Who better to tell us more about the amazing world of The Land of Me than one of its creators, James Huggins. Over to you James…..
As co-founder of Made in Me, the creators of The Land of Me, the latest addition to the Ladybird family, I’m very honoured to have been asked to write something for this blog. I thought I’d tell you a bit about our story and why we started a company for children.
I was working in the film and TV industry in special effects which is a pretty amazing place to be. With so many incredible people doing wondrous things with computer graphics I came to fully appreciate the power of technology to unlock creative potential. To be honest, I never really thought much about how what I was doing could apply to children… that is of course, until we had them! I could waffle on at great length about just how big a deal having kids is but I guess if you’re reading this, you probably already know.
Emily is 5 and Joe is 2 and as any parent can attest, small children are a daily diet of surprise, delight, frustration, noise, negotiation, hilarity and downright silly-ness. Regardless of how creative and imaginative you think you are, constructing a schedule of activities to sate the appetite of a four-year-old is a nigh on impossible task. What I noticed is how little our computer pulled its weight in this department. The kids would see me on my laptop or phone and ask to join in but I struggled to find stuff we could do together. Once we’d exhausted various websites like CBeebies and Disney I was at a bit of a loss. I also found that our play time at the computer felt very isolated from all of our other activities like crafting and playing outside. I started to think about how cool it would be if there was a world full of characters that lived on the computer that we could play with, not just on-screen, but away from the computer too. Something that would not only inspire the kids but us parents too. I knew for a fact that if such a thing existed not only would it be lots of fun but it would be a big help too!
Unfortunately it didn’t exist.
So I did what any Dad worth their salt would do and set about making it. One thing was clear. I wasn’t nearly talented enough to do it by myself, so I set about enlisting the support of anyone who would listen. Conveniently my brother-in-law, Mike Outlaw, is a fiendishly talented designer and visual effects artist with a BAFTA nomination to his name. So whether it was down to his creative curiosity or his desire, at all times, to be the coolest uncle he agreed to leave his lofty well paid job and start our own company.
As we started having conversations with friends, parents, teachers and professors we started to flesh out the concept for an interactive experience that would enchant children and adults with on and off-screen activities. The themes would span the creative spectrum with music, stories, dance, science and it would all be set in a magical land, the mysterious, beautiful land of…
Hmmm… names are tricky.
We thought about the power of the imagination to create make believe worlds and the fact that we wanted children and parents or teachers to feel like it was their world too. So I asked Emily – seeing as Joe was 2 weeks old and frankly giving me nothing ‘If you created your own world full of talking animals what would it be called?’
To this day I’m not sure if she actually meant that she’d call it ‘Me’, or if she was simply revelling in the fact that it was up to her. But it seemed perfect. With this decided the company name seemed obvious too. Made in Me.
Given our backgrounds we both passionately believe in the potential for technology to both inspire and empower creativity. So it was clear that the company’s purpose would be to make beautiful, inspirational products designed to inspire children and adults to play, learn and be creative together. But that was a bit too wordy so we settled on…
We’d like to be the Ladybird of the digital generation.
No seriously, I’m not just saying this. It’s even in our original business plan! That’s why this whole turn of events is just incredible. What we discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that Ladybird would actually quite like to be the Ladybird for a digital generation too! So we’re excited to be on our way toward our hopes for Made in Me and joining Ladybird on the adventure is definitely our idea of a good time.
So if, like me, you’re always looking for ways to feed your little one’s hungry imagination you might like to visit The Land of Me. It has been designed from the ground up by child development experts to support creative development, language and early literacy but frankly, I hope you’ll be having too much fun to notice all that. It’s a banquet of talking animals, music, dance, paper-craft, masks, monsters, stories and loads more really great stuff.
Read more and try it for free at www.thelandofme.com.