Written By Kath
Katherine is a mom of two girls, a teacher and a self-described dilettante. Join her in Losing It as she shares slices of her hectic life and eclectic interests.Read Her Blog "Losing It!"
Harumika. What is it? That was the question on the minds of most of the Go2Girlz who took part in our recent product testing program. We asked 100 Go2Girlz and their daughters to test out this new fashion-design toy in their homes and tell us what they thought. Most of our testing panel members were skeptical at first, although it seems that many of their girls were more enthusiastic, like Freda’s daughter, who received the package on her birthday (perfect!) “when I opened the package my daughter screamed, ‘oh my gosh this is so beautiful, I can make my own style outfits! Gail’s daughter also responded enthusiastically as she tells us, “my daughter said ‘wow–this is so cool!'”
Although the concept seems novel at first, playing with Harumika is amazingly simple and straightforward, as our Go2Girlz and their girls (and some boys, too!) soon found out. The mannequin pops into its base, and then you get busy designing outfits. Simply wrap the fabric swatches around the mannequin and tuck them into the channel in the back with a custom-designed tool. The channel is lined with soft plastic that holds the fabric securely in place, but not to worry, it’s very easy to remove it when you want to create a new outfit. The fabric swatches are endlessly reusable, and Harumika is compatible with any other small fabric remnants you may have around the house, so it’s easy to add on to this toy, too.
Our Go2Girlz were absolutely unanimous in identifying the top benefit of Harumika: imaginative play. Most of our testers reported that their daughters spent hours (yes, hours) at a time designing outfits with their Harumika sets. Here’s what Mary, Go2Girlz member and mom of 2 had to say, “when I first looked at it I didn’t see it as being something that would hold a child’s attention for very long: was I wrong. I gave this product to my child yesterday when she told me she was bored…5 hrs later she was still sitting quietly playing with it.” In addition, our testers loved that once the packaging was open it was very simple for girls as young as six to play with Harumika successfully without Mom’s help. Here’s what Tina, mom of 1 had to say, “I love how easy it is for a child to use so my daughter was able to create things on her own while I made dinner. My only job with this toy was to take pictures of each new style that she created!”
In fact, only one of our 100 Go2Girlz product testing panel reported that her daughter didn’t like this toy. Many of the moms who tested Harumika reported that not only did their daughters love it, but their sons were intrigued to try it as well. Our testers pointed out that Harumika is a toy that appeals to a wide range of ages, with kids from 6 to 12 spending hours enjoying playing with it. More than one of our testers commented that it would make an excellent birthday present, commenting that the price point for the starter kits is very reasonable for such a versatile toy.
Several of the Go2Girlz commented that they’d like to see more fabric swatches in the starter kit, although more than one mentioned simply cutting small swatches from leftover fabric around home in order to make the toy even more versatile. One little girl was disappointed that the clothes she created couldn’t be used to dress her dolls with afterwards, but the overall feedback is that once children understand the purpose of the toy, they love to create fashions over and over again. Some of our testers mentioned that they’d like something to keep the pieces in – luckily Harumika makes some kits that include purses for this purpose, like the Harumika Fashion Show and Go Set.
Here’s a sample of what else the Go2Girlz had to say about Harumika:
I thought this was one of the most innovative toys I’ve seen in ages. My girls (9 & 6) both adored it and we’ve gotten hours upon hours of play value out of it. It has a great return appeal for them and after a week it hasn’t collected any dust. I must admit, I have spent a fair bit of time enjoying playing with it myself! – Katherine, mom of 2
I thought that this product was a very fresh and new idea. I loved the concept and knew that my daughter would love it too. – Jody, mom of 1
Very unique! Something I have never seen before! – Uzma, mom of 3
Initially I thought there was no way that my 10 year old would want to play with this for more than 5 minutes… boy was I ever wrong!!! – Yvonne, mom of 2
Well put together. A little girl’s dream to design their own clothes for their dolls without sewing etc. – Eileen, mom of 2
Wished it was around when I was young! – Lori, mom of 3
Very interesting and easy to manipulate – Michelle, mom of 4
We thought it looked really cool. I couldn’t get all the plastic off fast enough. – Rebecca, mom of 2
Encourages creativity in a really experimental way. Very versatile, lots of combinations. – Freda, mom of 2
It is easy and you can do it with your child. – Nicole, mom of 3
It promotes creativity (even my 10 year old son liked it and helped get creative.) There are endless combinations of designs. It was easy for a 7 year old to use. – Gail, mom of 2
It is great. Both my girls (8 and 6) love creating all the different styles. It is really easy to use even for little fingers. – Kelly, mom of 3
First off although it only came with three fabrics, I quickly went to my stash of odds and ends and found many more to add to what it comes with. That already was a huge plus. Secondly I loved that it can be styled in many ways. My daughter lives for toys that are multi purpose. It did not take long before ‘quinny’ (short of mannequin) made friends with her barbies. – Suzanne, mom of 1
Easy to use, safe and offers a lot of variety. – Sandy, mom of 3
Allows children to express their sense of style and uniqueness! – Uzma, mom of 3
There really isn’t anything else like it. My daughter thought it was very cool that she can design her own clothes. – Susan, mom of 1
I love the fact that you can just insert the fabric in the back easily and it stays put. The stickers add a little bling to the outfit. – Jennifer, mom of 3
After seeing my girls play with it, I think the fun thing for them is getting to create all sorts of different ‘looks’. The fun thing for me is that it is mess-free (no glue or tiny beads, etc) and it is a quiet, calming activity. – Nicole, mom of 2
The product itself is such a fabulous new idea. It takes on a whole new spin from my days of dressing barbie and her friends. – Margaret, mom of 1
Imagination, Imagination, Imagination! In order to even start to use it, you need to get your imagination going!! – Uzma, mom of 3
I think I have to buy more Harumika kits because my 2 sons were fighting to have a turn. – Ellen, mom of 3