1976

Company founded as Creative Art Activities, Inc. by Phyllis Brody and Evelyn Greenwald. Working with kids in schools, museums, and other settings, the two women become convinced that all children are naturally creative and will benefit from experiences that stimulate and encourage creativity. They decide to start a company to offer these opportunities to children everywhere.

Phyllis and Evelyn (left) Partners in Creativity

1977

Cutting up feather dusters and stuffing little bags with them, funneling paint into tiny plastic cups and calling it “Super Paint,” collecting scrap wood from a local lumber yard, the first products are assembled in the basement and dining rooms of Phyllis and Evelyn’s homes. Family and friends do assembly, shipping, bookkeeping, sales, and other functions.

1978

Introduction of the now famous “burlap bags” at the American International Toy Fair in NYC. Located in the furthest, darkest corner of the Sheraton Hotel, specialty retailers discovered the bags and became the first customers for Wood, Fabric and Puppet Art Bags.

Phyllis and Evelyn (left) attending their first International Toy Fair Trade Show in 1978
Puppet Creative Art Bag ®

1979

Ahead of its time, Creativity for Kids defines a new category!

Playthings Magazine defines “Creative Activities” as a new product category in order to find a place for these unique, original kits. Creative Art Activities, Inc. was the pioneer and the only company listed under this category. Now, dozens of others have joined the bandwagon.

1980

Company begins to use the name “Creativity for Kids.”

Phyllis and Evelyn move to what seems like a huge, 1000 sq. ft. space a few blocks from their homes. They wonder if they will ever need all that room. There were 12 skus in the line.

1981

First Sales Rep group covers the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic states. Other Sales Reps are added to make up the best sales team in the industry.

National mail order catalogs begin to list Creativity for Kids products.

1987

Word of mouth spread and consumers began asking for Creativity for Kids in specialty toy stores.

“Let’s Pretend” series expands to include Restaurant, School, Office, and Theater kits.

Company outgrows space and moves to East 23rd Street in downtown Cleveland with a staff of 6 employees. Most assembly of products is now done in sheltered workshops who bestow “Company of the Year Award” of excellence on Creativity for Kids.

Gross and Yucky Monster kit introduced, starting a trend of whimsical kit titles. This brought the line to 38 skus.

Museum stores such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chicago Art Institute and many others discovered Creativity for Kids and the customer base grew to 2000!

1988

Lively new Creativity for Kids logo developed.

Paraphernalia for Pretending receives awards for being “non-sexist, non-racist and non-ageist: it challenges intelligence and imagination and is just plain fun.”

1991

Mission statement developed.

Preferred Customer program launched.

The product line expanded and included: a hands-on science series, Create Your Own Books, needlecraft kits, doll and jewelry making, World of Kids international friendship series, Creature Creating, Looking’ Good with the amazingly popular Jazzy Daffy Caps, and…the all-time favorite Let’s Pretend Fairy Princess.

1992

Creativity for Kids moves to Central Avenue in Cleveland.

1802 Central Avenue Cleveland, Ohio USA

Yellow Band is placed on all packaging featuring the Creativity for Kids logo, the “founders” icon of Phyllis and Evelyn, and introduced a new way to display the recommended age range (9 to 99). This gives the line a unified look and creates a strong, identifiable brand statement.

Yellow band.jpg Creativity for Kids The Brand with the Yellow Band

Creativity for Kids products are now sold in every state of the US and in Canada.

1993

Graphic Design brought in-house and computerized. Innovative packaging – now industry standard – places images on all sides of the box, with large photos of assorted samples to convey personalization and possibilities.

Selected as a “Company of Tomorrow” by the Council of Smaller Enterprises, in recognition of a women-owned business making forward thinking products for children.

Party kits and Art Series added to product mix.

Evelyn (left) and Phyllis In their adjoining offices at the Central Avenue Location

1994

“EDI Innovation Award” given for innovative products in the forefront of ideas for kids.

Disney license launched.

“Jewelry Foolery” series of mini-kits for ‘tweens, Stained Glass and Beautiful Barnyard Ballerinas become best sellers.

Beautiful Barnyard Ballerinas

1995

Prestigious awards from Parent’s Choice, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Family Fun.

Ballerina Jewelry Box, Amigo Bands, Beeswax Candles and 3 Treasure Trinket Boxes are introduced and become instant successes.

Ambitious new “Learning by Doing” library series includes Finding the Way and Stories Bones Tell.

1996

Celebrating 20 years!! Phyllis and Evelyn along with the staff host a GROOVY 70’s theme party for Sales Reps, Retailers, Family and Friends. Guests were encouraged to think retro and dress in their favorite 1978 attire commemorating the year Phyllis and Evelyn attended their first Toy Fair Trade Show.

Staff “getting groovy” preparing for the big party

Corporate Citizenship Award from President Clinton, presented to entire workforce of over 70 employees by Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich during his memorable visit to Creativity for Kids headquarters.

ASTRA Attractor Award received at Toy Fair.

A record of 23 new kits introduced, including Wee Enchanted Garden, Pre-school series, Rainforest, and Baby Dino Buddies.

1997

Creativity for Kids becomes the first specialty toy manufacturer to have a website.

1998

A unique new product series introduced that is a collaboration between two family-owned Cleveland companies Creativity for Kids and Bonne Bell. Smackers “Make Your Own” license launched.

1999

Creativity for Kids Acquired by Faber-Castell. Count Anton von Faber-Castell is drawn to the company because of its mission statement. Cleveland joins the world-wide organization and becomes US headquarters for Faber-Castell USA as the entire Creativity for Kids team transitions to new ownership.

Received “Northcoast 99 Award” for top Northern Ohio employer.

Zany Brainy, Noodle Kidoodle and Speciatly Retailer Top Toys of 1999 awards.

Magnetivity kits introduced.

Phyllis showing Magnetivity Kits to a retail partner at the International Toy Fair in New York

2000

USA launch of Faber-Castell Premium Children’s Art Products.

First International Creativity Pow Wows bring Faber-Castell product and marketing managers from around the world to Cleveland.

First Global Sales Meeting introduces international sales distributors to the products and philosophy of Creativity for Kids.

2001

The brand goes global! Creativity for Kids expands international distribution to include Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Latin and Central America. Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Scandinavia and more of Europe, plus Lebanon, South Africa and other countries prepare to launch.

2002

Madeline license joins the line with 6 new products.

Dr. Seuss license added.

Ceramic painting series extended along with category of Room Décor products.

New mini Creativity Kits designed.

Mini Creativity Kits

2003

Jamie Gallagher becomes new CEO.

Company relocates to newer, efficient facility in the Valley View area of Cleveland with a modern distribution warehouse of 88,200 square feet.

9450 Allen Drive Valley View, Ohio USA
New location ribbon cutting celebration Pictured from left to right - Jamie Gallagher CEO, Evelyn Greenwald, Count von Faber-Castell, Phyllis Brody and Don Fischer CFO

Dr. Seuss Make Silly Hats receives Scholastic Parent and Child Best Toy award.

Butterfly Bedroom sets the style for a new group of pink and glittery décor kits.

2004

It’s My Life Scrapbook kit received the 2003 Toy of the Year award from Toy Industry Association.

Pictured from left to right - Jamie Gallagher CEO, Mary Kezele Director of Product Development and Phyllis Brody Chief Creative Officer

Evelyn Greenwald retires and Phyllis continues as head of the Creativity Center.

Received 2004 Award of Excellence for Best Retailer Customer Service from Learning Express.

Groovy Girls license added.

2005

Working with Asian manufacturing partners enables the development of products that contain unique, specifically designed components that expand creative experiences.

Best Girl Toy Award received from Learning Express for Butterfly Canopy.

2006

30 Years!!

Big Creativity Box retailer training program is introduced. As a result, received 2006 Retailer Excellence Award for Store Support from Learning Express.

The Big Creativity Box

2007

Creativity for Kids re-launches website.

Foam Craft Workshop and Designed By You Fashion Studio take the toy world by storm! More to come…

Shrinky Dinks Friends, Fashion and Fun

Creativity for Kids teams up with genuine Shrinky Dinks® to create complete activity sets that include Faber-Castell® Colored EcoPencils, Shrinky Dinks® film and an awesome array of ideas and accessories.  Color, back and watch 'em shrink!

 

Parents Magazine selects Designed by You Fashion Studio as a Best Toy of the year.

2008

Creativity for Kids introduces "Creativity for Little Kids" designed to delight the youngest of crafters and start them down the path to creative discovery.

Drift Cars Street Team kit is awarded Best Toy of 2008 by Parents Magazine.

Do Art Travel wins the National Parenting Seal of Approval and Dr. Toy 10 Best Creative Products and 100 Best Children's Products.

Make Your Own Sock Puppets

2009

Create Your Own Pop-Up Books receives the Best Toy for Kids Award from ASTRA, The American Specialty Toy Retailer Association and also a Specialty TOTY - Toy of the Year award from the Toy Industry Association, Inc. 

Coloring & ARTivity Books arrive!  Their original designs created by artists with enriching activities and fun facts, this line is billed as the "The Most Creative Coloring Books, Ever"!

2010

Phyllis Brody, Co-founder of Creativity for Kids receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASTRA - The American Specialty Toy Retailer Association

Wind-Up Workshop Robots, Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse and Dainty Desserts Petite & Sweet Trinket Boxes are selected as winners by Disney's FamilyFun Toy of the Year (T.O.Y.)!  

Good Housekeeping Magazine selects Wind-Up Workshop Robots as a Best Toy of the year.
ASTRA Lifetime Achievement Award

2011

2011 is a milestone year!  Creativity for Kids Celebrates its 35th year in business while Faber-Castell celebrates its 250th Anniversary!
Faber-Castell - 250th Anniversary
Make Your Own Kaleidoscope is featured on NBC's Today show during the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio segment.

Creativity for Kids Shrinky Dinks® Deluxe is a finalist for the 2011 Toy Industry Association (TOTY) Toy of the Year Award.

Creativity for Kids Shrinky Dinks® Fairy Garden wins Best Toy For Kids award from ASTRA, The American Specialty Toy Retailer Association

Recycled Cardboard Zoo earns the Dr. Toy Best Green Product award.
Recycled Cardboard Zoo
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