(Source - Jan - Mar 2014 I www.icaf.org)
Phyllis Brody - Creativity for Kids Co-founder
The Creativity for Kids Brand name says it all. Bringing our products to market involves creativity, problem-solving and a lot more. The process is a mixture of blue sky dreaming, hands-on experimentation, cool-headed calculations and logistics. It doesn't go in a straight line but zigzags in a way that leads to innovative, open-ended, creative expression toys which eventually land in the hands of happy children.
Our creative team develops about fifty new products every year, all designed to offer enjoyable, creative and imagination-filled adventures for children from preschool through teen-age years. Create jewelry, room decorations and puppets. Decorate vehicles, dolls and fashion items. Construct with wood, paper and fabric. Paint a window scene, a tea set or a dish garden. The possibilities are endless- and who knows? If you learn origami today, you may become a future architect. Experimenting and concocting cosmetics could lead to a career as a chemist, fashion designer or chef.
Everything begins with Idea Generation. Our ideas come from many sources such as discovering a cool new material or technique, watching a child playing or a "eureka" moment. An idea may spring from remembering something the developer did as a child. For example, our Shrink Fun kits have roots that go back over thirty years to when today's generation of parents first marveled at the way the special plastic shrunk to one sixth of its size before their very eyes. By adding craft materials and printed paper elements, children can now use their shrink fun figures to create miniature pet shops, fashion design studios, monster labs, fairy gardens and more.
Our product developers and designers are very creative and they bring a wealth of experiences as artists, graphic designers, parents and teachers. Twice a year we generate about a hundred ideas in our creative brainstorming sessions. Only the best ones become products introduced at the International Toy Fair in New York City in February or for holiday sales in early fall.
The Creativity for Kids team experiments and plays around with materials, putting them together to see how they work. We make samples and prototypes, learn from mistakes and try again. Often new uses are discovered for familiar objects and this can open a new direction in product innovation.
Our product developers think like kids, imagining how you will use, enjoy and benefit from the product. The details really matter. What kind of cord is needed to string the beads? Will this paint stick to the plastic? At what age will a child enjoy and be able to do the activity? Will it appeal to boys and girls? Above all, is it fun?
Every product has a "champion" - a team member who believes passionately and works to overcome any challenges that may arise in developing the product or toy. Others on the team collaborate by questioning and suggesting novel ways to perfect and package the product.
Throughout the development process our team must consider how and where the product will be sold and whether the combination of concept, packaging and price will make this attractive to the purchaser. Would this toy be bought as a birthday gift? Would this activity be ideal to do at a party? Does the package tell the story through the images and the copy on the box?
Branding comes into play too. Creativity for Kids products can be distinguished from other craft items by the brand identity - a yellow band and lively logo on each box. Each package has a unique graphic appearance related to the theme of the activity inside the box. The recommended age is clearly stated and it's easy to see what's included and to understand what you will be able to do with the materials.
The instructions and Ideas booklets included with every product are a major feature. Some kids, and their parents want guidance for skill-based activities and find the illustrated, step-by-step directions very useful.
Before a product leaves our warehouse it undergoes a rigorous testing process in independent laboratories to guarantee that everything is safe, non-toxic and age appropriate.
Valuable customer feed-back leads back to the first step of "Idea Generation". Though the Internet and snail mail, children and parents write to tell us about what they like and make suggestions which can become part of the ideas for new Creativity for Kids products. We are always very gratified to know that a product has encouraged someone's natural creativity.