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Building a new preschool play pattern

Innovative is not necessarily a word that comes to mind when describing the humble crayon. However, Montreal, Canada-based Wooky Entertainment is doing its best to change that perception with an entirely new entry in the coloring implement market.
January 12, 2011

Innovative is not necessarily a word that comes to mind when describing the humble crayon. However, Montreal, Canada-based Wooky Entertainment is doing its best to change that perception with an entirely new entry in the coloring implement market.

The Block Crayon is a hybrid building block/crayon that combines two basics of preschool play. And Wooky’s hoping that retailers and customers alike will see its simple appeal.

‘It joins two of preschoolers’ most popular activities,’ says Caroline Desmarais-Girard, marketing coordinator for Wooky Entertainment. ‘It brings coloring and building together. It really helps preschoolers develop dexterity and creativity.’

While distribution of The Block Crayon is currently limited to speciality stores in North America, including six Diamond’s Hallmark stores in New York City and online specialty retailer Lillian Vernon, Desmarias-Girard says the company is looking to seal more mass-market distribution deals this year.

Currently, the crayons are available in packs of seven, 12 and 20, retailing for between US$5.99 and US$16.99 apiece. Wooky has also developed a themed playset with a farm motif (US$24.99). The crayons can be stored in the farmhouse-shaped box that also includes a roll of printed coloring paper featuring the shapes of typical farm animals. Wooky has plans to build upon this concept with further offerings in the coming quarters.

On the marketing front, Wooky is relying on word-of-mouth initially, but is also working on a 30-second TV spot and promotional material for in-store use.

Meanwhile, signing licenses to drum up awareness isn’t on Wooky’s radar just yet. ‘I can see how licensing might be a good fit in the future,’ says Desmarais-Girard. ‘But right now we are concentrating on getting the product out in front of consumers.’

The reaction from retailers and buyers at last fall’s Dallas Toy Preview was positive and the three-year-old company is looking to the product as a way of carving out a chunk of the preschool arts & craft market to augment its tween girl business.

‘We have gotten a really good reaction from this,’ says Desmarais-Girard. ‘The retailers keep telling us that it has been awhile since they have seen a new basic craft.’

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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