Start Building Young — Marissa Louie's Animoodles

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Script and Narration by Charis Poon
Audio by Elphick Wo
Illustrations provided by Animoodles
Photos by Megan Bayley

Script and Narration by Charis Poon
Audio by Elphick Wo
Illustrations provided by Animoodles
Photos by Megan Bayley

Marissa Louie, the founder of Animoodles, wanted to create a stuffed animal that children would love to keep and collect. She wanted to make a toy that children could continue to discover new joy in. Animoodles are magnetic mix and make plushies that look like regular plushies but are actually composed of six body parts with hidden magnets inside them. The mix and make nature of Animoodles as plushies that can be reassembled in hundreds of combinations makes it a toy that is safe for younger children before they might begin playing with hard-edged building blocks.

Different from the average teddy bear, an Animoodle naturally introduces the ideas of free exploratory play and imaginative play at an early age. Animoodles also come with stories about the individual characters which encourages children to engage in storytelling. At its core, the idea of diversity leading to strength is built into the product itself, because all of the Animoodles are compatible with each other and they lend each other their unique abilities. Marissa has brought to life a product that will inspire curiosity in children and a new world that they will find worthy of exploration.

The Animoodles campaign is currently live on Kickstarter through Nov 29, 2017, and after that can be found at theanimoodles.com.

<p>The Animoodles office is filled with sketches, fabric samples and prototypes charting the process of designing the Animoodles over the past two years.</p>
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The Animoodles office is filled with sketches, fabric samples and prototypes charting the process of designing the Animoodles over the past two years.

It’s really a design system of compatible parts. That means that the stuffed animal looks like a normal stuffed animal when it’s sitting there, when it’s assembled just out-of-the-box, but kids discover ‘Oh wow, the head comes off! The arms come off, the legs come off, the body can come off! What more can I do with it?’

— Marissa Louie, CEO and chief designer of Animoodles, on the thinking behind the product

<p>The six currently available Animoodles already allow for hundreds of different combinations.</p>
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The six currently available Animoodles already allow for hundreds of different combinations.

Animoodles are designed to be more fun the more you have. And that was always one of my frustrations with a lot of stuffed animals, there was never a compelling reason to collect more. So we combined the idea of stuffed animals with building blocks.
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— Marissa Louie on one of the key things that makes Animoodles fun

 

<p>An illustration of the complexity scale used to find the right look for the Animoodles.</p>
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An illustration of the complexity scale used to find the right look for the Animoodles.

That keeps me going. That keeps the creative fire burning. There’s a never-ending list of challenges and new ways to learn.
<p>The Animoodles were play-tested in five major cities in America with fifty different children.</p>
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The Animoodles were play-tested in five major cities in America with fifty different children.

— Marissa Louie speaks about how Animoodles satisfies her creatively

 

<p>Randy Orangutan, Hazel Sloth, Miguel Frog, and Brady Lion from the Wild Jungle Collection.</p>
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Randy Orangutan, Hazel Sloth, Miguel Frog, and Brady Lion from the Wild Jungle Collection.

<p>Reconfigurable magnet diagram indicating the position of an additional magnet leading to new configurations.</p>
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Reconfigurable magnet diagram indicating the position of an additional magnet leading to new configurations.

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I’m constantly reassessing based on customer feedback, based on market reception, based on also just what makes my team happy and what makes them fulfilled.

— Marissa Louie on what motivates her

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