ExplorerTots is the lifelong dream of Sarah Lewis and her husband Tom who, after spending years coming up with different business ideas, took the brave decision to launch their brand in 2018 when Sarah left her corporate job after having their second son.
The aim of ExplorerTots is to get children aged between three and eight excited and inquisitive about the world around them. With plans to develop an extensive product range, ExplorerTots’ first foray into the children’s toy market is ExplorerBox, a collection of themed activity boxes, currently available in science, woodland and space themes. Inside each box there are four activities, all the materials and instructions needed to create the different mini projects, fun fact cards to talk about together and ideas for other activities to extend the learning and fun.
One of the main considerations in the development of the ExplorerBox product was the box itself. Sarah and Tom recognised that it was one of the most important aspects of the user experience, so to help turn their dream into a reality they enlisted the help of packaging specialist DS Smith.
Sarah explained: ‘I had a really strong vision for the design of the ExplorerBox and wanted it to be in a suitcase style with strong, bright colours and inspiring images to get the children and their families excited as soon as it arrives in the post. We got in touch with DS Smith after being recommended by a friend, and the team were really enthusiastic and responsive from the start.’
DS Smith was challenged with taking the ExplorerBox from a design idea to the final concept. The key requirement was to ensure the box was structurally sound, as it does not have any additional outer packaging and doubles up as a carry case and storage for children to use. The design experts at DS Smith created the final box with a suitcase handle that can be easily assembled upon arrival, but still forms part of the main structure in manufacture.
To achieve the strong, bright colours on the packaging, digital print was used to create vibrancy and flexibility. With ambitious plans for the future of the brand, the digital print capabilities will enable Sarah and Tom to launch different themed boxes and seasonal promotions quickly and easily. ExplorerTots’ mission to connect children with the environment was also important in identifying the fibres for the packaging and all materials used are recyclable, with the majority made from recycled liners. The colours on the pack were also chosen to promote the sustainability and reusability of the box.
Speaking about the final design and her experience of working with DS Smith, Sarah said: ‘We received real support and enthusiasm from DS Smith for getting our business off the ground. DS Smith works with some really big companies and although we are a small start up, we always felt like a really valued customer.
‘The team understood what we were trying to achieve and the pressures we are under as a new business, helping us to bring the ExplorerBox to life in the most cost effective way possible while also building our brand. We received a lot of support and patience in navigating the packaging industry for the first time and doing it part-time around bringing up our children. We couldn’t be more delighted with the final product. It is perfect!’
Sara Blount, sales manager e-commerce at DS Smith UK, added: ‘The digital print capabilities used to create the ExplorerBox mean that Sarah and Tom have the flexibility to change the design or do a seasonal variation in a short space of time. Using digital gives the brand real flexibility, which for a start up business is always a huge benefit, and it also provides vibrancy with the colours used to create powerful brand recognition.
‘The box needed to be robust and durable to withstand the e-commerce supply chain and be an item that families can keep and re-use, while also being child friendly, exciting to look at and sustainable. We have worked really closely with Sarah and Tom over the past year to develop a product that meets and exceeds all of these criteria, and we can’t wait to see where ExplorerTots goes in the future.’