- Tell us something about yourself, your background
For the past twenty-years, I have been the CEO of Me First! Design Group, a New Jersey-based industrial design firm specialized in toy design, apparel, pet and consumer products. My journey to becoming an award-winning toy designer began in the halls of Yeshivah of Flatbush, before earning a B.I.D. in Industrial Design from the prestigious, Pratt Institute of Design in Brooklyn. I am based on the Jersey Shore and the mother of 3 children.
I have a well-earned reputation for being one of the best out-of-the-box designers, and problem solvers in my industry. I have also become a frequent guest on industry podcasts focusing on both design, and the complicated business of selling and having products released into the marketplace. As a freelancer, I have learned the hard way that not everyone delivers on their contractual obligations or pays their bills and have become an advocate for fellow designers who struggle when dealing with bad clients.
- Tell us about the product/s you invented with a brief explanation
Over the past two decades, I have created more than 700 toys, apparel designs, and consumer products for some of the leading brands in my industry: including Tomy/Lamaze, Toys ‘R Us, Cubcoats, Kids2, Mary Meyer, Dibzy, Alex Toys, Ohio Art, Early Years/Epoch Everlasting, Aqua Leisure, Crown Crafts, Gund, Summer Infant, and Sassy. My products have earned over 40 awards from leading industry organizations and publications.
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
My parents collected antique toys and I was always fascinated with how things function. As a child, I had access to a lot of unique products from different eras and I worked with my father to figure out the mechanisms and learned a lot. The toys were very simple yet provided hours of entertainment to little kids. Today – kids are bombarded with so much media and technology and my designs have always aimed to push kids the other way. I love putting a modern twist on classic toys. Sometimes it’s all about the basics.
- How do you get from idea to finished product?
The first thing I do is to compile a comprehensive research deck. I usually look for where there is a need. The white spaces that can be filled by an innovative product. I begin to sketch out ideas and attempt to come up with as many variations as possible. I present the concepts to my client in order to get important feedback. The process is to then refine the concept and once approved, add additional details and specifications. I usually work with a sample maker to redline the drawings and finalize the concept.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e., Books, websites, software etc
I am proficient with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and have used both for almost 20 years. I also use iMovie to make product videos for sales presentations. It is my weekly practice to visit stores for both inspiration and to look at what the competition is offering.
- Where are you with your products?
I was recently involved in the product development of a patented plush toy that turns into apparel for a start-up in California called Cubcoats. I have worked on licensed products for many years, but it was the first time I was able to work on Star Wars, Marvel, D.C., and Nickelodeon characters.
The products turned out amazingly well and it was very satisfying to see Hollywood actors like Chris Pratt from the MCU movies tell the world that my Spider-Man product was his son’s favourite toy on Instagram.
I am working on new educational products for clients in the United States, a beverage concept for a client in Europe, new plush designs for customers in New York, and accessories for clients in Asia.
My products are available on Amazon, and from specialty toy stores.
- Website: Click HERE
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