Recent Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduates, Maeve Jopson and Cynthia Poon caught the entrepreneurial bug during a school project senior year and in their own words, it’s been a wild ride ever since. After graduation, they dove head first into developing their product, the O-Rings, a full body sensory toy that is designed for all kids to play with and learn from regardless of abilities, age or gender. Since winning the “Ready for Crowdfunding” category at our Product Pitch event this past March, they’ve been busy preparing for their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.We are proud to share that after months of hard work, their campaign is LIVE and there are only a few weeks left to support them.
Please help us to support O-Rings during these last few weeks and read through a recent conversation to learn more about the duo and then watch their video. Want to support Increment Studios and their product, O-Rings on Indiegogo? Donate here.
What is Increment Studios and O-Rings?
Increment creates sensory play things to encourage independence and exploration among all kids regardless of age, ability or gender. The O-Rings are a full body sensory toy and each of the rings is a different color, size, texture, and filling designed for engaged tactile play.
Give us a quick background on how you got the idea for O-Rings.
We were both industrial design majors at RISD and took a class senior year called “Design for Entrepreneurship”. In this class, we began our research into toys and tools that are accessible for children with disabilities. This exploration lead to our collaborative degree project, in which we worked with Meeting Street School, a leading institution for inclusive learning, where kids with and without disabilities learn together. This is the core of inclusive education, and our mission for inclusive play. During the project, we visited a school where we met a young girl named Megan. She is blind and has several muscle and motor impairments. Her parents and teachers told us that Megan doesn’t like to play with many toys and there are no toys that make it easy for her to play with friends. So we set out to design a toy that was focused on open-ended play, something she could enjoy on her own and with friends, whether or not they were disabled. O-Rings is what we created and were amazed at the results. Megan was able to first use the O-Rings as a chair and this dramatically helped her posture and motor skills. At home, her mother used them to position the rings around her body and she sat inside them like a tube. The O-Rings help to stimulate her muscles and give her strong seating support. She opened up her posture and rocked back and forth on her own to music. She was also able to use them with friends. It was a wonderful sight to see Megan playing with them but also how happy her family, teachers and therapists were at the sight of this milestone.
What has the experience of entrepreneurship been like so far?
It’s been a strange, unpredictable road to say the least. We didn’t have a business background but we saw our design knowledge as an interesting angle on entrepreneurship. We were able to look at everything with a blank slate and craft our own design of the business. We’re learning as we go and always anxious to learn more.
How is your company and product unique?
Our company focuses on the ability to bring all kids together regardless of age, ability or gender. We feel this is an important feature for both education and society. We may not be able to change the education system, but we believe we can help make the toy industry more inclusive by creating toys that allow all kids to play together. So many toys right now are isolating and focused on technology and apps. The increase in technological innovation is a wonderful thing, but it can be isolating for children with disabilities. We want to encourage social play and teamwork so that children build interpersonal skills too. We want to see more toys made that focus on human interaction where kids can learn to be more creative using their physical and intellectual abilities.
What will you use the funds raised on Indiegogo for?
We plan to use the $30,000 for an initial production run and get 150 sets of O-Rings ready for market.
Want to help Increment Studios and their product, O-Rings on Indiegogo? Donate here.