When Kids Play Across Gender Line: Harrods Introduces A Gender Neutral Toy Store

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When walking into a toy store, most of the time we can realize that the toy merchandises are categorized and displayed based on the gender (boys/girls) and age these toys are designed for. The main reason many toy stores do so is because when parents trying to choose a toy for their kids, they can also browse other similar toys which also target the same group of kids; this can increase the possibility for parents to purchase additional products.

In the article "When kids play across gender lines", the author indicated that a British department store named Harrods recently reopened its toy department with a "fresh look". Unlike grouping toys into boys and girls, this 26,000 square foot store is broken into six interactive "worlds" with specific themes, such as forest, circus area and miniature toy world. As a result, dolls and trucks may be displayed side by side if they are under the same theme. In other words, the entire store is gender-neutral. The main reason Harrods trying to break the traditional way most toy stores display their merchandises is because they would like to change how toys are bought and sold. "Because we felt that was an antiquated way of looking at toys. I think increasingly kids are playing with an array of different toys and we wanted to give that balance." said by Matt Smith, lead designer of Harrods renovation project. Many parents also praise the new method Harrods organizes and displays their toy merchandises because "it's a step in the right direction toward breaking down the gender divide erected at an early age through playtime.", said by Carrie Goldman, a mother of three in Chicago.

In INFO 202 class, we discussed that multiple organizing principles are often applying in an organizing system, and principles may further influence the interaction between people and information. In the case of Harrods, they are also trying to create an interaction between kids and information kids acquire from the toys and the in-store environment. Even through the resources (merchandises) remains the same, by adopting new organizing principles, Harrods successfully brought up a new perspective and different ways people view their collections and business.

article: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/27/living/harrods-gender-neutral-toys/index.html