New York City-based Techno Source is hoping to innovate the arts and crafts category with its patent-pending Printies. The new customizable plaything debuting at Toy Fair offers children an easy way to design and produce their very own plush without a high price tag, a waiting period or the creative constraints associated with some of the DIY plush already on the market.
‘We have the technology embedded in two areas,’ explains Ginny McCormick, interactive director at Techno Source. ‘One is in the Printies sheet that you purchase and put through your ink jet printer, and the other is online where kids can design and customize their plush.’
Each Printies starter kit includes access to the MyPrinties.com online design studio, five pattern sheets, stuffing material, a stuffing tool, four stands, sticker sheets and two key chain clips.
‘We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm for the concept,’ says McCormick. The new tech twist on an established product and play pattern, coupled with the online tie-in, she adds, has generated excitement amongst Techno Source’s retail buyers.
A key factor in the product’s rosy outlook is the relative ease of use. The plush can be fully designed online, eliminating the need to download or install computer software and can be printed on Printies’ fabric sheets via any inkjet printer. While inkjet printer household penetration numbers in the US are hard to pin down, the worldwide personal printer business is worth US$130 billion, indicating that inkjets are a enough of a household fixture to make the product viable.
Aimed primarily at four- to eight-year-olds, McCormick says the product also has potential licensors lining up. ‘There is a lot of interest,’ she says. ‘Virtual world communities are always looking for ways to get their avatars off the screen and into the real world. So this is an immediate fit.’
As well, McCormick sees the technology broadening the traditional girl-skewing category to include boys, who will likely jump at the chance to create their own monster or superhero plush, bolstering the number of suitable retail outlets for the mass-market product.