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20 Under 30: Claire Cole

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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.

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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.