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Kids love to draw with crayons, but when these ever-popular writing tools break into small pieces, or when they've been used so much they're worn down to tiny bits, they can be hard to use, especially for little hands.
Cassidy Goldstein undertook a writing project using crayons assigned by a tutor when she was just 11 years old. She experienced this very problem, and she had a creative idea as to how to fix it. Searching through her own personal arts and crafts supplies, she located a clear plastic tube that was actually designed to hold cut flowers. She used this tube to hold the broken crayon pieces to make them easier to draw with. The Crayon Holder was born.
Goldstein, a Scarsdale, New York, native born in 1988, was encouraged by her tutor and her parents to push the simple, but ingenious, invention toward commercialization. They agreed that the tool would be very beneficial for kids learning how to draw, would protect their hands from getting dirty, and would also extend the life of a typical box of crayons.
The first step was filing for a patent. With the help of her father and an attorney, she filed an application and received a utility patent for the device in August, 2002. A second patent is pending.
By May, 2003, Goldstein, helped by her father, had secured a licensing deal with Rand International of Farmingdale, New York. The product, which comes in packaging featuring Goldstein and her story, is available via catalogs and in retail stores nationwide, including Wal-Mart. Goldstein's contract states that she is entitled to a 5 percent royalty of all sales. The crayon holders sell for about $1 apiece.
Goldstein became a Student Board Member of the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors and entered Syracuse University in 2005 as a student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2006, she was named "Youth Inventor of the Year" by the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation. The award was presented in Washington, D.C., by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and IPO Foundation President Harry Gwinnell. Goldstein was also winner of the Woman of Innovation for Youth Innovation and Leadership Award from the Connecticut Technology Council, and has seen her product featured on CBS's "The Early Show."
Goldstein's father, Norman Goldstein, was inspired by his daughter's experience and founded By Kids For Kids Co., or BKFK, dedicated to making the invention and commercialization process easy and accessible for all kids. His daughter sits on the organization's Kids Advisory Board. BKFK's initiatives include a partnership with Xerox to create a national invention competition for kids, and teaming up with the National Education Association (NEA) to make the company's "Inventive Thinking" educational program available free of charge to NEA members.
Norman Goldstein holds six patents of his own.
In addition, Chelsea Goldstein, Cassidy's older sister, invented a hip satchel made out of old jeans. She has a patent pending on this creation, which has been selling for around $50 apiece in boutiques.