From Attadale to a global stage: Local business, Connetix, takes out top Australian toy award
An Attadale toy business has shown that winning awards is literally ‘child’s play’, impressively pipping the Lego juggernaut to win the Educational/STEAM product of the year in the Australian Toy Awards.
Friends Brea Brand and Dave Alexander launched their Connetix magnetic toys three years ago after realising their personal strengths combined had the potential to create a standout educational toy.
Since then, Connetix magnetic tiles are sold by more than 700 retailers in 59 countries, with the childhood construction phenomenon amassing an Instagram following of more than 252,000.
Connetix tiles enable children to build 2D and 3D creations with just the tiles or additional add-on packs such as ball runs. The products are aimed at children from three years old, with teenagers and adults equally happy to play.
Brea said while she had long advocated for the educational value of Connetix, winning the STEAM toy award was validating and extremely humbling.
“Lego was also a finalist so to take out this award against a much bigger toy company has been incredible,” she said. “We were in shock and couldn’t believe it.”
The Educational or STEAM toy of the year acknowledges educational games and learning products that enhance a child’s development and IQ by fostering memory retention, maths, hand-eye coordination and reading skills.
Brea said her training as primary school and early childhood teacher combined with a business and marketing degree had married well with Dave’s finance nous and engineering background.
“Our kids go to school together and one day Dave said he had an idea he wanted to chat about so we had a meeting and it just grew from there,” she said.
“Connetix has just taken off – and it’s all been organically through social media. I think once parents got their hands on the product and realised how good it was, they started to share it.
“We now have almost 850 retailers in 59 countries and over 300 of those are small independent stores in Australia. We love that we’re supporting small businesses.”
Brea said Connetix was all about having fun while learning.
“The beauty of Connetix is that kids are learning while they’re playing – and parents actually enjoy playing it too. It’s one of those things where you can sit and play with your kids and it’s not boring or repetitive,” she said.
“Parents get involved in the ball runs, the playing, the creating and they know that their kids are learning so many different concepts like shapes, numbers, colours, magnetism, patterns, push and pull, engineering and even the social-type skills like perseverance, resilience, teamwork without them even realising.
“We had a mum email us once to say thank you. She’d bought Connetix for her younger child and her older son really took to them. She said it had been the first time he’d been off his iPhone and playing with a toy in a long time and he was obsessed with the ball run. Receiving feedback like that was really validating for us. We just love that our products are being so well loved.”
For more information visit Connetix.