Jen Ruth on the story behind the plush toy brand Snorfler
Created by the mother/daughter team of Shelle Renae and Jen Ruth, Snorfler is a hand-knitted plush toy designed to help ignite a love of reading and writing in kids.
Each Snorfler comes with a notebook, which kids can use to keep track of Snorfler points – given for things like completing chores or doing well at school. These points can then be traded for treats and fun experiences.
We caught up with Jen to find out more about their plans for Snorfler, and the company’s impressive partnership with Water For People.
Jen, it’s great to connect. To kick us off, where did the idea for the Snorfler come from?
The idea of Snorfler came from my mom, Shelle. My mom absolutely blows me away with the creative things she comes up with and how effective her ideas are! She came up with Snorfler to help my older sister want to read. It worked! My sister didn’t want to put a book down. She then continued Snorfler with the rest of my siblings, including myself.
Each plush also comes with a notebook. What’s the function and importance of the notebook?
The notebook that comes with the Snorfler is an important aspect because it’s how Snorfler comes to life for the child. The notebook is used to collect Snorfler points that are left for the children and these points encourage kids to want to read and write. You can learn more about it in depth and watch a short video on our website, mysnorfler.com.
The product looks great. Did you have a design background? And what guided you to make the Snorflers look as they do?
Thank you so much for your compliments on the design. It was our vision to create not only a cute, unique stuffed animal, but one that was complimentary to the neutral colours that are trending in today’s market. So, with my mom’s design and creative mind and my vision for a neutral, complimentary colour palette, Snorfler came to life.
The idea started at home, and was initially used by your mum in her classroom. What was it about the idea that made you confident it had mass market appeal beyond being an educational tool?
There are several reasons that led us to having confidence in our market appeal. First off, we started by researching the market extensively. There really isn’t anything out there like Snorfler. There are other hand knit stuffed animals, but nothing with the notebook concept. It truly is one of a kind. That paired with the excitement of the community around us who have used it and seen it in person made us confident in the market appeal of Snorfler.
You have a partnership with Water For People. How did this come about and what does the collaboration do for those in need?
The partnership with Water For People came about by simply reaching out to them after we decided that they were the company we wanted to work with. I called them and had a long conversation with them about our goals and priorities and their goals and priorities to make sure they aligned. After we both decided it was a good fit, we moved forward. Now with every purchase of a Snorfler, you give clean water to those around the world. 50 gallons for the 12″ Snorfler and 75 gallons for the 19″ Snorfler.
Amazing work. Now, looking ahead, do you see the Snorfler brand expanding with new toys and games?
I do not see Snorfler expanding with new toys or games. We are really committed to the success of the Snorfler concept as a standalone. We don’t want anything else to detract from that.
Fair enough. Now, my last question, how do you guys fuel your creativity?
I love this question because, honestly, I don’t exactly know how to answer it. I know my creativity comes from my mom. She is truly so incredibly creative. I’m really thankful that she raised us in an environment where we were always doing something whether it be writing kids’ books while we were in elementary school, taking photos for the fair contest or designing a driving float for a local competition.
She was always looking for ways to challenge us creatively and I think that is what allowed me to grow into the creative person I am today. She never limited us or told us not to do arts and crafts because it was messy. She always encouraged us and let us paint on the walls in our rooms if we wanted to. I loved this freedom and I now think creativity truly is just a part of my everyday life now without much thought.
There we go, good work Shelle! Jen, this has been great. Huge thanks for taking the time and good luck with Snorfler.
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