European Business: Infento celebrates the idea of making instead of buying. What made you believe that it would be a viable business model to pass on this ideal?
Sander Letema: Today's society is in need of more durable concepts – not only because people like and demand durability, but because that is the direction we need to head into in order to save our planet and keep it livable. Infento empowers your children to become makers instead of consumers. Besides being made of durable materials and not cheap plastics, an Infento kit will grow along with your child, which eliminates the need to buy multiple toy rides.
European Business: A little while ago, the Dutch internet entrepreneur Ben Woldring promoted teaching kids to code in schools. Your product on the other hand promotes teaching kids to build and engineer. Which skill set matters more in the 21st century?
Sander Letema: Both coding to acquire computer skills and building with physical objects to foster engineering skills are essential in the 21st century – but they aren’t opposites. They complement one another really well. Infento teaches kids to think creatively and solve problems, which are invaluable competences to succeed in the jobs of the future, including coding-related careers.
Today's society is in need of more durable concepts – not only because people like and demand durability, but because that is the direction we need to head into in order to save our planet and keep it livable. Sander Letema
European Business: Infento is not the only product out there which allows kids to craft and design something unique. Often, however, a child’s frustration tolerance will be much lower than an adult’s. How do you make sure that your product stays fun all the way through?
Sander Letema: Infento distinguishes itself by the uniqueness of the ride you can build together as a family. Working towards such a cool goal – a product you can actually play with afterwards – makes it easy to keep kids enthusiastic. Parents can also play a great part in actively encouraging kids to think along in the process. Engage them by asking questions, let them do the measurements and read the manuals. The reward will be very satisfying and your children will be incredibly proud of having built something so big and beautiful by themselves.
Working towards such a cool goal – a product you can actually play with afterwards – makes it easy to keep kids enthusiastic. Sander Letema
European Business: When you started a Kickstarter campaign for your product line aimed at families, you ended up with approximately ten times the funds you had been seeking. Why do you think a DIY vehicle kit attracted such an enthusiastic following?
Sander Letema: Infento is really unique. There is no other DIY vehicle building kit like this in the world. We designed and developed every part of it ourselves. Not only did we want to make a unique modular product, we also invested a lot of effort into the design. This shines through in our ride kits and convinced our Kickstarter investors. We think we succeeded in creating a concept that is versatile, durable, and also looks really cool. We’re very happy that so many families supported our project!
European Business: The Instagram feed embedded on your website features a great many creative designs your customers built from Infento’s sets. What was the most creative vehicle you’ve seen there yet?
Sander Letema: Our partner in Korea has built an amazing tank and a life-size robot from Infento kits. We have seen a wide range of customized rides, and we especially liked the ride-on horse a customer crafted for his daughter. It’s great to see how Infento unleashes creativity in people.
Interview: Julian Miller | Pictures: Infento B.V.