July 17, 2015
For littleBits, everything is about empowering people to invent via their electronic building blocks. To date they’ve inspired thousands to start building and inventing, all of whom share littleBits’ mission to put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone.
It’s ambitious, but their adherence to that mission recently brought littleBits a $44 million funding round that the team decided to allocate towards expanding their distribution efforts. To that end they’ve announced the launch of a pop up store front as part of that effort, marking their first foray into an independent retail location.
The littleBits store will be located in New York City, at 355 West Broadway in the SoHo disctrict. It will be officially opening on July 31 and will run through the 2015 holiday season, featuring a continuous stream of talks, classes, and hands on activities from everybody from beginners to STEM educators and experienced inventors.
To help design the store, littleBits commissioned the award winning Montreal design firm, Daily tous le jours (DTLJ). They’ve worked on large scale participatory experiences like the Musical Swings and the Giant Sing Along.
“littleBits is one of the most inspiring electronics products: it is changing the way we live with technology, demystifying it, and befriending it,” says Melissa Mongiat and Mouna Andraos, cofounders of DTLJ. “It is an honor to design their first store and contribute to the revolution that littleBits is enabling. The littleBits Store is a place for experimentation and collective invention, where anyone feels empowered by technology and compelled to tell their own stories with it.”
In that light, the littleBits Store is effectively a lab for invention where everybody can unleash their creativity. Specifically, the store is targeted at families, educators, and creative professionals. LittleBits is promising to take their visitors on a journey of invention via a series of interactive experiences:
- Get inspired: Warm up with the musical twister wall, a new take on and homage to the iconic – and sadly gone – FAO Schwarz giant piano
- Create inventions: Take a seat at one of the workshop tables in the lab and create your own invention such as a Keytar, a BitBot car, a self-powered drawing machine, or anything from your imagination
- Share creations: Step into the ‘Get Snapped Photo Booth’ to share your invention with the world, inspire others in the community, and see how everyone is an inventor
The littleBits store is also pioneering a new concept in tech retail that they’re calling ‘Inventions To Stay and Inventions To Go’. Visitors who participate in the workshop tables can either leave their inventions behind for others to remix or buy what they’ve invented on the spot.
This approach accomplishes two things. First, it encourages open source collaboration, but it also puts into action littleBits’ mission of breaking down boundaries between the tech we consume and the tech we want.
“We want littleBits to be in every home, every school, and every creative space. But for us the littleBits store is about getting closer to our customers individually, fostering a local community of inventors and imagining a world where products and experiences are not parachuted onto you from technology companies, but you are inventing them yourself,” says said Ayah Bdeir, CEO and founder of littleBits.
I’ve been a big fan of littleBits ever since I first heard about them back in November 2014, and this pop up store is a win-win for everybody involved. No doubt, there will be more news coming from littleBits about the success of the store, and we’ll make sure to keep you all in the loop.
Image Credit: courtesy of littleBits PR team
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