The panel, from East London’s Maryland Primary School in Stratford, will name new product items as well as writing product descriptions that can be understood by children of the same age.
We launched the initiative at our Stratford shop on 14 July, with the whole panel in attendance. On display there is a duvet cover designed by the panellists, which will now go into production ahead of going on sale in September this year.
Descriptions written by the panel (some of which we’ve included below) will appear on product packaging and on our website. The children have also named 4 products, including “Mr Sharky” the Shark Bean Bag and “Tommy” the toy Monkey. Omar Kamran, aged 6, who named the Shark Bean Bag said, “I always go shopping with my mum and dad and now I am part of it as my opinions count.”
Kai Prasal, aged 7, who has designed a new duvet cover which will be included in the collection, said, “It’s good giving toys names, because that’s how they come alive. I like my rainbow design as it has got lots of bright colours and is nice to look at. It was very exciting and I feel very lucky to do it.”
Our buyer, Jo Unsworth, says: “Children very much like to be involved in the design process of their rooms, and are naturally very creative. This year we decided to work with a small group of children to find out exactly what they want for their bedrooms. With the help from our ‘Little Panel’, we will aim to make buying children’s homewares easier for parents and more fun for the kids themselves.”
Dr Pat Spungin, Child Psychologist commented: “Children start to assert their independence and individuality from a very young age.
With toddlers it’s often tantrums and saying ‘no’, but as children grow older they’re more comfortable expressing their personality. One of the ways in which they can do this is by choosing how to decorate their own personal space, their bedroom. Being able to choose among different furnishing styles, gives a child the feeling of independence and self-confidence that comes from making an important decision.”
Lorna Jackson, Head Teacher at Maryland Primary School, said, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for the children, who have really enjoyed being involved. We see children develop their own personal taste at a young age, and we encourage them to express their personalities as much as possible.”
Aleksandra Zivkovic-Buljcik, Teodora Buljcik’s mum, “It’s fantastic to see a retailer such as John Lewis involving children in product decisions. Over the last few years Teodora has developed her own taste and interests, for example, she particularly likes owls, so is naturally drawn to products that include them. I encourage her choices as this is how she expresses her personality.”
Omar Kamran, aged 6, commented: “He would fit in my bedroom - and also I can bring him with me in the car to make the journey interesting.”
Jasmine Rannie, aged 6, gave it the
Jasmine Rannie, aged 6, described this as “good to cuddle up as a pillow in bed. I can dream of the sea. We could play games to do with the beach.”
Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini aged 7, gave it the name: ‘Lewis the Crab’
Lorenzo Hindley-Quattrini aged 7, said “I like the yellow the best because it’s the brightest. It reminds me of the sun.”