Meet Our Associates

We are proud to work with a range of experts in their field to support our clients in reaching their goals.


Spotlight onResearch & Consumer InsightParenting & EducationMedia Production & DigitalPR & LicensingDesign


RG/A - McDonalds Happy Studio

Note: Our clients for this project, R/GA, who we worked closely with throughout the entirety of the project are also the creative agency for McDonalds

This 2 year project combined the child development expertise and research skills within the core FC team with world class expertise from our Associates. The project, headed up by Lucy Gill (working as Director of FC for the majority of the project before becoming an Associate) involved helping the clients understand children's development and applying that understanding in the development of the Happy Studio App.
We carried out user testing and consumer insight research to test the app at each stage of the build and provided off line activities which we also play tested.
To support our internal researchers, we brought in expertise from our Associates including from Laura Newton Smith, who helped us gather early stage feedback to shape the app and Ruth Clement to support the research into offline play activities.
Lucy continues to manage the project and the clients are very satisfied with the results of this team effort.

Joanna Brassett





Role: Director and Founder at Studio INTO

BioStudio INTO is a global innovation consultancy. I specialise in user research, decoding and synthesising cultural insights and turning them into strategic outcomes. Over the last 13 years I have managed projects across the globe with clients such as Dorel- Maxi Cosi, Nokia, Boots and McDonalds.

Other Specialisms: PR, Design & Licensing, Parenting & Education, Media Production & Digital


Click to reveal Joanna's notable projects

Ethnographic Research with Dorel Juvenile: 

We believe we need to take common research methodologies one step further and start to understand the cultural context of our users. Researching with over 50 families in Japan, China and South Korea, Studio INTO supported Dorel’s innovation team in a pan Asian market scoping which aimed at better understanding the East Asia market, particularly in the baby mobility sector.


Ruth Clement




Role: Independent Consultant - Retail and Brand Development

BioRuth integrates Consumer and Shopper Research with Strategic Consulting and Marketing Services, combining the technical expertise of a research specialist with the practical know-how of a highly experienced commercial consumer and shopper marketer.

Other SpecialismsPR, Design & Licensing, Retail, Sourcing & Manufacturing, Media Production & Digital

Notable Projects: View Full Steam Case Studies



Sam Clough



RoleDirector at Divergent Insight & Strategy and Insight Advisor for SuperAwesome

BioPassionate independent consultant specialising in Gen alpha, Gen z and parents. A leading expert in kids marketing and insight for over 20 years, Sam is as passionate about understanding kids, teens and their parents as she is about connecting brands with this complex demographic.

Notable Projects:

Click to read more about Sam

A leading expert in kids marketing and insight for over 20 years, Sam is as passionate about understanding kids, teens and their parents as she is about connecting brands with this complex demographic.

Divergent Insight and Strategy is Sam’s latest family-focussed research consultancy, she has been working closely with media agencies, publishers, travel companies and (tech) toy companies in the last 18 months.

As Insight Advisor at SuperAwesome; the tech company powering the kids digital media ecosystem, used by hundreds of the world’s biggest kids brands, she uncovers provoking, data driven thought leadership to help inform marketing decisions and ground SuperAwesome’s expertise in the kids’ market.

Career highlights include setting up one of the original kid’s specialist insight departments in the UK (Redballoon at Incepta Marketing Intelligence) as well as providing international insight for food, drink, entertainment and toy brands to deliver global marketing strategies.  Her extensive experience covers brand (re)positioning, NPD, packaging and exploratory research to name a few. 

As a qualitative practitioner, she has worked across global markets, in particular, USA, APAC and Europe, and lived in South East Asia and the Netherlands.  Over the years she has worked with families, children, young people and significant adults to shape innovation and strategy for many major kids’ brands.

She has a keen interest in the educational sector as a school governor and forest school teacher, helping children learn how to take risks and build self esteem. 

This 360 view of kids and families in both the commercial and real world enables her to deliver grounded and inspiring solutions for a broad range of clients.


Lucy Gill




Lucy Gill, Director of Apps & Technology at Fundamentally HQ

Role: Children's App, Tech and UX Expert

Bio: Lucy has been conducting user research for over a decade. She spent 2.5 years creating the Good App Guide and helping to form Fundamentally Children. She now works as a freelancer focusing on user testing projects related to Children's apps and EdTech.

Notable Projects: Lucy has led a range of projects whilst at Fundamentally Children including Happy Studio, Tiggly and Scary Beasties.



Vicki Thomas





Role: Design Consultant/Senior Lecturer

Bio: Researcher and Design Manager at Vicki Thomas Associates a specialist design consultancy and Senior Lecture at University of Northampton reaching Contextual studies to designers and researching the creative benefits of play

Other Specialisms: PR, Design & Licensing

Notable Projects:  This link showcases the work I have done with undergraduates at the University of Northampton. I have organised three linked exhibitions about the creative benefits of play and the Northamptonshire toy industry. I will post a video on line and add link here. The work is about to published in a book about play and culture and an article published the Toy Box presented at a Toy Conference. The links below show some of our play related design work.

Krupa Suthar




Role: Research Consultant at Insights that Shine

Bio: I am a freelance research consultant working with start-ups, small businesses & larger brands with a specialism in kids & families research.

Notable Projects: 

Click to reveal Krupa's notable projects

A well-known global kids brand had seen sales declining across Europe for a number of years and the task was to understand the reasons for this.

Rather than just run focus groups with consumers, I suggested ethnography as a better approach to understand what the consumers lives, which brands were present & how this brand fitted in.

The project was run across multiple countries in Europe.

This project was extremely successful as it allowed us to:

a) learn about the consumers’ lives

b) refine marketing strategies

c) inform future product direction.

Penelope Ball

Role: Former Portage Worker

Bio: I am a former Portage worker with 11 years’ experience in the London borough of Wandsworth. I have supported the development of over 90 pre-school-aged children with complex learning needs, within their family homes and in partnership with their parents and carers.

I am passionate about early intervention and its role in supporting children with special educational needs prior to their start in formal education. I understand the benefit of working in partnership with parents and professionals and, most importantly, the importance of making learning fun!

Notable Projects: 

Click to reveal Penelope's notable projects

As part of my role, I worked within a team from across Education and Health to set up a children’s centre attached to a nursery. Alongside this project, I ran weekly groups for parents to try and test play activities to repeat at home with their children.

In 2014, I became an accredited National Portage Trainer, with special responsibility for coordinating and delivering Portage workshops within my local authority and co-delivering workshops in neighbouring boroughs.

During the piloting phase of the new Education Health and Care Plans, I took on a lead role to support my team in understanding the process. I also acted as a lead professional for parents, guiding them through the new system prior to their children starting school.

Erika Brodnock





Role: Founder and CEO of Karisma Kidz

Bio: I am the creator of digital resources covering emotional and social learning, digital regulation, and digital parenting. I'm also Sky News’ child confidence expert. I am passionate about ensuring every child has an equal opportunity for success.

Other Specialisms: Media Production & Digital.

Notable Projects: In 2012, Erika founded Karisma Kidz to deliver emotional learning to young children through play and provide feedback to the whole family, teaching children that real superheroes interact positively with others. The brand is loved by parents and children, is preloaded to around 5 million devices, and championed by the Sunday Times as the next big thing to shake up the children's entertainment industry.

Jenny Crellin





Role: Education Consultant

Notable Projects: As a consultant to a local authority I planned and delivered the CPD program for Primary Computing across 34 Primary Schools and 6 Special Schools. The role involved writing and delivering training programs for teachers including support materials for use in schools, modelling lessons and supporting the schools' curriculum leads. The role involved the management of a Borough Wide Virtual Learning Environment enabling teachers across the authority to share good practice and have access to a range of resources.

Stephanie Gauld


Role: Children's Digital Media Consultant

Bio: Steph has over 18 years’ experience in children’s digital media: creating global digital strategies, setting up and leading teams, developing IP and overseeing production. Her love for creating products to delight children and are tailored to their abilities is evidenced in the projects she has led.

Currently a children’s digital media consultant working across a variety of start-ups and established companies, Steph previously headed up digital media at Acamar Films, leading digital strategy for Bing and launching several top performing products including apps and several language version YouTube channels.

Notable Projects: 

Click to reveal Stephanie's notable projects


Terri Langan




Role: TV Development Executive and Founder of Little Critics

Bio: Terri is an experienced TV Executive with a strong track record of creating and developing successful, award winning children's projects. She is able to work with individuals or companies who want to develop their brand into a TV or digital proposition. She will work with them on all stages of development from creating an idea all the way to pitch stage.  She can help with everything from character, storyline and format development to writing and producing pitch materials and series bibles.

Other Specialisms:  Research & Consumer Insight

Notable Projects: Children's TV commissions include BAFTA and RTS award winning 'Old Jacks Boat' and pirate game show 'Swashbuckle' and RTS award winning 'Mr Bloom Here' and There and 'CBeebies Stargazing'.

 Laura Newton-Smith




Role: Digital Consultant

Bio: My area of specialism is in devising innovative gaming and interactive learning solutions for both children and adults. As a former teacher, I have a strong understanding of how people learn and how gaming and interactive experiences can be utilised to engage the target audience.

Other Specialisms: Parenting & Education, Research & Consumer Insight

Notable Projects: View Laura's Case Studies

Trudi Bishop




Role: Owner of Bee Licensing

Bio: Trudi is the owner of Bee Licensing - a branding and licensing consultancy specialising in connecting brands who are new to the world of licensing and branding or who require guidance on how to get started or to work on their current portfolio to make it more commercial.

Notable Projects:

During Trudi's time at Cartamundi, she launched a new category of playing cards and travel games in to the market. This project required negotiating licensing deals, educating the internal teams on branding, brand management and category management - which was all new to the company. As project lead, Trudi was tasked to bring all the stakeholders (from CEO to sales teams and licensors and retailers) on board to this new way of working and new category. The result was increased retail space for Cartamundi and the launch of the continuously most profitable category in their consumer products portfolio.

Deb de Sherbinin



Role: Principal at

Bio: A product marketing consultant, Deb offers over twenty-five years experience building world-class brands and growing startups with product innovation, brand development and marketing.

Other Specialisms: Research & Consumer Insight and Retail, Sourcing & Manufacturing


Rebecca Alfandary



Role: Educational Consultant & Product Designer

Bio: Rebecca founded a successful manufacturing business which supplies tactile, educational products to schools. She understands the value of learning through play, engaging children in fun, hands-on experiences whilst fulfilling learning objectives.

Other Specialisms: PR, Design & Licensing

Notable Projects: Rebecca worked with the Science Museum, London to design and produce a range of Discovery Bags to explore scientific themes. The brief was to create a range of bespoke bags, incorporating various pockets, pouches and resources inside. The bags unfolded into large floor mats for children to interact and play on whilst also providing a storage solution as part of the design.



Dawn Carrington


Role: Designer/Creative Director - Kiddithinks

Bio: I am a designer and creative director with 30 years experience specializing in design for children and babies.

Other Specialisms: Research & Consumer Insight, Retail, Sourcing & Manufacturing, PR, Design & Licensing

Notable Projects: I designed an exclusive line of girl's clothing for BHS ( which was then taken up by Dunnes Stores ) called Princess Ella. I created the original characters, xs artwork, textiles and branding for nightwear and plush dolls and then designed stationery, bedding, decor and bags for phase 2. More examples can be seen at



Joanna Scott



Role: Illustrator

Bio: I'm a freelance illustrator with over 20 years experience. My main areas are children’s publishing, working with brands and giftware manufacturers. 

I’m currently working on a picture about an adventurous young mouse, who sometimes doubts his abilities to do all the things he wants to do, but with a little encouragement and help he might achieve his dreams.

I also work on top-secret brand book series for major publishers! Shhhh.

Other Specialisms: Concept drawing and Product Design

Notable Projects: Working with the Brand Manager and designer Michelle Porte Davis I created multiple poses as sketches for the official Paddington Bear Illustrated style Catalogue - the catalogue is now used for clients to brand their products with official Paddington Bear designs.

How do we work with Our Associates?

We value our Associates and enjoy collaborating with them. Our collaboration provides our clients with a wider range of expertise to draw upon, resulting in cohesive solutions with the reassurance that the backing of Fundamentally Children provides. We also trust our Associates to work with clients by mutual referrals and, should our clients need services that we feel our Associates are best placed to deliver without our involvement, we will refer them on. Giving our clients the best service in the most cost-effective manner is our prime objective and we are delighted to have such a talented network of Associates to help us deliver this. 

How do I become an Associate?

We are very careful about who we work with and usually only take on Associates with whom we've worked personally and can vouch for completely. It's important to us that our Associates are not only experts in their field, but that they share our belief in the value of childhood, the rights of the child to play and thrive and the importance of supporting parents with independent, trustworthy advice. They must have uncompromising integrity and professionalism and last, but not least, be people we enjoy working with - when we work with Associates on a project, they become part of our team and need to be willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.  If you're interested in joining our Associate network, please contact us below. 

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