DIY Crafting That's IRL and Insta-Worthy

Excerpt from Article: “ The tween scene is all about “in real life” crafting that’s cool, collectible and ready to share.” - By Pamela Brill

No matter whether your store carries toys or gifts, you know the challenges of catering to the tween demographic. Sometimes, it can feel like trying to sell a toy to any kid older than 8 is like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo.

Blame it on any number of factors: age compression (kids appearing to get older, younger), their constant desire to be digitally connected, fickle buying habits…did we mention too much screen time? It’s enough to make toy buyers and sellers throw their hands up in the air and cry mercy!

And just as important as who is buying the craft kit is who is receiving it; toy designers must tailor their tween selection to a more mature audience. “A tween girl doesn’t want her little sister’s crafts; she wants a much more sophisticated look, something that her little sister would not be interested in,” say Delanie West, vice president of product development, at Faber-Castell USA. “The experience is  ‘graduated’ to more challenging techniques, more steps in the creative process and more of an open-ended feel in the projects to let their creative decisions flourish.”

The CRAFTIVITY Pretty Pendants Aroma Jewelry combines natural fragrance oils with beads to create scented jewelry. $20. Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell USA. Craftivity.com

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Insta-Worthy?

As craft kit manufacturers develop lines for tweens, they must determine what role, if any, the integration of technology will play in design or promotions. For Faber-Castell USA’s Creativity for Kids brand, the company looks to social media for inspiration for its product and packaging, specifically Instagram Top Down positioning that presents a bird’s eye view. “By presenting some product photography using that subtle photography angle, we are speaking to (tweens) in the way they engage with imagery on Instagram,” say West.

Does your creative department REALLY have the tools that they need?

Does your creative department REALLY have the tools that they need?


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When I accepted the position to lead a creative team for a 250-year-old brand, I was shocked to see that the company's designers were using a standard 11'/11'x17 printer for presentations and product mockups.

If you're in the consumer product development business, you'll know this means that to create a product packaging mockup, a designer has to print out a packaging or other layout on several 11'x17' sized tiled sheets, and painstakingly glue them together.

No creative department should have to do this. It presents your product presentations and sales materials in the most pedestrian manner.

One of the first improvements I made was to budget for a #Epson wide format printer, which was a time saver and allowed for the creation of excellent quality mockups, gloss and matte printing. Printing on adhesive paper (eliminating the need for dangerous spray mounting), and saving the business on the cost of super expensive large format printing at Kinkos and print houses. This group could finally present top quality comps.

Are you certain your creative team has the tools they need for your brand to be successful? Have you asked them what they need?

I’m giving you recommendations on the top 3 tools you MUST secure for your creative consumer product art team.

3 MUST haves for all creative consumer product art departments.

#productdevelopment #prototypes #mockups #creativeteams

Product Development Sneak Preview

It’s a good idea to give the entire company a “sneak preview” of what’s in the pipeline. Sharing some images from one of the last product previews that product development presented for the entire company. Lots of Q&A’s, and it gave developers and designers the chance to practice the pitch before any trade shows or engagement video filming.

This is a fantastic way to include employees who may never be this close to the development process.

Team engagement is where it’s at - get the entire company involved in your PD process!

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How to train your brain to be more creative?

A few ways to train your brain to make new connections (creative thinking).

  1. Disrupt Your Schedule Disrupt your normal routine. Pick a week and discover a new route to the office each day, you'll open up your creative capacity.

  2. Do Nothing Make a point to schedule free time to relax and do nothing, under-scheduled minds have time to dream.

  3. Don’t be Afraid to Screw Up Don't be afraid to make mistakes, it activates a most engaging form of learning (creative problem solving) you'll find ways to make other choices that perhaps are more efficient than the tries that were "errors".

  4. Search for New Things Creative people love to forage for new things. They don't like perfect experiences that are curated. Engage in the work of making new connections and discoveries on your own.

Train Your Brain to Be More Creative