Connetix Tiles was created by two families who met when their children started elementary school together. They decided to create their own version of magnetic tiles that could help children unleash their creativity through educational games. Connetix tiles feature clear refractions and bright colors that kids can use to build any structure they can think of, from castles and towers to animals and vehicles.
The toy book sat down with Brea Brand, Director of Connetix, to learn more about the company’s educational roots and how kids can get the most out of these imaginative magnetic tiles.
The toy book: Tell us how Connetix got its start.
Brand Brea: Connetix Tiles was officially launched in 2019 by myself and my business partner Dave, whom I met when our children started elementary school together. We both appreciate high quality, evolutionary toys that help children learn and develop. After seeing how our children not only enjoyed playing with the magnetic tiles, but learned while doing so, we decided to create our own version that was strong and safe while providing clearer refractions than current tiles on the market.
I am an experienced primary school and early childhood teacher with a Masters degree and mother of three. I am incredibly passionate about learning children through play and have experienced the benefits open resources can bring to helping children learn and develop.
My business partner Dave has a strong entrepreneurial background combined with 5 years working as a mechanical designer in engineering offices. He also has extensive experience in manufacturing and shipping quality products.
Together we combined our passion and skills to launch Connetix Tiles, an iconic brand of bevelled magnetic tiles.
VG: Why is STEAM learning so important for kids? How can Connetix help children learn these skills?
BB: The world is changing at a rapid pace. New technologies are constantly emerging, which means that society must adapt and develop new skills. Today’s children need to develop a variety of skills, flexibility and a passion for exploration. A perfect way to do this is to use STEAM learning. STEAM is the abbreviation of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. STEAM learning is an integrated approach that empowers children to think creatively, work collaboratively, and be curious and innovative in problem solving.
Connetix is a highly effective open-ended toy and a great way for kids to enjoy STEAM learning! By simply playing with Connetix, children explore a wide range of STEAM disciplines and skills. Stimulating creativity and imagination, the Connetix game lets children engage with magnetism, gravity, force and motion, shapes, counting, measurement, colors, patterns, symmetry, light (physical), weight and stability, as well as social-emotional learning, such as collaborative skills, problem solving and flexible thinking.
TB: Can you describe how Connetix products can grow with children?
BB: The wonderful thing about open-ended toys is that they can be used in many different ways and across many age ranges, with play becoming more complex as a child’s development progresses. Because there’s no right or wrong way to play with open-ended toys, they encourage children to express themselves creatively and can accommodate all of their interests and learning needs.
Connetix is a toy where play and learning connect. They are a perfect example of an open toy that not only helps develop a child’s imagination and creativity, but also helps them grow. with the child. While a young child can explore the simple colors, shapes and magnetic features of Connetix, as they experience and learn they can begin to explore building 2D or 3D shapes, designing animals and towers, and evolve naturally into large complex structures, ball races. , or games.
TB: How is Connetix different from other construction toys?
BB: In an industry that can be highly competitive and oversaturated, we strive to create high-quality products with signature features that promote open learning through play. We believe the success of Connetix products and brand stems from this ambition and this foresight. Connetix are high quality unique beveled magnetic tiles that provide clear refractions, strong magnets and promote learning through play. Our tiles also feature strong magnets with ultrasonic welding and rivets to make magnetic play more safe for little hands.
We take great pride in being world leaders producing innovative designs such as our signature pastel range; ball course sets including clear and corrugated tubing and specialty parts; our distinctive car bases with real rubber wheels; and exciting geometric shapes such as large hexagons.
TB: Many Connetix employees are also educators. How does this add more educational value to the products?
BB: As a brand, we actively champion the value of open play for all children and the educational benefits that Connetix can provide. As nearly a third of our workforce is made up of parents with a Master’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, we believe we are in a unique position to provide a thorough understanding of these benefits.
Connetix uses the expertise, knowledge and experience of our employees to help our customers and retailers by offering inspiration, ideas and support. Our team’s experience also means we can champion the value of learning through play by creating accurate blog posts, educational videos, and information sharing on our website and social media.
TB: How has the company evolved since its beginnings in 2019?
BB: Connetix first started out as a two-person show operating out of Dave’s garage. In the wake of the pandemic, it quickly became apparent that Connetix was getting bigger than Dave and I could handle. So we increased the company’s talent pool – first to help customer service and soon after, marketing and other areas of the business.
From the beginning, the goal has always been to not only provide high quality toys that the whole family can enjoy, but also to provide incredible customer service to customers and retailers. We’ve always made it a priority to go the extra mile in these areas and I think that’s why we’ve seen Connetix build up a loyal customer and retailer base as well as an organic social media following. Our Instagram alone has over 200,000 followers who are actively engaged in our ideas and inspiration on how to use Connetix. We love what we do and we love seeing the joy that Connetix brings to others!
TB: What have been the biggest challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and how has Connetix persevered?
BB: During the pandemic, we simultaneously experienced a drastic increase in global demand as well as impacted production and shipping capacities, which created many challenges. We were forced to look at how we were doing things and implement changes where we could in order to support the business as well as the people involved.
This primarily saw Dave working directly with manufacturing and shipping to increase productivity and quality, while I focused on promoting the value that Connetix provides as an upgradable toy and ensuring customer service. and incredible team morale. We worked extremely hard to ensure that Connetix was still able to continue to grow and develop during this unpredictable and challenging time.
TB: What are some of your new goals or new products planned for this year?
BB: We continue to respond to how our community plays with Connetix and hear what additions they would like to see join the Connetix product catalog. With many exciting new releases planned for next year, the first new products to be launched in the coming months will include a new Clear range, expanding our range of baseplates to include more colors, and exciting new packs for complete our popular ball race which is sure to be a huge hit with Connetix fans!
We plan to continue to champion the value of play even more through open-ended toys in the coming year!