Interview with Christy Kaskey, founder of Kaskey Kids.
The majority of parents can tell early on, what their kids are interested in. Christy Kaskey was no different. When I asked what inspired her to create Football Guys and continue adding additional sports to the line, it all seemed destined to be.
“In the first few years of our kids’ lives, I saw that they absolutely loved sports of all types, but especially Football. It did not really surprise me because they had been exposed to the sport their entire life, just as I had. My husband played football, all of their uncles played football, both grandfather’s played football and almost all ended up volunteering as youth football coaches. As family activities go, one of our favorite weekend activities was traveling around the Chicagoland area to Notre Dame & Northwestern football games. This is what our kids knew, so it made sense that they would want sports figures to play with. Kids love to have a variety of toys at their disposal, but they almost always have a style they prefer and play with more frequently. Some children prefer toy trains and love their train table & others prefer toy cars or blocks. Although our kids loved all of these, I knew their favorite toy would be sports action figures if they existed.
What inspired you to go out and actually create them?
At the time, it just seemed very simple to me. I had the exact vision for Football Guys in my head, so started with the basics and just sketched out how I wanted the final product to look. I could talk for an hour about the process of getting them on the market. For me, finding a designer to create them and finding a factory to make them was a bit of luck and good timing.
What is most rewarding for you as an inventor and founder of a toy company that has been in business for over 15 years?
It is a lot of fun to hear from kids who are now in high school and college that these toys were their favorite toys growing up. I still have happy memories about my favorite toys, so it is an honor to realize that people look at my toys in the same way. One mother wrote me recently that she just created a memory box to give each of her sons when they had kids of their own. My toys were included among other items that she knew had been an important part of their childhood
What are some fun fact about Kaskey Kids that we may not know about?
It has been amazing watching the success that many of the kids that participated in my very first “toy focus groups” have been having on the sports fields themselves. When I was in the developmental stage of Football Guys, our children’s friends would come over to play with my prototypes so I could hear their feedback to identify what I needed to change about the design. Most of my “toy testers” continued to play with our GUYS while growing up and as soon as they could start playing sports, almost all did. Seeing these kids as young adults now, virtually all of our very first Kaskey Kids customer’s remained very active and successful in sports throughout high school, with some playing at the college level. Many of them were all state, all conference and captains of their teams. Of the 10 kids that we featured on our first toy labels all were active in sports their entire lives with 4 going on to play division 1 sports in college. I am sure this may all be statistically normal, but it seems like there is a correlation to me!
What do you want to see happening with Kaskey Kids in the future?
I want to continue to grow the company and make our GUYS available to a larger portion of the U.S. and abroad. There is truly nothing like our GUYS on the market and I need to continue to get the word out about our line to more families and stores. As a small company we do not have much of an advertising budget and without all the bells and whistles of electronic toys, our GUYS are difficult to explain until you see kids actually playing with them. Word of mouth is our best friend! Social media is a big help because so many families purchase our GUYS after hearing all of the positive reviews. In many instances families have been looking for a toy like ours and a friend’s Facebook or Instagram post or tweet may be the first time they hear about our GUYS. We are trying to increase our social media presence and hope that happy customers will continue to help us spread the word. A picture speaks one thousand words so we love when families share photos of their kids playing with our toys. We feature any photo we receive on our website and have a great time scrolling through them to see the adorably creative ways kids play with our toys.
Where are your toys sold?
We are in specialty toy, gift and sporting goods stores across the United States and in Canada, in NHL arena shops, hockey & soccer specialty stores as well as on Amazon.