Friday, January 15, 2010

Product Development at Discount School Supply!

Hello, my name is Cyndi Gonzales and I work in Merchandising at Discount School Supply. I am the Product Development Manager. My job is so much fun! I get to create many new items and concepts for our Catalog . It can be challenging producing new ideas. My boss and I usually brainstorm, read parent/child magazines, visit classrooms, or set up focus groups with teachers. This helps us determine if there is a particular need for something in the classroom or if something need improvement. Once I have a concept in mind and it is approved, it takes almost 6 months to one year to develop. When I am done, it is always rewarding to see the final product in our Catalog !

It is great to experience and try out new concepts with my 3-year-old nephew. His name is Kraemer. He means the world to me. I have learned so much from him. From a work stand point, it is very rewarding and educational to play and interact with him. As he has grown, he actually has taught me what he knows regarding his ABC’s and counting, and what enjoys playing with etc…I watch his manual dexterity skills and his eye and hand coordination improve. When he was a baby, it was great to watch and interact or play with him to see his likes and dislikes to certain colors or shapes. Above all, I love Kraemer and he is a very happy child and always a pleasure to be around.

I know how important it is for educators and parents to feel that the product is a good value and made well. Once Kraemer and I were using a prototype together, and it was extremely hard for him to squeeze. It was great because it showed me that I need to use a softer plastic so his little hands could manipulate it easily.

Aside from experimenting with some of our new product ideas, Kraemer really enjoys our existing arts and crafts materials. He loves to paint and create! He is a “natural” when it comes to painting. On a recent visit, we took all the BioColor® Paint. and spread them out on the floor. Then we got out a selection of Super Super-Safer Droppers.
Kraemer loved the droppers. I believe this was because he was able to manipulate them easily and was new to him. He loved to be able to just suck up the paint with the dropper and then let it blob out slowly or quickly onto the paper. After placing lots of paper on the floor, it was just a matter of minutes before we were painting his first masterpiece and having the time of our lives!!


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