What Happens When Two Dads Go On A Playdate
Who knew that a playdate between two JCC Chicago preschool classmates would be the beginning of a burgeoning toy company?
That’s what happened when Tyler and Reed and their fathers met at Flick Park in April of 2019. Their moms (both named Lauren and both nurses!) already had a lunch date planned and were anxious to have the families meet. Their dads, Steve Rosen and Aaron Singer, watched the boys play as Aaron started sharing a new idea that he had with Steve. Aaron has been in a family business specializing in document security and printing, while Steve had been a producer, creating and working on licensed slot machines for thirteen years. The opportunity to share family values became the hallmark of what would become a highly successful partnership. Before they knew it, they found themselves in a conversation that lasted long into lunch.
Aaron had a vision to start a new company, now called CreateOn, that used his proprietary printing technology to print photos on Magna-Tiles. Steve came at it from a different angle, having worked with brands such as Monopoly, Willy Wonka, and James Bond. His idea was to create a line of licensed products in the same vein as LEGO by adding Star Wars, Batman, and Barbie to their already immensely popular basic bricks. He went home that night and put all of his ideas down in an email to Aaron and the rest was history.
In May of 2019, both dads attended a licensing show in Las Vegas and immediately had an “ah-ha moment” when they quickly secured two deals. From there, they worked late into each night sharing ideas. Aaron focused on creating these amazing Magna-Tile builds–a school bus, a schoolhouse, a rocket ship and all the Eric Carle story characters that children love. Steve actively pursued potential licensors. “I haven’t felt that energized in my career…I was just so passionate about what we were doing,” stated Steve. “Our wives kept wondering where we would go for hours on end and the two of us would just walk around Glenview visualizing and discussing what builds to do next and how big we could grow this thing,” said Aaron.
In November, Steve and Aaron joined Magna-Tile founders at the NAEYC Convention to launch CreateOn’s Magna-Tiles Structures line. All their hard work was put on display for this select audience and the dads knew they had a hit on their hands. “Early Childhood educators related story after story about how they loved the Magna-Tiles already, and then to add the Eric Carle stories to them was a fabulous addition. It truly was a natural fit,” said Steve.
If it hadn’t been for the JCC Chicago ‘Z’ Frank Apachi preschooler’s friendship, these two men would not have been able to create what they feel is an opportunity to put their product into the hands of children for STEAM learning, therapeutic manipulatives and of course, just plain fun! These fathers have their children at the forefront of every idea, and it is evident in the creation and execution of the style and theme of the products.
CreateOn’s The World of Eric Carle products arrived in 500 Target stores on March 1 and they are now working with Sesame Street. And with the launch of MyMagnaTiles.com, customers can print their own favorite photos on Magna-Tiles. Lauren Singer and Lauren Rosen (their wives, affectionately known as ‘The Laurens) as well as their kids all have their own ideas for what they want CreateOn to produce next.
Find CreateOn’s products on their website at www.createon.com. By adding the code ‘JCC10’ on the CreateOn website, they will be donating 10% of this purchase back to JCC Chicago.
– By JCC Chicago