It’s Jessie here, Design Manager at EI. I wear many hats at my job, but what I look forward to most is helping design our award-winning toys. And since I became a mom just last year, I take special pride in creating toys that my daughter will soon enjoy.
Our Design & Drill® line has always been a favorite among preschoolers and their parents. Last year, we decided to create a version designed specifically to appeal to little girls.We wanted to go beyond a simple color change, to create a toy with “girl appeal” through and through.
Brent Geppert, our Design & Drill Product Manager, had created a sculpture of a flower-shaped drill bit that I absolutely loved. In fact, I was so inspired by that one little bit that I ended up creating a complete, flower-themed version of the toy!
First, I turned the traditionally-square Design & Drill base into a flower shape with a large center and enough holes to drill beautiful patterns. Keeping the design symmetrical was important, so that the toy could fold into a handy storage and carrying case. An adorable butterfly clasp seemed like the perfect closure.
Everyone loved the design, but I knew we could do more to make this the perfect construction-meets-creativity toy for girls. The team thought about how we could push the design further by adding jewels or stickers… but nothing felt quite special enough. We eventually landed on creating “designer plates” that could be drilled into the board, and I went to work illustrating six shapes that would add the perfect touch to any girl’s creation.
Once we were sure we’d maxed out our flower power potential, we sent 2D designs to our factory so they could create 3D files and renderings. Brent and I reviewed them and made lots of tiny changes until everything was perfect.
The first sample we see from our factory is called a “hand sample” and it’s always exciting to receive! Brent and I tested all the parts and pieces of the hand-made Flower Power Studio sample, made some final changes, and gave the factory the go-ahead to make a “first shot”. We use our “first shots” to review colors, textures, finish, and functionality of our toys before they go into production.
Of all the toys I’ve worked on, Design & Drill Flower Power Studio is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a great example of the excellent results that happen when a creative product developer, Brent, and a passionate designer, me!, put their heads together. When it won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and was featured on TV and in magazines everywhere, Brent and I gave each other a high-five and said “that’s OUR Flower Power Studio!”