Crowdfunding spotlights innovations ripe for parent support

Crowdfunding is giving parents the chance to put their money where the ideas are, to produce the toys and entertainment they want for their kids. Products such as "Lammily" – the 'average Barbie' – and the popular GoldieBlox building sets are examples of crowdfunding at work.

This photo provided by GoldieBlox shows Goldie Blox and the Dunk Tank, a building kit, and assembled toy. Goldie, her dog Nacho, and her friends encounter situations they must solve by building simple machines. The GoldieBlox kits are aimed at young girls, teaching early engineering concepts. The GoldieBlox brand first got its start through a Kickstarter.com campaign.  GoldieBlox/AP

This photo provided by GoldieBlox shows Goldie Blox and the Dunk Tank, a building kit, and assembled toy. Goldie, her dog Nacho, and her friends encounter situations they must solve by building simple machines. The GoldieBlox kits are aimed at young girls, teaching early engineering concepts. The GoldieBlox brand first got its start through a Kickstarter.com campaign. GoldieBlox/AP

Lisa Suhay | March 11, 2014 CS Monitor – In less than a week since launching his crowdfunding campaign, Nickolay Lamm has raised 407 percent of his original $95,000 goal to create “Lammily,” an “average Barbie” built to look like teens today. His campaign shows the shift of marketing power back into the hands of parents, who can fund the toys and products they want to see for their kids.

It seems to me that consumers have given toy makers a time out, with a warning that if they don’t put on their listening ears when it comes to the kinds of toys we want for our kids, we will take them to school on how to do it to higher parental standards.

Parents and others showed support for a realistically proportioned Barbie alternative on store shelves by funding Lammily with the staggering sum reached in just over two days.

This morning, Mr. Lamm told me he’d learned a powerful lesson from his crowdfunding experience that he hopes parents will share with their kids.

“If you have a great idea, you don’t need anyone but yourself and a good video to be successful,” Lamm said. “Crowdfunding is revolutionary.”

Devin Thorpe, founder of the Your Mark on the World Center and Forbes contributor, agrees with Lamm.

“While I’m not ready to declare it a trend yet, many crowdfunding sites are developing that kind of political message when it comes to funding projects,” Mr. Thorpe says in a phone interview from his home in Utah.

“Every site has a little bit of a culture, a personality, when it comes to the kinds of projects that succeed,” Thorpe says.

One such site he mentioned as being totally family-friendly is Givted.com, which allows family and friends to come together to give a gift to someone they know.

“I used it when my dad turned 80 so everyone could get together and give something instead of an ugly tie he didn’t want anyway,” says Thorpe.

The two exceptions to the “personality” rule, according to Thorpe, are Indigogo and Fund Anything.

Conversely, Thorpe admits Kickstarter does seem to have a family-friendly lean to it these days, as evidenced by many of the toys successfully funded there.

One example of this is GoldieBlox, which was funded through Kickstarter in 2012. The small company, which creates building kits targeted at introducing girls to engineering and science pursuits, has grown to receive international attention, thanks to a Super Bowl ad slot awarded to the small business by accounting software company Intuit.

read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/Modern-Parenthood/2014/0311/Crowdfunding-spotlights-innovations-ripe-for-parent-support

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