For many of us, the holidays are about toys or parties—or both. But it can feel overwhelming to find well-made, kid-friendly gear at this time of year. So when I see products designed as thoughtfully and crafted as lovingly as Kid O’s, I feel giddy and grateful. Kid O’s founder Lisa Mahar’s philosophy of letting users’ imagination loose is clearly visible in her creative process.
What is the most creative thing you have made or are most proud of?
That would be whatever I’m working on now. When I start a new project I do my best to address the weaknesses of the previous one, so hypothetically each new project should be better than the last one. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s very motivating to believe that my next project will be my best.
When you create something, do you follow a linear path?
For me, initial ideas occur at random times and places. Once things fall into place, there’s usually a set path to completion.
How does time affect your process? Is your process fast or slow?
It depends. For commercial work, the process has to be relatively fast because there are deadlines. For personal work, I have time to explore and I push myself in different ways. For both, success comes from working at the problem every day no matter how uninspired I might feel. Practice and perseverance make all the difference.
Do you remember how you made things when you were young? Has your method of creating changed or evolved over time?
My attitude has changed much more than my method. I’m less judgmental now, and that’s brought greater joy, tension and complexity to my work.
Where or when do you feel most creative?
When I’m behind a camera.
What environment did you grow up in that helped foster your creativity?
Until I started studying architecture my second year in college, I never thought of myself as creative. I was lucky to have incredibly talented teachers there that gave me a versatile, interdisciplinary education and the skills required to work in a wide range of creative disciplines. I’ve thrived on my diverse work experiences in writing, graphic design, architecture, photography and industrial design.
Where does the initial seed come from?
It can come from anything, often from the most mundane and unexpected places. For me, it’s usually when ideas from different disciplines collide.
Kid O Products can be found locally at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Stitch, Cat and Mouse, Play, and Komoda.