Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


20 Under 30: Claire Cole

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Our "20 Under 30" interview series with the coolest Angelenos under 30 today features Claire Cole. In a way, Claire has never grown up: she designs toys for a living. She's even worked on the uber-toy, Barbie. And when she was living in Chicago, she came in 7th in an apple pie baking contest. Meet toy designer, almost-champion piemaker Claire Cole.

You currently design toys that go in cereal boxes. Tell us about the toy that you've worked on that's your favorite.
Actually my favorite toy that I have developed and designed so far was for Mattel, a beautiful disney princess doll. I would love to tell you more about it but you'll have to wait and see her in December when she becomes available to the public. But let's just say that she sparkles and glitters and will make any little girl giggle and smile with delight.

As for my current job, my role is in a constant shifting mode and each day something new is there for me to contribute to. I can't say that I have a favorite here at the moment.

Support for LAist comes from

At your last job, you came up with ideas for Barbie. What was that like? Is there more pressure working on Barbie than on other toys? Did you get any good swag?
My last job was not limited to just Barbie but toy inventions for the whole industry. Everyone from Hasbro to Fisher Price and everyone in between got attention. I think that each job has a specific type of stress that is centralized to its demands and requirements. At BMT there was constant pressure to come up with the next best thing, the next Barbie or Scrabble — it was a job that you never left, when you left work it went with you. Ideas don't just happen from 9 to 5, they are living breathing aspects of life — if they wanna get up in the middle of the night then you do to. My current job is so very different but the stress is there. Where with BMT ideation was the primary stress here at Logistix the deadlines are more rapid and demanding but that is normal and to be expected when dealing with production, manufacturing and distribution.

Do you go to school to learn product design?
I attended Otis College of Art and Design, majoring specifically in Toy Design and Development with an emphasis on child psychology and marketing. It is truly a rare program and I feel most fortunate to have received a BA in this particular area of study. Otis is one of the two colleges worldwide that offer this type of program and of these two colleges, Otis is the only one that offers a four year BA.

What made you decide to enter a Chicago baking contest?
One day while coming home from MI at a company retreat we stopped to pick apples, not just one or two but several bushels. My kitchen was overrun with apples and the only thing I could think of doing to make use of all the gorgeous fruit was to put it in a pie. The recipe was so well loved by friends and coworkers that one day while leaving a store and seeing a poster for the Apple Pie Bake-Off, I thought I might as well try. It was a great experience and one that I will always remember fondly. I never would have guessed in a million years that I would have had an almost award winning pie, 7th aint so bad.

Something I wrote on the subject:

Ever wonder what happens when boredom strikes in the midwest? if you guessed knitting or perhaps taxidermy then you would be terribly wrong, but if you were clever enough to have guessed bake off battles well then by golly you really are a quick one!

most of you have been already informed of my new "hobby" which ultimately results in peels of laughter of course after the gasps of horror have subsided. however if in case you missed it, allow me to recap: (cue trumpets)....and this years hobby of choice is baking! it is no wonder you are all now shaking your head in disbelief, after all this is the scrawny cali girl who now claims command of the kitchen, baking being the division of choice- the girl who has willingly chosen to scour apple orchards on saturday mornings and bake for the sake of baking- the girl who promotes the the first baking commandment "thou shalt not skimp on butter" while sporting vintage aprons and making use of silver spoons for lipgloss application!

anywhoo it was my first ever tho not to be the last, battle of baking. the mission (insert mission impossible theme music here) being to acquire ownership of best apple pie in chicago title. it was an open contest to all apple pie entries in the chicago area, most of which were submitted the best of the best bakers. tho i did not place first, i did however place in the top 10 ranking a lovely honorably mentioned 7th place out of 50 entries- not too shabby for this
cook of catastrophic endeavors (you should have seen the kitchen).

i will be taking orders.....

Which LA bakeries do you like?
Several bakeries come to mind. For cakes I love Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose and for brownies I am a fan of the Dutch American Bakery in Atwater village. Funny thing tho is that I am not quite so much a fan of sweet things, really I bake for others enjoyment and less for my own taste.

When you moved back to LA, had the city changed at all?
The city hadn't changed when I moved back, but I had. I had learned a lot more about myself and managed to develop a profound appreciation for the city. Each day I wake up and fall in love with her all over again. We have our good days and our bad, but when all is said and done I am a part of LA and LA is a part of me.

What is/are your favorite book(s)/CD(s)/movie(s)/TV show(s) about LA?
LA Confidential is a strong contender for a favorite LA movie and "Dragnet" for the leading tv show. As for music, I would say that Sublime is the epitome of musical embodiment of LA.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
Not particularly sure if LA has a center, more or less it is a living breathing entity. Just when I think I can pin point a epicenter it shifts. There is so much that is combined to make LA and they are additions from all over the sprawling expanse of LA such that choosing just one is virtually impossible. It is the combination of the parts that create the whole.

It's 9:30pm on a Thursday. Where are you, and where are you going?
Chances are I am just leaving work and headed over to Saints and Sinners in culver city to see my boyfriend (Sir Ian Dangerous — world's greatest bartender...shameless plug I know) and meet up with my best friend to hash out the day we just had. Now if it were a Tuesday night at 9:30 I'd say that we would be going for a walk through the city after dinner taking in all the little things around us- from blooming flowers in our neighbors garden to the click of high heels on the sidewalk.

If you could make one thing be different in LA for your 30th birthday, what would you change?
I don't think I would change a thing. My 30th is still a few years away and there is nothing desirable about changing LA for me, it is a city that belongs to everyone and to change one part would throw the fragile balance of the beautiful and treacherous that we so dearly treasure. For my 30th I would want LA to continue to evolve to her standards, influenced by all that contribute and detract from her.

Support for LAist comes from

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
Living my life, enjoying my existence- smiling and laughing with those I love near.

Most Read