About this project
Hello my name is Alyson Beaton and I'm a designer of toys, books and activity kits that encourage kids' creativity and imagination. Based in Chicago, I'm asking for your help in funding this Kickstarter project to launch a new product line called Lille Huset. Your pledge will put this eco friendly, modular dollhouse into production immediately and into the hands of kids everywhere (but your hands first)!
*By backing this product you are supporting manufacturing in the USA.
In order to get this project going the Kickstarter amount will fund the initial costs of the dies, printing, laser cutting, boxes and materials for producing the first run of 1000 doll houses and 2000 extra little houses (but if I get more backers, I'll make more houses). The initial run makes up the bulk of the production cost, because of the upfront cost of the dies. This manufacturing process requires that I produce at least 1000 in quantity. Your pledge will allow me to get the ball rolling, start making & selling and putting my whole team of people to work!
With your support, I will also take these little houses to the New York International Gift Fair & Playtime NYC in August where we will have the opportunity to meet hundreds of buyers and get them into the stores that already want them.
The idea for Lille Huset
The idea came a few years ago when my daughter was turning 7, I wanted to get her a doll house that would fit her age (and I am a very picky consumer). When I went looking for one I saw a gap in the market between wooden and plastic doll houses (for little kids) and high end "grown up" doll houses, which seemed to be more like houses kids are not supposed to touch. I started by studying designs that I love, the Eames House of Cards (large version) and the Richard Scarry town (a vintage toy) that has modular pieces that can be put together, played with and put away. I love how these products inspire imagination and creation each time they are played with.
Being a designer of kids activity kits and books (you can see it all at www.growbookspress.com), I wanted to design a better doll house that would inspire creativity, be inspired by urban neighborhoods, be beautifully crafted, packed flat for portability, and that all kids could enjoy and love. Having worked with paper extensively, and having made models all through architecture school, I got on my laser cutter at work and made the first prototype for my daughter's birthday a year and a half ago. Since then I have made lots of prototypes, tested the market and had kids explore and play with these doll houses, arriving at the design that I am showcasing here.
My storyI have been a professional designer for over 15 years—as well as a mom and an Assistant Professor of Design (where my research has focused on combining eco-friendly manufacturing practices with branding & design for kids).
In addition to teaching, I love working on design projects that combine handmade and sustainable printing practices with local artists, ideas and inspiration. Such as my hand-printed First Word Cards and Grow: An environmentally Friendly Book, published by Featherproof Books. Based on the success of these projects, I decided to launch a new design company to create interactive (in the old school sense of the word) design activities for kids. Grow Studio is a collective of creative people (artists, writers & craftsmen) I have had the pleasure of working with over the past 10 years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and now at Columbia College Chicago.
What are they made from:
- The walls are made from recycled materials: paperboard (a hard material that is stiff and durable enough to take some abuse, but light enough to be portable). It’s an ideal material for attaching kid-inspired wallpapers, paintings, coloring or “decorations.” Charles Eames also thought this material was ideal-he used it for his toy house.
- The front of the houses are made from Birch Plywood. Each piece is laser cut (according to its individual design) at a model shop once an order is placed.
- All the paper laminated onto the paperboard is printed on recycled papers using veggie inks which are carcinogenic-free.
- We use my letterpress shop to make all of the tags for the houses, which we print by hand..
- The bags that hold the extra little houses are made of muslin and produced here in Chicago.
- The carrying cases are made from recycled and recyclable corrugated cardboard with a twill handle for easy transportation.
And everything is done right here in my sweet hometown—Chicago.
The story of Lille Huset
Lille huset is inspired by a little house in Logan Square, a little neighborhood in a big city. This little house has lived in the city for a long time, over 100 years. The family that built lille huset was a Norwegian family who came to this neighborhood to start a new life. Today a modern family lives in this house and loves it very much. They are taking time to make it a new modern home so it can live for 100 more years.
You can have your very own lille huset to preserve the tradition of design in your home too. Choose from 6 different designs, made especially for you to design, play with, and make your own stories!
The lille huset kit includes: Your house, instructions, carrying case, and a DIY design book so your little designer can take notes, create some of the designs in the book and spend hours playing. The recycled paperboard pieces come with paper laminated to the walls, some with designs already on them and the others with a subtle white pattern, perfect for drawing on directly.
$10 backer gift, which can not be overlooked! I appreciate any amount you would like to pledge. See below for photos of the bikes:
$15 backer gift: Choose one of the extra small doll houses below plus a bike.
$20 Backer gift: the two extra little house pictured above
the extra little houses measure: 6 inches tall x 6 inches long x 4 inches wide
$30 backer gift: Lille city kit
$55 Backer gift:
Lille Huset Doll house kit (this is a super duper great deal for all who pledge at this level, These houses will be $65 retail after the kickstarter so you get them for $45 (since the shipping will be $10).
Lille Huset kit- 6 designs available shown above
House styles from left to right: Langley, Doro, Logan, Lille shop, Isidor and Chelsea, you can also see them at http://growbookspress.myshopify.com/collections/mini-houses
to choose your design.
The houses measure 18" tall x 18" long x 10 inches wide.
$75 Backer gift: Lille birthday party
Lille Birthday Party kit: is a really fun birthday party theme. It is an activity and party favor all in one. Each house comes in an individual muslin bag and 10 write on invitations and envelopes. This is a set of 10 extra little houses, 10 invitations and envelopes.
All gifts above this level include a combination of the above pictured. You get more stuff the more you pledge!
Finally we are here
After a year and a half of working on the line and having had so much support from my interns, friends, family and colleagues, I am so excited to be at this phase, there has been a lot of prototyping, trials, web site building, social networking, events and amazingly fun photo shoots (thank you to all of my lovely models-seriously you are all so CUTE!). I am finally ready to get these houses into production, with your support, so lots of kids can start making & playing with them.
All shipping in the USA is free, but if you are in Europe please add $15 to your pledge for a lille huset large house and or lille city.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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