Not many 39 year olds can say they still play with toys day in and day out. But, Melissa Rose Boock of Cresskill (soon-to-be of Fort Lee) isn’t your average adult.
Boock graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in toy design, and landed a job right out of college with MGA Entertainment – the American manufacturer known for its products such as the Bratz fashion doll line, BABY born, Lalaloopsy, Num Noms and Moxie Girlz; MGA also owns Little Tikes – in Los Angeles, Calif.
“While there, I designed for the Bratz [fashion doll line],” said Boock. “I even created a line of my own, BFC INK, and won awards like ‘Top 10 Toy of the Year.’”
Boock describes BFC INK as her “baby.”
“It was the first thing I created with an amazing team of people,” she said. “I worked with a publisher to create a line of books to pair with the dolls. It was an amazing time with amazingly creative people that I miss dearly.”
These days, Boock is back in New Jersey working as the director of design for New Adventures, known for the doll brands such as Baby Magic, Little Darlings, Lil Tots, Style Girls, Style Dreamers and Classic Toys.
“I am in charge of design in total,” said Boock. “I pull Pantone colors for the season and patterns that I feel are trendy for the dolls and come up with our basic line look. In our lines, we have new items that I come up with as well. I sketch a little on some of the brands that I feel like need my hand, but I do direct freelancers on other items.”
It’s all about being “tapped into what is going on” when it comes to toy concepting, according to Boock.
“Movies. Music. Colors. Trends,” she said. “But, you have to be able to filter it down for a kid to understand it. When I was designing for Bratz, sometimes we were too trendy and ahead of our time. You also can’t be behind though. You need to capture the trend at the right moment.”
Boock always loved following trends, especially fashion trends. Her aunt used to take her to Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store based on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. There, she would look at all the beautiful clothes and fall in love.
“My uncle would have me sketch the fashion illustrations in the Sunday Times and I just found my style,” said Boock. “I took an internship with Betsey Johnson [, an American fashion designer best known for her feminine and whimsical designs,] when I was a freshman in college and she really influenced me and pushed me to follow my dreams.”
Many of her dreams have certainly come to fruition.
“I’m my worst critic,” said Boock. “But, I sketch and post fashion that I love on my Instagram with a little humor.”
To keep up with Boock, follow her on Instagram at @luxurygrunge.
By Jessica Humphrey-Cintineo