Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Story Behind Think-ets

Some people have asked how our game Think-ets came about. Here's the full story...

I came up with the idea for Think-ets after realizing how much my 8 year old daughter Meryl loved playing the game “What’s Missing?” when we went hiking in the mountains of Colorado. I loved to hike and she loved to play. So we used to play this wonderful, old fashioned game called “What’s Missing?” at rest stops along the way. 

We would use twigs, rocks, moss, etc. as our items to test our memories. The game made hiking fun and interesting for us. She no longer thought of hiking as a chore or a bore—instead, she welcomed the outings because she wanted to play "What's Missing?"! And since she LOVED this game, I thought to myself, "Why not make this into a game that others could buy as it worked so well with my daughter?" 

So, I put a handful of miniature objects in a little mesh pouch and with some friends came up with the name Think-ets. I added some more games to play so kids wouldn't get bored and soon Think-a-lot Toys was born. That was in the fall of 2007.

All of our “tiny treasures” have been painstakingly sourced from around the world. They come from Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, India, China, Peru, and the U.S.A. among others. We seek to avoid cheap plastic items that contribute to our world’s trash heap. We don’t believe in games that are bought one day and tossed the next. Some of the tiny trinkets are made in large factories and some of them are painstakingly made by hand by rural artisans.

For example, our little straw hats are made by some older men in a rural village in Mexico. My supplier says it's hard to say how long these will be made because the younger generation doesn't seem to be as interested in taking the time to make them. The little soccer player in our Sports Think-ets is hand painted by mostly women in rural India. The miniature animals are carefully made by Safari Ltd. in China by workers who hand paint each item. The little crown, coffee cup, copper chalice and jet airplane are made in a pewter factory in Rhode Island. I could go on but you get the idea. It's simply amazing to think about the craftsmanship behind some of these little trinkets.

And, we're happy to say that our game Think-ets is assembled at a facility that employs people with developmental disabilities located in Lakewood, Colorado. We like supporting our community in this way and many customers love knowing we do.

One other interesting story: Our company logo is the face of Meryl's best friend and next door neighbor growing up. Her friend's dad took the picture, morphed it a little, put some trinkets above her head to show think-ets imagination…and voila, a logo was born!

We now have 13 different versions of Think-ets (the same number of stripes on the American flag) and have also created other storytelling card sets and games. To date, we've sold more than 75,000 Think-ets here in the United States and in a few countries around the world. Our goal is to make "toys and games that make you think—and use your imagination." It's really true. Imagination is more important than knowledge.