The empirical experience of being a parent of both a boy and a girl gives me an on-going insight into how they are developing as people, what aspects of their identity are shaped by their sex, and those elements of themselves that are influenced by their wider context. Needless to say it’s not black and white – or should I say blue and pink? As a girl who was once a confirmed tomboy, who worked in a female-dominated profession for male-managed organisations, who then became both mother and father to said children I believe I’ve had a fair degree of experience and influence myself, which I hope makes me a more rounded parent. So, when either of my children hear phrases that use sex as derogatory, they know how to respond. Just the other day a male friend described himself as a ‘big girl’ to which my daughter rightly replied, ‘girl is a compliment’.
In the early days of BoxHead Craft I gave zero thought to such issues in relation to the product and the brand. My son loved Minecraft, he wanted to dress up as his hero Notch (who invented the game) and no one was producing a blank box that kids could decorate. It was as simple as that. But now BoxHead Craft has gone from an initial idea to a bigger business I am giving serious thought to these matters. The events we attend are generally tech-inspired and as such tend to attract more boys than girls, and more dads than other events I’ve taken my own kids to as a parent.
When they see our BoxHeads and T shirts all the children instantly get what it is, most are desperate to create one of their own, and the parents who are with them enjoy sitting down with their kids doing something everyone understands.
So, because of the audience of the events we do, the majority of our customers are boys. The next stage for us as a business is to get into retail. We’d love to be on the shelves of the major supermarkets, big gaming retailers and crafting shops. But a rudimentary look at the stock on the shelves in the supermarkets presents the kids crafting as a mainly feminine pursuit. Fairies, unicorns and princesses dominate the crafting section; pink permeates most of the packaging and the glare of the glitter repels boys back to the gaming aisle! And the trend persists online with online retailer giant Amazon’s top-selling craft sets being aimed at traditional girls. Of course fairies, unicorns and princesses may well appeal to boys too, but I think most parents would agree most boys would not be interested.
Yet crafting is an essential part of child development. Improved motor skills, enhanced creativity and time away from tech are just three of the benefits all parents of tech-obsessed boys would like their offspring to enjoy. I have become increasingly proud of our BoxHeads because they appeal to boys and fill that gap in the kids’ crafts marketplace which simply should not be there. So if you’re a buyer and you can see the cube-shaped void on your craft shelf perhaps it’s time you filled it with a BoxHead!