Portland-based Yellow Scope impresses at national toy events, plans more science kits for girls

Portland-based Yellow Scope’s Foundation Chemistry Kit might not have won the 2016 Educational Toy of the Year Award, presented by the Toy Industry Association, but they certainly made an impression.

“It was great to get validation (from this industry that is so new to us) that our product is among the best out there,” said Yellow Scope co-founder Marcie Colledge. “People were impressed (and surprised) to learn that we went from a Kickstarter project to being a finalist for Toy of the Year in less than one year.”

Colledge, who has a doctorate in neuroscience and has run her own research lab, founded Yellow Scope with Kelly McCollum, who has a public health master’s degree in epidemiology and biostatistics and has been involved in large-scale biomedical research studies.

They attended a red-carpet style event for the awards ceremony in February 2016 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

“As scientists, the location couldn’t have been any better,” Colledge said.

The Yellow Scope duo also attended a toy fair in conjunction with the awards, meeting other people in the toy industry and making connections with other toy makers, retailers and industry leaders.

Media attention hasn’t hurt either.

“The press that has come along with the award has been great for getting the word out about Yellow Scope and our mission — the stores/retailers are hearing about us through professional organizations and individuals are finding us on top toy lists, which has been good for business,” Colledge said.

And Yellow Scope’s business is making science kits for girls — specifically to help inspire them to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“Our mission is to get girls excited about science and ultimately help close the huge gender gap in the STEM fields,” Colledge said.

Colledge and McCollum’s company is currently developing several new kits that could be released in the next six to 12 months.

“Our second kit will be another chemistry kit focused on acids, bases and pH,” Colledge said, adding that it will be available at a lower price point ($20) than Yellow Scope’s Foundation kit ($44). “This will make [the second kit] accessible to more families, which is really important to us.”

And in the next two years, the company will focus on getting its kits into the hands of families and girls through specialty toy and museum stores in the United States and Canada.

“We have plans to expand the Yellow Scope brand by developing a whole line of science kits for girls across different science topics — chemistry, biology, neuroscience, computer programming, physics, environmental science, food science and more. Within each line, there will be several kits on different topics and at different price points,” Colledge said.

And even though the 2016 educational toy award was ultimately won by a motorized robotic arm toy, the experience was a great one.

“It was truly an honor to be a finalist, and we will display the shiny silver award sticker with pride,” Colledge said.

To read more about Yellow Scope, check out Science In Portland’s earlier posts about the company: a mention of the kits as a resource for parents wanting to support their children’s education in the sciences and their kit demonstration at a 2015 Women in Science meeting.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science



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