Ever have a lightbulb moment, the kind where you come up with a unique idea that could truly make a difference in people’s lives? The kind of idea that you get excited about, one that stays with you as it evolves and grows in your mind? That is exactly what happened with Make It Cute founder and CEO, Anne Hoehn. It was the middle of COVID lockdown when she shared her idea for an aesthetically pleasing kids indoor playhouse with her co-founders, and childhood best friends, Amanda Seyfried and Maureen North. As they shared recently during an interview with ABC Nightline, they were longing for a creative outlet and an opportunity to make a difference in the world around them. The vision began crafting in their minds. They had their shared values set: a company that made imaginative play a possibility while remaining earth friendly. With their vision in mind, a line of creative spaces for children made from sustainable materials was born.
“Everything Begins With An Idea.” - Earl Nightingale
This idea was born from a need Anne saw in her own life and the lives of her friends with children. She was longing for toys for her children that didn’t disrupt the aesthetic she had worked hard to create. Her children were at that perfect age, where they’re imaginations were blooming and ideas were flowing out of them. Her childhood best friends, Amanda and Maureen, had children at similar stages and they noticed their creativity flowing as well. What they realized was that they wanted to nurture that creativity, which led them to the idea of crafting and perfecting a modern version of an indoor playhouse where their creativity could flourish.
The process of crafting an indoor playhouse seems simple on the surface, however, it was anything but for these creative women. They all have a discerning eye for style and are meticulous when it comes to quality and sustainability. Compromising their vision was not an option as they crafted and created durable indoor playhouses through a rigorous process of prototypes, logistics, design, construction, and safety testing. They were not looking to create your standard indoor playhouse for toddlers. They were striving for the next level.
“There Is No Innovation And Creativity Without Failure.” - Brene Brown
Throughout this process there were setbacks with manufacturers, improvements to be made with prototypes and details to be considered regarding dimensions. The founders worked tirelessly to ensure that each detail of the indoor playhouse was up to their standards and that they created a product that they could be proud of. Working alongside a talented graphic designer and gifted illustrator, the playhouses, along with the Make It Cute brand, took shape. These childhood best friends were making their dreams a reality by creating a line of indoor playhouses that they were confident would be a welcome addition to the market of sustainable children’s toys.
These modern kids playhouses are not only gorgeous, but they fill a gap that is sorely missing in people’s homes: a stylish alternative to modern toys, one that is a haven for creativity and imaginative play. A home base for adventures. A launching pad for creative endeavors. A starting point for endless imagination. As the founders poured over every detail and reviewed the construction and safety of the indoor playhouses, they knew that their meticulous eye for detail would lead to the end product being something spectacular. Their crafting would lead to meaningful experiences for children and family memories would be born from their creations.
Just as the Make It Cute Founders thoughtfully crafted their indoor playhouses for toddlers, you too can use their methods to craft meaningful play experiences for your kids at home.
Here Are A Few Ideas To Boost Creativity And Imagination During Playtime:
Less Is Best
Keep playspaces simple and stock them with “staple” toys, or anchor items, like an indoor playhouse for toddlers, or a dollhouse. These open-ended toys lead to higher engagement and more creative thinking during playtime. Adding a ton of toys seems like a good idea since it would lead to more play experiences, but in reality, it does not have those outcomes. Less toys lead to more deep and creative play.
If you study the two Make It Cute playhouses, you’ll notice an understated elegance for each of the styles. While it is obvious that great attention was given to the details of the playhouse, they are intentionally crafted with muted colors and timeless design features so that they can fit in with any home and style without overwhelming the space. You won’t find bright or overwhelming primary colors on these modern playhouses, only thoughtfully created, hand drawn illustrations, by talented architect and artist Sophia Vincent Guy.
Functionality = Fun
Make sure kids can access the space and materials you’d like them to play with. Set items up at eye level so children know what they have as options. For example, if they’re allowed to use craft materials, such as paper, crayons and tape, to add decorations or signs to their playspaces, keep them in an area that is easily accessible to them. This not only allows them to build upon their independence, but also keeps the experience child-led since they won’t have to stop and ask a grown up for the materials they want. Creating indoor play spaces with children in mind will allow for them to have more rich play experiences.
The founders at Make It Cute–Anne Hoehn, Maureen North and Amanda Seyfried, kept kids at the forefront as they worked to create a practical and engaging design for their indoor playhouses. They wanted the playhouses to be easily accessible and inviting to children with a twist on traditional playhouses, a second door! They used their own children as “testers” to make sure that they were creating inviting spaces, such as including three kid-sized windows for extra functionality and fun.
Trial And Error
Sometimes it takes a few times to figure out what works best. Don’t be deterred by first (or second or third) attempts at an indoor playspace set up not being successful. Figure out what areas need improvement and continue to rearrange the environment until you find a good fit for your family’s flow. It’s not about getting it done the first time, it is about getting it done right for the long term and maintaining a flexible attitude to adapt and change to improve a set up.
According to Greater Good Magazine, “growth mindset and creativity go hand in hand.” Creating something without a fixed outcome in mind allows you to be open to new ideas as they arise, which is exactly how our founders approached making these modern indoor playhouses. They were open to setbacks because they knew they were onto something special and that each one would lead them closer to their vision becoming a reality.
“If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again.”- Thomas H Palmer
The Make It Cute founders meticulously wove their dreams into reality, and so, we invite you to embark on your own creative journey. To craft your play spaces with intention and joy, offering your little ones a canvas for their blooming creativity. Use our indoor playhouses as a backdrop for family tales and cherished memories. After all, what is more a more worthy pursuit than crafting than childhood memories?
To learn more about Anne, Maureen and Amanda’s journey of creating a company as best friends, and their vision to innovate the children’s toy space while promoting sustainability, watch their full interview here: ABC News (Nightline).