Eureka’s Michelle Emerson talks us through the ambitious licensing plans for the brand

Firstly, can you give me some background information on Eureka?

Well, if you were five to seven years old – Eureka would be your best friend. Eureka! is a brand, but it is also a way of life. It is bright, lively and engaging. It is imaginative and exploratory. It is fun, it is clever, it is your Eureka! moment. The key thing that differentiates the Eureka! brand is a deep and full understanding of the importance of ‘play’ in a child’s life. Play creates a physical interaction with things real and imaginary that stretches children intellectually as well as physically, and ensures they are learning. It is supported by experts based at the award winning National Children’s Museum who have designed and built exhibitions and programmes which aim to nurture and sustain the natural curiosity children are born with.

What made you decide to launch a licensing programme?

The experts behind the Eureka! brand have been specialising in building hands on and fun educational experiences for children for over 20 years, both in the UK and overseas. We are all about encouraging children (aged 0 – 11) to explore themselves and the world around them. We work closely with children in consultation and therefore know how a child see’s the world, and how they see wonder and excitement in almost anything and everything. Everything we do is built on the principles of learning through play, and therefore it seems a natural progression to expand into a licensing programme.

I understand the toy category is going to be one of first you target – what kind of products do you think would work best?

We are all about learning through play so we want to develop toys that allow children to let their imaginations go wild. We are firm believers in learning by stealth and we certainly don’t want to prescribe how a game or toy should be played or used, we want children to take a Eureka! toy and create endless play possibilities. We want to engage young minds and captivate their imaginations and inspire a love of learning. We would like to target KS1 & 2 stage children in the five to seven age group and we want to focus on Science & Technology, The Great Outdoors and Creative Play.

How will you look to convey the ethos of the Eureka brand through the consumer products?

We have created a unique style guide which we are really proud of as the packaging will look really vibrant and engaging on-shelf. We still wanted to make sure that individual licensees would be able to add their own personal stamp on the packaging. The overall feel of the packaging looks homemade which has instant ‘grab-appeal’ for children.

What other categories are you looking to target?

The homemade look of the brand perfectly lends itself to stationery and arts and crafts products. These sectors are all about letting children use their own initiative and imagination and are therefore an ideal fit with the Eureka! concept.

What kind of qualities should potential licensees have? For example, I understand that having products that appeal to children with Special Educational Needs is important to you?

If you think pink is for girls and blue is boys, or that girls can only like princess dresses and all boys want to be firemen, then we’re not for you. We want to work with licensees who have a genuine interest in and understanding of the power of play and in the joy of creating something awesome. We want to team up with people who are able to look at the world through the eyes of a child and we know that the UK toy market is full of really creative people who can help us bring the brand to life. SEN is very important to us too. We have expertise in Special Educational Needs (SEN) engagement and have experience of developing and running activities and programmes to ensure these children can fully access our brand, some of which can be perfectly replicated into products. Indeed we would like all of our products to be accessible to all children.

How is Eureka different from other education brands? What makes it stand out?

Our experts are part of an established international Association of Children’s Museums, and work with renowned academics, children’s projects, galleries and museums throughout the world. From our base at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum we constantly gather information and data from our 300,000+ visitors per year, who are all families with children aged below 11. We believe strongly in the importance of children being free to play, encouraging imaginative and creative open ended opportunities for exploration and fun. We understand just how much a child can learn from a game, a toy, or cardboard boxes and toilet roll tubes, and just how much that can impact on, and richly enhance their development and their experiences in life.

What would you most like to have achieved with the brand by the end of 2014?

We want to announce an initial range of new product launches for S/S 2015, as well as making plans to extend into our other target sectors towards the back end of next year.

And longer term, where would you like to see the brand in five years’ time?

We want Eureka! to become the go-to for parents and gifters who are looking to purchase an educational and fun product for their child or their family. We want to be seen as a reliable, non-stuffy brand with educational credentials that people come back to time and again. The beauty of our brand is that the possibilities really are endless and will allow us to evolve our products along different themes such as the body, nature, space, etc.

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