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Mamma Couture Doll Q&A with Eva Berkes - Best toy design (0-2 years) 2014 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

We meet the founder behind the 2014 Junior Design Award highly commended entry

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What is your name and job title?

Eva Berkes, founder of Mamma Couture.

What did you love to play with the most, as a child?

My sister and I loved to pretend to be lost in the forest. We would inevitably find a (imaginary) baby or two and care for them. We would fight bears and wolves and we would build awesome dens.

What do you love most about the world of children’s toys?

Babies are often more interested in the box and the wrapping paper than in the actual gift. This is representative of their spontaneity and fantasy at playing. It is great when toys respect this aspect of childhood, leaving babies the space to experiment and create games.

Why would children love to play with this toy?

The Matryoshka doll is more than a toy; she is a companion. She comforts. The attachment a child has with her comforter is very strong and goes on for years. The child can bring her everywhere and she helps during the delicate time of separation (nights, naps and nursery). The shape of the Matryoshka is anthropomorphic but leaves space for imagination. The arms of the Matryoshka are easy for little hands to grab and the body is soft and cuddly. The material and colour combinations make for interesting texture discoveries and the removable shawl is an added fun for older babies, who love to put it on and remove it, encouraging fine motor skills.

The Matryoshka doll is a gift for now as much as for later, as memories and emotions will attach to her over the years. (The lucky people who had a comforter when little always get a bit emotional when they find it again years and years later, for example my father found his bear, when my grandmother passed away, and that bear is now in the place of honour on the shelve in the living room, 60 later, little hair left but lots of stories and memories.)

Why is it so great for this age group?

The Matryoshka doll has a ribbon on her arm to attach the pacifier. Pacifiers are great to sooth and to help Baby fall asleep. The downside is that Baby will lose her pacifier at night and if she cannot find it herself will cry until someone does. With the Matryoshka doll, Baby will learn that the pacifier is attached to the arm and by finding the doll she will automatically find the pacifier, resulting in longer, uninterrupted nights for otherwise sleep deprived parents. The other great advantage is that Baby associate pacifier (comfort) to the doll, so when it is time to wean Baby the transition is smoother.

Why did you enter this toy into the Junior Design Awards?

Mamma Couture is at its beginning and it is fundamental for its development to receive feedbacks from customers and professionals. Entering this contest is a great way to have expert’s feedback about my product.

What do you predict for the future of children’s toys?

With all the technology potentials, a big slice of the toys of the future will be computer based, even for the very little ones. A smaller slice will be a comeback to simple, intelligent and natural designs. As said, children don't need much because fantasy plays a very important role in their games and we need to leave room to fantasy for them to develop their creativity.


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