Now that we have a topic area we should make use of it
I was wondering how many people who come to this thread are toy designers versus infant products designers? Is there any reason to discuss them seperately?
I ask because I have been and still do a little infant product design. I always felt kind of seperated from the toy designers. To me, personally, the market and corporate mentality are complete different between the two. To generalize I have always seen the market perception to be “Toys are the big sales at Christmas and infant products bring in the money during the rest of the year”.
Quick background of where I worked:
- Right out of school I worked for the US branch of Tommee Tippee, UK.
- I worked for Gerber designing International and some domestic (US) product.
- I was the Product Development Manager for Evenflo’s feeding line.
- I worked as a consultant with Evenflo, Gerber, ABC Development, Danara, and several Asian manufacturers (China and Thailand).
- I have a patenet for a pacifier and nipple that work like the human breast that I am selling the right to manufacture to a European company.
I have never worked or been asked to work in the Toy industry.
Seems to me you’re right.
I work in the ‘nursery’ product industry and I see absolutely NO crossover with the toy market.
However, if you know whereabouts Norfolk is in England, you probably wouldn’t be surprised!
I see from your post in the colour thread that you were fed up with primaries and pastels - I’m lucky in that respect, as I have got other people to do the ‘colouring in’, but it seems on the whole to be a very restrictive market to work in - wether just by the nature of its possibilities, or the conservativeness of the customers, I don’t know…
dont work in either. but see big difference in them. mainly in perception of Liability. Infant Products sounds (probly is) more serious. consumers also probly make more serious purchase decisions. better informed. my guess. true?
In my past experience (and many focus groups) you are half true:
There are many more tests that a product has to pass in the 0-3 year old category.
In furniture parents probably do some research but in the feeding area they go home with the infant and then realize “I have to feed this, and right now”. When discussing packaging concepts the scenario I always give is: What will get a frazzled father’s attention at 2am in the morning?
“I have to feed this, and right now” - funny. can imagine this happening. like babies being described as aliens.
There is a definate distinction between juvenile products and toys- a lot of products that seem to be toys are put in the juvenile product aisle- which i find frustrating as i try coming up with toy concepts at my job, only to find out they are not appropriate for my company’s marketing plan.
Honestly, though, I don’t believe it would be too difficult to go between the categories during your career. A lot of the big companies do both, and most smaller companies would be willing to look at any portfolio in a field similar or related to the one they are in. There is certainly a lot put into juvenile products that can be applied to toys, in terms of styling and assembly.
I’ve worked in both areas, but mostly do Toy Design.
I see the Juvenile Product stuff as way more challenging. It’s so much more involved: safety concerns, “grow with me” features, and you’re always asked to find a new angle whether it’s a new product configuration, patentable mechanism, etc. While you stil plenty of those concerns in toys, the products are generally simpler, more fun, and more fantasy based. Plus the toy development process is much faster than JP, which I personally prefer.
I think even though I’ve done a ton of toy work, there would be a HUGE learning curve to move into the JP category. On the other hand, it would be less of a learning curve than if I was coming from computer design or something.