Caitrin Kincaid, who is originally from the Pennyburn area of Derry but now lives in Ballymena, came up with a game to entertain her children Cooper (6) and five-year-old Carter and keep them safe while walking on a busy main road near their home.
The game developed from a humble cardboard box created during a craft afternoon into a toy ‘Cubefun’.
Caitrin had never thought about turning her invention into a business, but after taking it to children’s parties and getting brilliant feedback she was encouraged to seek some business advice by a friend.
“I have been a stay at home mum for the last six years and I found the first lockdown really hard,” she said.
Caitrin said her sons - Cooper and Carter - are ‘so active and so full of energy’.
“Before lockdown we would have been at mums and tots in the morning and then in play parks in the afternoon to help them burn off that energy. I found that first lockdown, when we couldn’t even go to outdoor playparks, really tough.”
Caitrin lives close to a very busy road and said she would be ‘on her nerves’ while out walking with the boys.
“There is a loop that we would have walked regularly close to our home during lockdown. My boys were still at an age where I could put them in the double buggy when we went out for a walk. But wains being wains, they never wanted to stay in it.
“Because the road was so busy, I made up a game and they were only allowed out of the buggy if they played the game.”
Caitrin gave the boys an animal and they had to make the sound of the animal and do an action as they walked.
“I gave them a distance, like to the next lamp post or the next parked car, for each animal impression and that was a way of keeping them safe.”
Caitrin and her sons regularly do arts and crafts and the game was taken to another level when a package came in a perfectly formed cube box.
“I decided to use this box to make something with the boys. Cooper loves to draw and he drew a penguin and it was then I thought of using the cube for our game.”
Caitrin said her sons loved this added dimension to the game and it got fantastic feedback from other children in her extended family.
“A couple of weeks later, it was Cooper’s birthday and we had a socially distanced party in my mother’s house in Derry.
“I brought the cube with me and the kids all played with it and loved it.”
Caitrin took the cube to a few other parties that summer and a friend suggested she should look into making it into a toy.
“She convinced me to approach Go For It for some advice and then I got some funding, which I used it to get samples made.”
A year on, Cubefun has been officially launched and Caitrin is patiently waiting for the first order of toys to arrive.
“A few independent stores in Ballymena are going to be selling it and it is available online. I am trying to best to try to get it into independent shops in Derry too.
“If someone had told me a year ago that I would be selling this as a toy, I wouldn’t believe it. It is just mad.”
Caitrin said family support really spurred her on and she encouraged other people who have an invention or business idea to embrace it.
“Covid has taught us all that life is too short. I am really enjoying the whole process and have learned so much. Anyone with an idea should approach their target market, get feedback and if it is positive, just go for it.”
For more information visit: https://cubefun.co.uk/