SERIES: ChiTAG’s Rising Star of the Year Nominees: In Their Own Words — Joyce Sprau, Creator of The Flower Fairies™ Secret Garden Collection

Laura Richards
3 min readNov 13, 2017

By Laura Richards

Joyce Sprau, creator of Flower Fairies Secret Garden

Joyce Sprau, creator of Flower Fairies Secret Garden is one of several nominees of the Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG) Rising Star of the Year Award which will be presented at this year’s ChiTAG Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGIE’s) ceremony in the Ballroom at Navy Pier on November 17, 2017 from 6pm — 11pm.

Joyce in her own words:

A resident of Batavia, IL, I have a product design and mechanical engineering background and have been in Toy Product Design for over 20 years. I started my toy career managing the development for the McDonald’s Happy Meal design working with the top toy retailers and entertainment licensees. I am currently working for Ultimate Source in the retail business and manage the product development of the Revell “Build and Play” brand.

The idea of the Flower Fairies product line was started when I saw a gap in the market with no miniature gardening product available that was durable and affordable for children. Children need to associate with characters and the story behind a product line to be successful. The Cicely Mary Barkers Flower Fairies stories were a perfect match. Barker’s stories make you believe in Fairies and her stunning watercolor artwork of flowers, plants and trees were an inspiration to design something special for kids. I am now adding to the line with a new license of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and classical characters which is a perfect license to expand the miniature gardening category.

Our company was aware of the Chicago Toy awards coming and we like to ask our teams to participate in the nominating process if someone or a team has designed a product that fits within the categories of the awards and is an exceptional design. I was very honored to hear that my peers had helped in the nomination process.

I have worked on many toy designs and innovation for McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, and recently designed new items for Revell Build and Play model kits including Star Wars, Halo, Scooby Doo and Cars 3 Jr. Kits. I became an inventor because I love the challenge of looking for new, innovative ideas to make kids happy.

Personally, I would be very honored to win this category, I see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to have a new idea that can change the play environment for kids. It’s great to work on products that get kids involved in new, imaginative play outside of the current technology trends. Professionally, a win in this category will help communicate that this is type of product outside the toy aisle can continue to grow and expand and provide a bigger offering next year to grow the CreataDream™ brand.

For further information on ChiTAG and the Rising Star Award, please visit their website:

To read about the other nominees for Rising Star of the Year Award, click on the links below:

Brian Gomez Team
Thijmen de Schipper
Brady Peterson
Dominic Yard



Laura Richards

Bylines at The New York Times, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe Magazine and more. Portfolio: