Zoe Fraade-Blanar is the Art Leader and Chief Squisher at Squishable, a company that has no limits on how creative they can be. The tech-based team created Squishable in 2007 after realizing that plush was more fascinating than technology. They work in New York City to bring the joy of plush toys and their vibrant personalities to the world.
4 Questions with Zoe
1. How does your team generate new ideas?
A lot of our designs come from crowdsourcing. Before, we used to lock ourselves in a hotel room for a few days to draw them up, post them on Facebook and let our fans give us their feedback. A year and a half ago that all changed; now fans submit their designs and vote to help us pick the best ones for production.
2. Do you have specific rituals for re-setting your team to be creative?
Well, we eat a lot of sugar! But yes, every year we have a big meeting called State of the Squish. We process everything we tested during last year and then brainstorm new ideas before experimenting again.
3. How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to
spot trends and consumer insights?
Our number one place to find ideas is our fanbase of 900,000 Facebook users. Every single person in the company does their time curating the Facebook page to make sure we all have our ear to the ground when it comes to finding out what fans what.
4. Has there ever been an instance where another industry has
influenced an innovation at your company?
We borrow a lot from the tech industry because that was our original background. One of our biggest advantages was actually knowing nothing about toys before we started - it means we can really take the mantra "Fail Often" to heart.