In this instalment of the Meet the Associate series, where we delve a little deeper into the lives and careers of the Fundamentally Children Associate Network, we are chatting to Erika Brodnock
You can find out more about the Associates Network here
Over to Erika…
1 – Could you tell us a bit about your background in children’s industries and how you got to where you are now?
I am a mother to five children aged 12-21 and the founder of Karisma Kidz, a digital platform supporting the emotional and social development of children aged between three and eight years.
I founded Karisma Kidz in 2012, at a time when I became concerned that parents needed to take an active interest in the types of toys, games, and technology children were able to access.
Prior to founding Karisma Kidz, I spent seven years working in children’s services for inner London local authorities. During this time I trained as a parenting coach and trainer with Triple P, Webster Stratton, The Race Equality Foundation, Candida Hunt, and Middlesex University.
2 – Could you tell us a bit about your current role?
I recently founded Kami, an intelligent digital companion that is augmented by a suite of experts and consultants who provide support and guidance throughout the parental journey.
3 – What services can you provide to Fundamentally Children’s clients as an associate?
My areas of specialism centre around bridging the gap between on and offline play. This is particularly important in an age where significant numbers of children are starting school without the social and emotional skills they require to learn.
I’m keen to work with companies who want to put children’s development through edutainment at the very centre of their strategy and provide toys that develop children while keeping them engaged and entertained.
4 – What’s the best thing about working in the children’s industries?
I’m passionate about being able to shape the lives of future generations by enabling them to learn through play. Working within children’s industries provides the opportunity to develop products that support parents and their children to develop vital skills for an ever-changing world.
5 – And the worst?
Larger brands taking innovations and ideas from smaller-scale companies and competing, rather than co-operating with them and giving credit where it is due.
6 – What’s your favourite industry event and why?
The annual London Toy Fair is my favourite event. The Greenhouse, in particular, plays a pivotal role in introducing new and innovative toys to the market.
7 – If you didn’t work in your current role, what would you like to be doing and why?
If I wasn’t working in my current role I would like to spend more time working with leading toy manufacturers to ensure that toys were more representative of the children who play with them.
Play is such a pivotal part of children’s development – increasing the number of brands that effectively utilise the opportunity to lead on areas such as diversity and inclusion, slow play, and the reduction of plastic waste, is therefore what I would be doing.
8 – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given from someone in the children’s industries?
On starting my journey in the toy industry I was advised that I needed to ensure that I put every effort into creating toys that delight and add value.
9 – What’s your all-time favourite children’s toy or app?
My all-time favourite toy is the Rubik’s Cube. Hours of fun, with the benefits of perseverance and learning to solve a complex problem thrown in for good measure.