Embracing the recent “maker” trend that promotes creative DIY projects, RoseArt recently announced the launch of their newest creative line “CharMinis” which will be releasing a “Deluxe Jewelry Studio” in the Fall of 2017. Geared towardgirls between 8 and 10 years old, the jewelry studio set will encourage users to make and share charms that can be worn on bracelets, necklaces and more. The charms can be created in a range of colors and themes such as desserts and fashion icons. Niall Westerfield is the Senior Designer of Arts & Stationery at MEGA Brands America who previously worked in animation and was happy to discuss his latest design, “CharMinis.”
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: How did you get interested in designing toys?
Niall Westerfield (NW): My interest in designing toys came from my love of playing with toys! One of my first jobs was working at the Disneyland Toy Store and it was there that I became inspired to create something that would bring so much happiness to kids.
MM: How did you get the idea for CharMinis?
NW: One of my co-worker’s kids came into the office one day and we asked her to play with a special PVA material we were working with. We are always looking for new ways to make jewelry and when she said that she wanted to create a mini figure she could wear, the idea of molded charms came to mind. That idea turned into CharMinis!
MM: Why did you select that name?
NW: We wanted the name to easily express what the product actually is while also being easy to read, say and remember: CharMinis! The name literally stands for Mini Charms.
MM: How, exactly, do CharMinis work?
NW: The pieces fuse together with ONLY water. Girls select the pieces they want touse to build their charm, brush the pieceswith water and then stack them together. Instantly they fuse together. No glue is needed, only water. From there, you attach the jump ring, add some glitter with the glitterizer and then create your jewelry!
MM: What was the process of bringing the item to market like?
NW: It is always exciting seeing the product go from concept to an actual production piece. There are always obstacles when designing new toys but it makes it all worth it when you see it on shelf.
MM: What kinds of themes can be found in the jewelry design kit? Are you planning to expand these themes at all?
NW: We currently offer three different charm themes in the line: sweet treats, fashion icons and animal charms. For spring, we will be expanding on the charm-making fun with all new themes! Stay tuned to CharMinis.com for all future news!
MM: What kinds of jewelry and accessories have you seen children make with this item?
NW: Girls love to customize their things so it is always fun to see what they come up with. We mostly see bracelets and necklaces, which is why we include cord in our kits but we can’t wait to see the other ways girls will display their charms once it is in stores this fall.
MM: How many items have you designed overall? Do you have a favorite? Has one sold particularly well?
NW: I have designed over 100 different kinds of products from stationery to toys. My favorite has to be Spin & Sparkle Pet Makerwhich launched last fall. It was fun coming up with all of the characters and their stories and launching something that had so many play patterns. Girls can make, play, display AND collect these little pets. Another line that I enjoyed working on was Lightastic. At the time of development and launch, it was a whole new kind of activity kit with LED lights that made kids’ creations glow. This did particularly well for us.
MM: What’s the best thing about working in the toy industry?
NW: The best thing is being able to work with a team that consistently has topersevere through design challenges and of course, being able to PLAY! More importantly, being able to create something that will inspire creativity and bring happiness to kids is very rewarding.
MM: What’s next for CharMinis?
NW: We are excited for the future of CharMinis. You can expect new themes, new ways to create and display charms and new ways to wear charms! Stay tuned!
MM: Are you currently working on anything else that you would like to discuss?
NW: I am wrapping up design work on our MeMoji line which you will also see in stores this year. I enjoyed working on this because the Emoji trend is everywhere but now girls can apply it to their jewelry and other wearables!
MM: What are you goals for the future?
NW: I am always striving to create activities that inspire and encourage creativity in kids but a major goal is to create the next Toy of Year!
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