- Tell us something about yourself, your background:
Like many entrepreneurs, I have travelled a very windy road to come to the place that I find myself today. I have learned to follow my interests and have worn many different hats. Trained as a Fine Artist, I have a passion for figurative sculpture. For over 12 years I’ve applied those skills working in the toy industry running my own sculpting business. My work has helped create and innovate for many household brand names. (Star Wars, My Little Pony, Marvel, GI Joe, Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly and Play-Doh to name a few.)
In addition, I collaborate with Hands House Studio to recreate lost historical objects. One of our crowning achievements was to recreate the Gwoździec Synagogue for The Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The original synagogue was a 17th century wooden structure that didn’t survive past WW2. I served as the artistic director in accurately recreating the ornate paintings that adorn the interior of this interactive installation. One of the unique ways we ensured authenticity was use only the same tools and materials that were available when it was originally built.
I am also an educator, serving as an adjunct faculty member for Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I teach a variety of classes in the 3D department. One notable class was called Toys for Elephants. We worked with the Buttonwood Zoo in New Bedford, MA and their 2 elderly elephants that have no chance of being rehabilitated back into the wild. The students designed and built enrichment objects to help facilitate mental and physical stimulation for these majestic creatures.
- Can you list your ventures with a brief explanation of each
Play-Doh Builder – This is an invention of mine and produced by Hasbro. Think of it as origami for Play-Doh. (And a special thank you to the team over at Hasbro. They have been wonderful to work with).
I also have a unique Children’s picture book in the works. Feel free to reach out if you have a publishing connections.
- How/Why did you start as an entrepreneur? What set you off?
I don’t know if I ever intentionally chose to be an entrepreneur, I think it grew out of a necessity. At my core I like to create and problem solve, it’s what drew me to art. Artists don’t fit neatly into society, a lot of their abilities and observations come from the fact that they aren’t a typical puzzle piece. The same is true of Entrepreneurs. It takes real out of the box thinking to make it work. A lot of my artistic problem-solving skills translate nicely into the entrepreneurial/inventor world.
I have what I like to call butterfly syndrome. I float from one idea to the next like a butterfly looking for nectar in a field of flowers. I go wherever way my interests blow me and if I land on something sweet then I’ll hang out for a while. If not, then move on to find another flower. It’s unpredictable and fun but not a lifestyle that fits a conventional career.
Although I’ve been running my own toy sculpting business for over a decade the pivotal entrepreneurial moment for me took place 3 years ago. I was well established but my business was wholly dedicated to making other peoples’ visions become a reality. After having a perspective shift with the birth of my first child, I realized I was long overdue to begin manifesting my own concepts into existence. Believing in myself with greater conviction was an investment that paid off. My first successful invention hit the market in summer 2020 as an entire product line. I was awarded Hasbro’s 2020 inventor impact award and nominated for a TAGIE award for this invention.
- Tell us a bit more about your innovation:
Play-Doh Builder (produced by Hasbro) – This is a new innovation on a 65 year old product. It takes a rigid technical play pattern and combines it with the forgiving freeform of Play-Doh for a wonderful marriage that all can enjoy.
I had a vision to create an easily accessible system where children could create fantastical sculptures. The concept is quite simple. Each kit comes with plastic molds that form the Play-Doh into precise shapes. This special shape is fairly flat but can fold up to create a 3D object. This simple concept has an endless amount of possibilities. So far Hasbro has released 10 different items (2 entertainment licenses) since it hit the market in the second half of 2020. And keep your eyes peeled for more to come.
- Video: Click HERE
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