NOTE: This case study was further developed, re-written and published on my personal website, https://rebeccabar.design/case-study/silicandy.html
Silicandy was a wholesale company I founded with the mission of improving family relationships by getting parents and kids back together in the kitchen.
My Role: Design Director — Products, Branding, Photography, Marketing . I Led a 10 person remote team of 3D engineers, graphic artists, copywriters, PPC specialists, and photographers.
Time Involved: 4 Years
Deliverables: Competitive Analysis, Product Designs, Packaging Designs, 3D Renderings, Brand Strategy, Lifestyle Photography, Product Catalog, Pricing Sheets, Manufacturing Lead Times, Sales Proposals, Sales Deck, Press Letters, Brand Key, Quality Testing
What I gained: Extensive knowledge of silicone and plastic molding, 3D printing, E-commerce — Amazon, Shopify. Knowledge of Chinese culture and mentality. A savvy for working with people in multiple time-zones. Knowledge of patent and trademark laws worldwide.
Tovolo is a brand that believes cooking should be fun. They say they are “committed to improving the relationship our customers have with cooking by designing products that deliver trustworthy performance and are a pleasure to use.”
Core Kitchen is a more colorful brand that the classic Core Bamboo brand developed. This was their idea of marrying their signature use of eco-friendly bamboo and add “color and fun, something missing from the marketplace”.
The Silicandy differences:
- Silicandy differentiated itself from the competition through clear and concise positioning exclusively targetting the children’s baking market.
- Silicandy was laser-focused on the kids learning through baking experience. Products were all tested on kids ages 3–12, including children with sensory processing disorders and children with Autism.
- Silicandy developed unique products (that didn’t exist at the time) such as jumbo gummy bear molds, gummy worm molds, and one-piece cookie cutters.
- Silicandy is the only kitchenware brand to have obtained CPSIA compliance, aligning itself as higher quality and safer than it’s competitors.
At time of Silicandy user research (2015), millennials made up the largest demographic in the country. Millennial moms accounted for almost 90% of the 1.5 million new mothers in the year 2014.
Millennial moms, in particular, have a set of specific buying needs. They want personalization and a relationship with the brands they support .
Research showed that 87% of moms are willing to economize in some areas to spend more on higher-quality products.
90% of moms agree that the saying “you get what you pay for” is true and that “even if you pay more for premium quality products, it’s more enjoyable and satisfying to have better quality.” Read: It’s all about the experience.
A staggering 94% of moms admitted to spending more on their child‟s clothing and toys than they do on themselves.
During the year 2014, Parents in the U.S. spent over $1 Trillion on kids ages 0–17.
Silicandy’s aim was to provide parents with the tools to connect with children in a fun way. Our products were designed to encourage creativity in children and offer our demographic, Millennial moms, a chance to spend better quality time with her kids.
Each product’s design began with vigorous competitive research. Buying and trying many products and reading lots of reviews. Silicandy fixed multiple user issues as well as add extra elements of delight to our customer base. More on that below!
There were four distinctive sets; Pink, “love” set, Yellow, “Get Well Soon” set, Purple, “Royal Kingdom” set, and Green, “Social Media” set.
These sets went through many iterations. Details needed to be spaced and large enough to make and keep an imprint in a sugar cookie after baked. I conducted preference testing with kids and moms before settling on these final designs.
We designed e-commerce packaging for Amazon to save on shipping and fulfillment costs, and SFP (Shelf-Friendly-Packaging) that could compete for customers' attention in Big-Box stores and smaller retailers.
Baking Mat Sets:
Silicone baking mat sets had just started gaining popularity. They were one of those products we had to have in our line. I coordinated with our trademark colors and added extra elements of delight. These include handy measuring conversions, baking tips, and delicious recipes! Busy moms cooking with their kids' need as seamless an experience as possible. Printing this information directly on the mat saves them time looking it up.
Same as above, we designed both e-commerce and SFP packaging. Inspired by Costco’s packaging, we tested different weights of cardboard for the shelf-friendly version. Baking mats were a highly competitive product. Pricing them would influence how our customer’s viewed the rest of our brand. Even the smallest increase in cardboard thickness increased production and shipping cost for us, and shipping cost for chain stores carrying our product.
One-Piece Cookie Cutters:
Inspired by graphic artist MC Escher, we created cookie cutters that make multiple cookies with one imprint. This saves on dough and time and is just plain fun!
The separating pieces between each cookie needed to be thick enough so that when the cookies rise by the baking process, they won’t stick together. This is also why we decided against silicone for this design. Imprints needed to be sharp to work. I researched other materials like stainless steel and different plastics. I weighed benefits like cost, safety, and utility and settled on ABS plastic.
We had so much fun with the Escher concept we tried designing a “things that go” version and an “alien and robots” version. Both were nixed with testing. The shapes proved too hard to decipher.
Since our factory specialized in silicone only, we had to outsource the making of the plastic molds. I hired an experienced inspector to visit the factory and supervise the making of the molds and the first batch of product.
Praline Shaped Marshmellow Molds:
Jumbo Gummy Bear Molds:
Gummy Worm Molds:
Matching Apron and Chef Hat Sets, for Adults and Children:
Candy Shaped Teething Bracelet:
This case study writing is in progress. More coming every day. I’m still working on putting the assets together.