Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to George Scott, senior brand manager at SmartLab from The Quarto Group, to find out more.
SmartLab is the only toy-centric ‘imprint’ from a portfolio of 33 brands within The Quarto Group, a leading international publisher of books and intellectual property products. Created in 2004 to offer fun, fact-filled and fictional novelties for kids aged 8-14 years old, and named for one of the founder’s beloved yellow Labradors, the brand still benefits from the knowledge and experience of its original employees, who designed the first ever SmartLab products. There’s 100 years’ experience shared among just a small handful of people, giving the company a rich history and ensuring every toy has both brains and passion behind it.
George Scott, SmartLab’s senior brand manager, has extensive experience in the world of design. For 15 years, he taught college level undergraduates and graduate students while practising as a professional designer.
“All of us want to make science fun,” George explained. “We want kids to have such a good time playing with our kits that they completely forget they’re learning real scientific principles.”
George discussed SmartLab’s approach to ideation, both in terms of new products and existing ranges, which include the company’s best known Squishy range, a tactile and highly sensory assortment of kits that includes Squishy Human Body, The Amazing Squishy Brain and Totally Squishy from Head-to-Toe.
SmartLab’s 2021/22 launches see Tiny Gardening and Tiny Ice Cream joining the Tiny range, with Tiny Circuits launching next and followed by Organic Science Lab. George emphasised the need to find the fun in STEM subjects: “If kids are immersed in their play – baking tiny cakes, planting tiny plants – and at the end of it they’ve also got something to keep, the product is going to increase interest in that category.”
Ultimate Squishy Human Body Lab with SmartScan Technology is this year’s hero launch; the most advanced anatomy kit for kids on the marketplace, and what is expected to be a gamechanger in terms of the SmartLab portfolio.
“We’re a small group of people doing some really fun and amazing things,” George said. “Within Quarto, SmartLab is like a little pirate ship floating on this sea of incredible printed content – we can try different things while enjoying the backing of a vast publishing company.”
To find out more, read the full article, which appeared in the August edition of Toy World here.