The Creativity for Kids Timeline
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.
Evelyn and Phyllis, Partners in Creativity
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.
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.
Evelyn and Phyllis attending their first International Toy Fair Trade Show in 1978
Puppet Creative Art Bag®
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
Creativity for Kids moves to Central Avenue in Cleveland.
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.
Creativity for Kids products are now sold in every state of the US and in Canada.
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 (right) in their adjoining offices at the Central Avenue location
“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.
Prestigious awards from Parent’s Choice, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Family Fun.
Ballerina Jewelry Box, Amigo Bands, Beeswax Candles and 3 Treasure Trinket Boxesare introduced and become instant successes.
Ambitious new “Learning by Doing” library series includes Finding the Way and Stories Bones Tell.
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.
Creativity for Kids becomes the first specialty toy manufacturer to have a website.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Hatsreceives Scholastic Parent and Child Best Toy award.
Butterfly Bedroomsets the style for a new group of pink and glittery décor kits.
It’s My Life Scrapbookkit 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.
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.
Big Creativity Box retailer training program is introduced. As a result, received 2006 Retailer Excellence Award for Store Support from Learning Express.
Creativity for Kids re-launches website.
Foam Craft Workshop and Designed By You Fashion Studio take the toy world by storm!
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.
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.
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"!
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.
2011 is a milestone year! Creativity for Kids Celebrates its 35th year in business while Faber-Castell celebrates its 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.