’s employees are fairly compensated, full-time employees who have complete family health care available.

Do you have any future expansion plans?
Yes, as well as bringing out the rest in the K-8 math series of physical learning aids that are Made in America for supplementary math and STEM education; Yamie Chess will also be doing an animation series for K-8 math education, as well as doing video math games and mobile apps based on our classic chess characters (who all correspond to the classic chessmen on the board) – Yamie Chess’s education work aims to raise standards and improve learning outcomes for math education in the classroom, supporting STEM learning with math hinged on a classic chess framework. Yamie Chess will also be launching an after-school club program for supplementary math education that will run in U.S. elementary and middle schools.

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