As a little girl growing up on Bay Avenue in Greenport, Emily Finegold, 34, loved to draw.
“That was always my favorite,” she said. “I would set up a stand and sell portraits of people when I was little.”
And now, Finegold, a product/graphic designer, has taken her love for art and design and launched a new toy company this year, Emkin Toys — A Toy Design Concept Lab, and introduced her first offering, the Socktopus.
The road toward her new venture was animated with toy design, Finegold said.
After graduating from Greenport High School in 1998, Finegold went to Pratt Institute, where she studied industrial design and got a bachelor’s degree.
“I was in industrial design at Pratt and all my designs were bright colored,” she said. “I guess I just naturally geared them to children. Once I graduated I wanted to learn more about designing for kids.”
Next, Finegold headed to the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she garnered another bachelor’s degree in toy design.
Over the next eight years, Finegold amassed an extensive portfolio of toy designs, working for Planet Toys and Crayola and interning at Hasbro. Her work includes My First Crayola, Barbie, and Sesame Street designs.
Finegold, who now lives in Hatboro, PA, near Phildelphia, does not yet have children. But her life is devoted toward creating toys for little ones that will create lifetime memories.
It was only natural, Finegold said, that she’d ultimately branch out and start up her own business, which she did earlier this year, when Emkin Toys was born — and her first toy, Socktopus, a soft toy for infants, made his debut.
“I always wanted my own company but couldn’t decide on which toy to start with. Once I made Socktopus, I knew he was the one,” Finegold said.
Looking ahead, Finegold said she hopes to keep growing her business, and creating toys that both children and parents embrace.
“I love that I have the chance to have an impact on children by creating toys for their enjoyment during playtime and tummy time,” Finegold said. “I love that my work consists of coming up with silly ideas and wacky ways that kids can have fun and explore their own creativity.”
Describing her first creation for her own company, Finegold said, “Socktopus is a cute, cuddly creature. The bright colors and fun patterns on his tentacles are stimulating for baby. His smiley face will connect with a child during tummy time, and help with sensory development and together, they will form a lifelong bond.”
She added, “Bright colors and patterns will excite little ones and keep their imaginations running wild.” The toy, she said, can be used a teaching tool for color recognition or learning numbers as little ones count each tentacle. “My First Socktopus™ is an entertaining pal — whether at home or on the go,” she said.