Startup profile: Cribble - modular toys for kids

Sweden 07 February 2019
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Nordic 9 publishes periodically profiles of interesting and promising startup companies from Scandinavia. Do you know or have an interesting startup you think we should consider? Let us know.

Cribble is a startup which creates toys for children, developed with foundation in research in psychology and pedagogy. The company is based in Stockholm, started in 2018 and is looking to raise EUR 200k


What are the names of founders, their management roles, and how many full-time paid employees do you have?

Christine Montalvo (CEO)
Josefin Palmgren (product development)

No other full-time employees, but two part-timers.

What exactly is Cribble and why is it different from what’s available in the market today?

Cribble is a kit of building pieces to create an own unique mini house design. It is possible to plan and build the foundation according to your own mastermind design, wallpaper the walls, place the floors and put together some furniture according to plan, or your very own way. Cribble also includes furniture kits with furniture that fit in the mini house. The modular design enables endless different designs where all pieces fits together. Cribble can also be used together with other toys and crafts.

Cribble is based on research saying women have generally lower spatial cognition than men, which is linked to both how toys aimed at girls have fewer spatial challenges and a large gender gap within industries demanding high spatial capability. Cribble aims to offer girls easy access to building play, by presenting a gender-neutral toy with connotations of a classic female domain; the doll house.

The idea and the process are based on psychological and pedagogical research on which cognitive skills are important for children's development, but we combine this know ledge with a strong anchoring in commercial methods and learnings from customer and user about what makes a product attractive. Our target groups are children between 6 and 12 years old, with a special focus on girls.

Why Cribble and not Lego?

With Cribble there are no manuals, and the user can use the pieces and form whatever they like. With the modular design there are endless possibilities to put the pieces together. There are brief instructions on how the pieces can be used to form the different pieces of furniture, but Cribble is meant to be used with imagination and creativity. Cribble is produced in plywood and is like an empty canvas for the user’s creativity, and it is easy to paint, put on wall papers, decorate with sequins or sew curtains for the windows.

When playing with Lego you normally follow the manual, construct the intended figure and then the user wants a new box. The pieces are made of plastic and can’t be decorated.

How do you make sure that a parent is interested in a product like Cribble?

The message for kids is that Cribble is fun and exciting, but for parents the message is that Cribble is challenging, sustainable and based on research. Also important is that you are never ready with your Cribble; our tagline is endless creation.

How many customers do you have and how many are recurring?

During our kickstarter campaign we reached our target of 100 customers. In November we launched our e-commerce and also started cooperation with retailers. Since then we have more than 20 customers online, and six retailers that started selling. We attended Formex fair last week, and we have now several interesting leads to follow up.

How do you market Cribble?

We are now focusing on social media, events and PR. Our users are active on social media, and we have cooperation with five influencers that show Cribble in the films on Youtube. We reach our users on Tiktok and Youtube, and we reach their parents on Facebook and Instagram.

Who is your competition, are there similar products in the market?

Cribble is a patented product, and the concept is rather unique.

Some competitors with similar products:

- Lego; the kits are normally niched towards boys or girls, whereas the kits for boys are normally more challenging. Plastic.
- Minecraft and The Sims; only digital
- Plus-plus; plastic and not possible to paint.
- Kapla; tree, but not possible to connect the different pieces.
- Doll-houses; static play and traditionally for girls

How will you make money long term, direct to consumer of through resellers? Why?

Our plan is to have 60% of sales online in our e-commerce, and 40 % with different retailers. The margins for own e-commerce is much higher, but we need to build brand with visibility ib shops.

What is the biggest challenge you need to solve in the next few months?

Production and logistics. Now we are getting smaller volumes of our products and we are handling logistics internally, but with larger volumes we need to fix logistics. We are also looking for additional producers in order to secure even more sustainable products for a reasonable cost.

Are you looking for investment funding? If yes, how much and for what?

Yes, we are looking for investment funding of 2 MSEK, to be used for

- Sales driving activities
- Expand team
- Showroom
- Invest in influencers and ads
- Events and fairs


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