Featured Designing Mom: Sandra Oh Lin of Kiwi Crate

by Cat on January 2, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! I’m really looking forward to sharing 2012 with you. For those of you who have reflected on last year and are “resoluting” for this year, I hope by continuing to feature creative and entreprenurial moms it might help to kick start you and your dreams. And for those of us who have been in the biz for a little while longer I hope that Mom Inc Daily will provide kindred support as we continue to revise, reboot and grow our creative businesses and families. To start the new year I wanted to share with you Sandra Oh Lin of Kiwi Crate. Sam at the studio had the chance to sit down and talk with Sandra about her inventive products and how she got her “spark”…

First off, how did you come up with such a brilliant idea? If I were a child I would be thrilled to pull a crate like this out of the mailbox each month.

Kiwi Crate was built out of a passion for hands-on fun that encourages creativity and curiosity in children. I had a deep appreciation for these projects, but often found that my greatest intentions fell short. It was tough to find the time to come up with engaging hands-on activities, let alone get the materials.

So, as I started to develop creative projects with my kids, I thought, “why not share them with friends, who are also busy?” At playdates, the kids had a bunch of fun, and the parents appreciated having all of the materials and inspiration for the projects provided. Several parents mentioned, “I wish I could do this at home with my kids!”

Kiwi Crate was created to fulfill that wish and to celebrate kids’ natural creativity and curiosity. We want to make it fun, easy, and delightful to spend time building, exploring and creating together. Since its inception, the Kiwi Crate team has grown. We’ve added creative parents who dream up the projects, valued experts who review them, and a community of kid testers who keeps us on our toes and ensures the projects are fun and engaging.

We love working on Kiwi Crate and cherish the involvement that our kids and friends have in bringing the product to life. We’re excited about the opportunity to help provide these types of experiences for your family to share too.

How many projects appear in each crate? Have you designed multiple projects per box so that siblings can build and play together?

There are 2-3 projects, which may include art, crafts, science, or imaginative play.  We provide a generous amount of materials for one child. So many, but not all, of our projects can accommodate two children. Or, you can take advantage of our sibling add-on where we include extra materials for a sibling to share. Our customers call it the “no fight” crate.

What are your design principles? Or, what key elements do you follow in preparing a new crate each month? What remains consistent? What differs?

Our design principles can be found here: http://www.kiwicrate.com/design-principles/.

How do you insure that the content of each crate is relevant for various ages?

By following our design process (http://www.kiwicrate.com/designing-crate/), we ensure that the projects are age and developmentally appropriate.  Our advisory board of child development experts review the projects.  Additionally, we do extensive testing with kids.  They come into our “kid testing center” in our offices.  We also ship projects to kids to try at home before we finalize them.

How do you utilize social media to showcase your work? Have you had to train yourself to be both Facebook and Twitter savvy?

We leverage social media to encourage a dialogue with our community and to share simple and effective activities to do with kids.  We love getting photos of kids’ creations via Twitter (twitter.com/kiwicrate) and Facebook (facebook.com/kiwicrate).  We publish original content, like posts on our blog (blog.kiwicrate.com), and curate existing content across these channels.  Plus, we love Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/kiwicrate)!

How big is your team? Do you ever pull from the outside community of moms or childcare development professionals for more ideas?

We have 6 people on our team.  Plus, we have a design team of parents along with our advisory board of child development experts who help develop the projects in our crates.

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