With many summer camps closed and children stuck at home for an extended period of time, parents are quickly running out of fun and educational ways to keep their kids entertained. KiwiCo, the brand on a mission to “build the next generation of innovators and makers through hands-on projects” is helping to solve this problem.
According to Founder Sandra Oh Lin, KiwiCo’s goal is to “encourage kids to be creative problem solvers.” The company provides professionally designed kits (called “crates”) and projects to children at home in subjects ranging from science and engineering to arts and culture. An example of one such crate is a wooden ukulele, where children are provided with all of the materials to build a fully functional ukulele while learning about the science of music and the history of the instrument.
The market tracking firm NDP Group reported that in late March, total toy sales grew by 26%, board games and puzzle sales grew by 228%, and building set sales, which most of KiwiCo’s products fall under, grew by 76%. From March to Mid-July of this year, KiwiCo’s new subscriber acquisition increased by 250% compared to the same time frame in 2019, and sales of individual crates are also up 650% year over year. Of all the at-home craft kits, KiwiCo has seen its greatest increase in sales for the “Kiwi Crate” (ages 5-8).
Oh Lin described how KiwiCo was able to quickly pivot to help its net new client base: “Our sweet spot is keeping kids engaged while they are learning from home.” And, just after schools began moving online, KiwiCo launched a free database featuring resources including tips about learning for parents from teachers, DIY science activities, and kid-friendly answers to questions about Covid-19.
What has helped make KiwiCo such a success? The employee-of-the-month product testers: her own children. “What do children need in order to become successful adults?” Oh Lin asked. “Problem solving skills and confidence. That is what I want not only for my children, but for all children.”