Ingenues is an exciting new not-for-profit company which makes educational activity boxes for children. Each box is based on an inspirational woman and contents can include information, activities, experiments, costume and educational apps related to them and their field.
The idea for Ingenues came about around Christmas 2015, shortly after the release of the much anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My daughter is eight and she loves Star Wars. Her bedroom is like a shrine and until she was seven if you asked her, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, her answer was always a builder, an engineer or Luke Skywalker. These are all admirable inspirations. What made me sad was that she thought you needed to be male to be any these things. She wasn’t getting access to all the wonderful inspirational role models to tell her that this wasn’t the case. This was reinforced with the omission of Rae action figures in The Force Awakens merchandise and marketing and I was pleased to see that people reacted to this, questioning those responsible for decision making. I dreamt up some activity boxes, each one about a different inspirational figure that could promote those jobs and stories and the women behind them. When I realised that this wasn’t being made, I started talking to people, asking who their inspirational figures were and what they would want for the children in their lives or for themselves when they had been a child. The excitement with which people started reeling off names and ideas decided it for me. This was something that I would need to make myself.
The most important decisions for me were the ones that I made right at the start. I wanted everything to be tested by children, to make sure that these were products that they really wanted, not one’s they were being told they should like. I wanted each box to include everything that they would need without having to go and source additional, and often expensive materials. I wanted to promote and utilise local small businesses, freelancers and manufacturer in order to create each box.
Since launching, the reaction has been fantastic and it's been exciting to be able to offer workshops and parties to accompany the boxes in a variety of locations.
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You can see more about how Ingenues started in this fantastic article by Victoria Holland for Look North East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.