In this brand spotlight feature, we speak to the enterprising Ms Carrie Chan, founder of KYDZ International, a company that is all about toys for every age.
How long has KYDZ International been in the market?
Together with my husband, Gary Seow, we started the business back in 2005 so it’s been 12 years now.
What motivated you to launch KYDZ?
At that time, we were working in the corporate world and we decided that perhaps it’s time to do something for ourselves, running our own show. At the same time, we had two very young kids and they were taught something specific like literacy and phonics in preschool, hence we started searching for toys in these areas. But to our disappointment, we couldn’t find any one-stop shops that stocked unique educational toys. Instead we had to turn to online stores such as Amazon and many other UK websites.
Thus the idea struck us that perhaps there was a gap that we could fill, we should go into business and sell all the toys under one roof. This is why we founded Kydz International, a distributor and maker of educational toys for young children.
Currently we stock about 3000 different items, everything that a preschool would need. These would include products for every “corner” e.g. dramatic corner, literacy corner, sports corner etc. We have both indoor and outdoor toys and even though we started with toys for preschools and kindergartens, we now also cater to special needs schools and primary schools.
From 2011 onwards, we expanded to include toys, exercise equipments, cognitive games for the elderly. For the elderly segment, we ae careful to ensure our toys are user-centric. For example, bigger font size for text, darker colours for visibility etc.
Your company is no longer selling toys for kids, would the name KYDZ be a misnomer?
Well there’s a kid in us for every age! Actually we have another separate brand for the elderly segment, it is called CARE which stands for Creative Aids & Resources for the Elderly. While for the brand KYDZ, it was a play on the word “Kids”.
Share with us what is unique about KYDZ and CARE.
For KYDZ brand, first and foremost, we are kid-centric. The children have always been our focus, and we continue to strive to bring in educational toys that are unique, age appropriate and safe, creating playtime that is meaningful and to create developmental opportunities whenever possible.
To understand what our children need, we listen closely to our customers for feedback; we work with principals, occupational therapists, teachers and observe the children at play. In the early years, we work with overseas designers who specialise in designing toys for schools but increasingly we are designing the toys ourselves based on learning theory and educational research. This ensure that serve our customers better and cater to their unique culture and needs.
Let me share an example of taking a cultural perspective; a picture card showing breakfast or lunch would usually feature spaghetti or hot dog but we would illustrate something that we want our children to identify with, such as dumplings or curry puffs.
For CARE brand, what we do is we work directly with quite a number of geriatric departments of local hospitals. We collaborate closely with the nurses and occupational therapists not only to source the relevant toys but designing toys that are elder friendly.
What is your vision for your brand KYDZ and CARE?
We would definitely like our toys to be enjoyed globally. Our vision can be summarised as “Played globally. Designed locally”. We would want our toys to be both educational and entertaining, catering to every age.
What CSR programmes does the company embark on?
We having been supporting Metta Welfare Association’s annual charity run for the last 7 years. We participated in their fun fair where sales proceeds from the fun fair goes towards good cause. Overseas in countries like Myanmar, Philippines and India, we support a few schools donating our toys to disadvantaged children.
What are the plans for growing your brands?
We have been consistent in developing new designs and expanding our products overseas to grow our business. Currently we represent many western brands and we hope that one day, the reversal is true, they would see great value in our toys and carry our brands too!
What is coming up in the year of two we should watch out for?
In April this year, we launched an activity book designed specially for the elderly. The activity book covers a wide range of activities such as Dot to Dot, Colouring, Tracing, Number Search, Word Search and Spot-the-Difference. It is designed with heart-warming, local, nostalgic illustrations that our seniors can identify with. The idea is to create an activity book that helps to promote the use of fine motor and cognitive skills, stimulate the memory and also helps to encourage decision making in the process. Sales has been positive and we are working on Volume 2!
On another note, I may want to do a KZ2 line, a different brand and products for the youth market such as IT related games. We want to keep pace with the market and as our users are also growing up, we similarly want to develop toys to accompany their growing years. This is why our corporate tagline is Toys That Celebrate All Ages !
Maybe we can even go into fashion such as accessories as design is our core DNA!
website – http://www.kydzedu.com