My beautiful and dear friend, Katherine, in addition to being an incredible jewelry designer, seasoned bourbon drinker, and just all-around fun lady, is an innovative and progressive designer with an acute interest in and passion for attractive and sustainable spaces and forms. She challenges herself, and others, to approach their natural and material environments with thought, foresight for the future and effective re-purposing, and sensitivity and integrity for the origin of innate beauty. Katherine has worked on a variety of fascinating projects, ranging in focus from climate change campaigning and interior design journalism; the past year or so, she has been freelancing for an exciting and, until now, confidential initiative, GoldieBlox.
Those other toy brands have attempted, unsuccessfully, to penetrate the young girl market, essentially simply altering the colors of their original products. Those other toy brands did not work to understand the developmental differential between boys and girls, the nuances in learning, the element of narrative so critical to engage curious young girls. In these superficial endeavors by these stalwart toy brands, toys were merely tinted pink and purple, and when products did not sell, even this was abandoned. Debbie, Katherine, and their colleagues, rather, performed extensive research, secondary as well as primary market and product research; they are not simply penetrating a new audience, they are creating and designing for their audience. They are their audience, a bit older and a bit wiser, and perhaps a bit bitter that for them, such toy options were simply not available.
As a woman who loves science, studied science academically and continues to pursue intellectual interests in various scientific fields of study, and who is clearly disappointed at the staggering reality that most young girls in my country stop being interested in science and technology sometime in middle school, I cannot commend this project enough. Vividly, I remember playing Legos with my father, building large expansive cities, bizarre mansions, towering skyscrapers. Sometimes, our projects would topple, crash, shatter, and my father would explain to me why, the importance of foundation, the importance of support for different types of structure. He was an engineer. I remember with equal fondness playing with Barbie dolls with my friends, interested not so much in her material accessories and clothing, rather in the opportunity to construct a character, a fantasy. To tell her story. GoldieBlox elegantly integrates these two facets from my own childhood that I loved so much: problem solving and stories. Unsurprisingly, these continue to be the strongest thrusts in both my professional and my personal pursuits. I am fortunate that I maintained this inquisitive attitude without a set of toys like GoldieBlox, but, I can say with confidence, that I wish I had the opportunity to learn with Goldie and her friends.
Like so many entrepreneurs, Debbie and the team are utilizing Kickstarter to help garner financial and general support to make the first production order; after many ideas, sketches, and prototypes, the GoldieBlox team is ready to get moving. If you have a few moments free, please read about this important and exciting and fun project. If you have a few dollars free, please contribute, knowing that you are helping young girls realize that they can be so much more than some pink princess, waiting on her prince.
(image taken from Kickstarter)