In an industry where conventional marketing relies heavily on gimmicks, such as attention-grabbing colors and elementary designs, lowercase toys has chosen an unconventional and, according to creator Brenna Davis, a wildly abstract approach. Although not intentional, her transition into toymaking was a practical one. “I began my career as a speech language pathologist,” explains Davis. “I was making materials for use in my therapy room while using them to educate parents, offering them support for developmentally appropriate play.” Now that lowercase toys has cultivated a wider audience, her challenge is promoting her deceptively simple product line as a reminder of what great play looks like, while convincing customers to give her products a try without all the razzle-dazzle.
In her professional practice, Brenna saw a giant disconnect between developmental research and cognitive science and what parents felt compelled to do to support their children’s learning and development. She explains, “I found that by providing parents and caregivers with simple, creative, open-ended toys, the benefits of play became obvious, and great learning environments developed and reinforced themselves naturally. Parents want the best for their kids, and there are competing messages about how to measure success and achieve the best. Our toys are made for play, period,” continues Davis. “They are engineered to support development and learning in the simplest way possible. We are very intentional about each and every component of every product we produce,” she asserts. “Our fabric is made from plant-based fibers, and we use felt made from recycled water bottles. We are also proud to have eliminated first- and single-use plastic from our product and packaging completely.”
Davis has a long history with The Paper Tube Co. since she has eight different SKUs completed thus far and another four in the works. So, she knew the team would be a good fit when she started the search for a unique and practical packaging solution for her line of felt dolls. “The Paper Tube Co. offered exactly what we were looking for,” says Davis. “We wanted to work with a company that was as focused on sustainability as we are, values its workforce, and offers unparalleled product quality.”
But the path to paper tubes wasn’t always a straight line for this particular product, recalls Davis. “Originally, I began with cellophane sleeves over printed paper cards, then moved to cardstock folding boxes. I was disappointed that just to put my product on the shelves, my packaging forced me to spend resources creating refuse,” she laments. “The packaging I began with wasn’t durable enough to outlast the point of purchase, which was not at all in line with our company’s ethos. The Paper Tube Co. offered so many options to create beautiful, durable, and sustainable product packaging.”
Although flat boxes were the best fit for her felt puzzles, Davis knew she’d need something different for her dolls. “Packaging a flat or nearly two-dimensional product is very challenging,” Davis explains. “It’s easy for flat products to be lost on a shelf or overlooked because of product/packaging size. Our paper tubes allow us to showcase the simple charm of our felt dolls—wooing nostalgic hearts with modern outfit styles and updated color palettes while making the travel-friendliness of the product obvious via an integrated carry handle.”
The Paper Tube Co. Lead Designer Ricardo Gomez concurs. “Brenna’s involvement in the process was essential for this particular project. For us, it’s unusual for a business owner to also be the designer. And it worked beautifully,” he explains. “Her understanding of design and clear vision from both educational and practical perspectives were paramount to the success of the final product. We were able to make adjustments as she provided very specific feedback about the specifications throughout the process,” says Gomez. “The beauty of the tubes we designed is that they feel like luxury packages but stand alone with no need for gold foil or fussy details. The elevated look is unusual for a child’s toy and matches the high-quality classic product perfectly.”
Davis couldn’t be happier with the tubes. “I love that they are as functional as they are beautiful,” she exclaims. “The magic of watching little hearts fall for our products and seeing little hands get right to work playing and imagining, thinking and building is exactly what pulled me out of direct clinical practice and into the unknown landscape of being a toy designer and manufacturer.”
More than Paper Tubes
At The Paper Tube Co., we’re thinking beyond the tube. Whether you’re ready to work side-by-side with us to bring your product packaging vision to life or prepared for us to lead you through our comprehensive branding, design, and production process, we’ve got your back. Our team has extensive experience engineering innovative and inspired designs that will help your products stand out with a delightful and engaging unboxing experience your customers will never forget.
“I can’t rave enough about the experiences that I’ve enjoyed with The Paper Tube Co. team. From exacting design and quality standards to responsiveness and organized thoroughness, I’ve been thrilled from start to finish with every product we’ve created together.”
– Brenna Davis, Owner of lowercase toys