News & Press
"After many conversations with her own young sons — Micah, 12, Asa, 10, and Ezra, 8 — about crossing the street safely in their New York City neighborhood, Kittay and her business partner, Dawn Nadeau, decided to create a video to help teach children that the only way to ensure their safety when crossing the street, even in a crosswalk, is to catch “the eye of the driver.”
"Studies have shown that girls’ career ambitions can be heavily influenced by their playthings. But when moms Dawn Nadeau and Julie Kerwin started searching for female action figures that were athletic and empowering—as opposed to dolls like Barbie, most of which cannot even bend their limbs—they were dismayed to find … none. (Well, aside from “hypersexualized figures for adult male collectors,” says Nadeau.) So using funds they raised on Kickstarter—$162,906 to be exact, more than quadruple their goal—they designed and commissioned a firm to build their IAmElemental series of action figures, meant to portray women as heroes with strong personalities. Each figure embodies a different “element” of heroism, like persistence or honesty. “The idea that girls could save the world—that’s a very powerful fantasy,” says Nadeau."
"From creating new superheroes to making customizable printable makeup, women have been seriously busy this year transforming the way we live... Most of the female action heroes dominating the toy market seem to emphasize physique as opposed to character (if you don't know what we're talking about, take another look at Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel, and Storm). That was the concern that inspired two mothers, Dawn Nadeau and Julie Kerwin, to create I Am Elemental, a new collection of female superheroes all about what makes women actually successful, like Honesty, Bravery, and Enthusiasm."
"There is a fundamental approach to life for those with a warrior mentality: Don’t get conditioned to accepting the status quo and do consistently seek the next level. I spent some time recently speaking with Dawn Nadeau, a business warrior of the first degree. Dawn is a team member for Women Moving Millions, an international community of philanthropists who seek to instill “a thread that runs through projects for women to inspire giving at the million-dollar level.” She was part of the originalFast Company team, served as a director at Fortune, and was a vice president at Goldman Sachs. She knows a little about how to take herself — and the people around her — to the next level."
"Anyone who pays attention to toys must have noticed that, while there are zillions of action figures aimed at boys, there are very few for girls. And the female figurines tend to have uber Barbie-like proportions. New York City neighbors and fellow mothers Dawn Nadeau and Julie Kerwin noticed that too. And they decided to do something about it."
"Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau got tired of sorting through all the hyper-sexualized action figures in the toy aisle and decided to try making their own."
"In March, the academic journal Sex Roles published a study suggesting that young girls who played with Barbie dolls ended the play session thinking that when they grow up, they won't be as capable of doing the same jobs that boys can do—even if their Barbie was dressed like a doctor. Girls who played with a formless Mrs. Potato Head figure, on the other hand, were much less likely to count themselves out. Now, New York City moms Dawn Nadeau and Julie Kerwin are teaming up to offer boys and girls a play alternative that looks like a woman but not an object. Last month, they launched their own action figure company, IAmElemental, and have since raised over $160,000 on Kickstarter to jump-start a line of female action figures inspired by everyday “superpowers” like bravery, honesty, persistence, and fear. I talked with Nadeau (who has two girls, ages 6 and 8) and Kerwin (two boys, 8 and 16) about taking on Mattel, how to get boys to pick up female action figures, and the challenges of molding a plastic butt."
"IAmElemental Action Figures for Girls, which describes its toys as “more heroines, less hooters,” has already blown past its funding goal. After researching action figures, the creators noticed that the typical female action figure was designed not for a girl or a boy but for an adult male collector. So they made sure their toys had “healthier breast, waist and hip ratios” and made sure to feature “fierce, strong females worthy of an active, save-the-world storyline that fosters creativity in kids.” Most important, instead of receiving their super powers externally (e.g., from a spider bite), these girls have their powers within."