IAmElemental Universe set out to change the conversation about girls and power. They are not anti-doll or anti-princess. Rather, they subscribe to the notion that if you give a girl a different toy, she will tell a different story. And, if you change the way that a girl plays, you can change the way she thinks. In the IAmElemental Universe, the girl is the Superhero, and the action figures are the personification of her powers; powers that already reside inside of her, and are there for her to use at will. Called the Elements of Power, they are the building blocks of character, and the key to a strong and health body, mind and spirit.
Our first question is why action figures for girls? Do they play with them…really?!
The idea for IAmElemental was born out of an ongoing conversation between Co-Founders Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau. Unhappy with the hypersexualized figures on the market, they began to ponder why male superheroes, like Spiderman, appeal to both a four-year-old boy and a forty-year-old man, but the same could not be said about female superheroes. Kerwin had just read Angela Duckworth’s pioneering study about Grit, heard brain expert Jo Ann Deak pronounce that “boys and girls are as different from the neck up as they are from the neck down,” and was knee-deep in “Girl Power” read-alouds with her six-year-old son when, as improbable as it may sound, the answer seemed to burst forth fully-formed (and fully-armed) like Athena from her father Zeus’ forehead. “It’s not superheroes, it’s superpowers.” Five little words, that’s all it took. Within twenty-four hours they had a fully-formed company mission, a domain name, and the start of a very big idea.
What is the key innovation in the process of construction?
We are very proud of the nine-point articulation of our figures, which are designed for imaginative, active play. They pose, stand, move and sit without splaying their legs inappropriately. They each wear armor; have a removable, interchangeable accessory that speaks to their superpower, and an identifying shield they can hold in their hand. We spent a lot of time ensuring that the action figures represent a forward-thinking design and engineering sensibility beyond what is typically found in products geared towards girls, and we are thrilled with the result.
Any challenges so far?
We spent a great deal of time collecting stories of powerful women who have done amazing things. One of our challenges was narrowing down these incredible women into a muse for our first action figure series, Courage. We ultimately chose Joan of Arc. Leading an army into battle was not only exceedingly rare for women of her time, but men as well. The fact that she was only a teenager at the time significantly adds to her allure. Joan of Arc was honest, persistent, industrious, enthusiastic, and she was brave. Her story sends a clear and powerful message that, no matter our circumstances, everyone has the capacity to be Courageous and do amazing things.
How did you design it?
We partnered with the professionals: Tim Conroy and his team at EleventyPlex design in Cincinnati, OH. We are so “Twenty-First Century” that everything has been done by conference call. In fact, we joke that we are two “Charlies,” and they are our “Angels.” All joking aside, we have become a tight-knit team, and they played an active part in our creative process, as well as the prototyping and design. We plan to work together for a very long time.
How did you make this happen?
We didn’t make it happen, the amazing Kickstarter community made it happen. We launched on Kickstarter on May 13, raised $35,000 in the first two days, and expect to raise $150,000 to $200,000 by the campaign’s conclusion on June 12. Because they used their Superpowers to back us, we will get to put Power in the hands of people in all fifty states and as far away as Australia and Japan. We are eternally grateful to our Backers for their incredible show of support.
Less than 68-hours to go, know more about the Superheros for Girls and how to get one for yourself, hit this link.