On the Job With Toddler Toy and Fashion Designer Sharon Park

Former Kidrobot toy designer Sharon Park makes a move to a more fashionable side of design.

Sharon Park sketching designs at her desk.
Photo by Kate Rolston.

Sharon Park spends her day engaged in play—like, as her job. She originally fell in love with the lighthearted side of design during an internship at the Children’s Museum of Denver while pursuing a degree in industrial design from Denver Metro. She later made Kidrobot her playground, spending the better part of a decade as a toy designer for the cult brand. Earlier this year, she joined Goldbug as a senior designer for the apparel and accessory company focused on outfitting teeny, tiny humans. In her new role, she’s dipping a toe into the fashion world, designing both toys and baby accessories. “It’s been a change, but I am trying to evolve and challenge myself in different aspects of design,” she says. We caught up with Park to learn about the latest toddler trends.

What inspires the toys and accessories you make?
Everything around me is inspirational, as cheesy as it is to say. As I am evolving into exploring fashion and accessories, I look toward luxury brands, even for baby inspiration.

What makes for a good toy?
The No. 1 consideration is safety, and we are trying to be smart about designing products. When a toy has a small part, we need to think about how it will be tacked on and if it’s too sharp for a baby to play with. Having a lot of interactive features always makes a toy fun. It’s those little details that kids love—the rattle of a bear, the shine of a material or any kind of soothing sounds.

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What are the upcoming trends to keep an eye out for?
You have your cottagecore, which is super comfy and cozy, and then there is a lot of inspiration coming out of the metaverse and NFT spaces. The colors and materials are inspired by electronics and video games, so it is cool to see that interplay between tech and toys. Expect to see lots of toned-down colors and wonky patterns like checkers and stripes.

What’s the importance of infant fashion?
Parents these days are having fun teaching their kids to accessorize. This can start with things as silly and simple as teething necklaces. But it’s important. There is an uptick in all-inclusive and gender-neutral design for both fashion and toys. Not all baby girls will like pink, and parents are acknowledging that now, which I find really refreshing.