In the beginning, our Great Pretenders story starts simply. Once upon a time, there was a mom troubled by the lack of fun and imaginative toys for her children. Joyce Keelan set out on her ambitious journey to come up with creative, pretend-play toys designed to empower children and spark imagination. Now, 34 years later, our family business has expanded. The kids that inspired her brand now work (or play) in and with the business. Her grand-kids grace the covers and make the occasional guest appearance on social media. One thing is for sure, everyone at Great Pretenders is excited to see the continued global reach of our product, and is continually impressed with our inspiring founder and the OG mom of Great Pretenders!
MISSION & VISION
Our mission is to design and produce products that inspire families to engage in creative, imaginative and interactive play. We strive to provide our customers with safe, quality and creative toys and gifts while exceeding our customer’s expectations at every opportunity.
We design and manufacture safe, award-winning dress-up, toys, jewellery, and accessories.
Creative Education of Canada is a family owned and operated business started in 1989. In the early days, costumes were produced in the basement of the family home, and Joyce traveled to craft fairs and trade shows to promote her products and ideas. Now, CFO Joyce Keelan oversees our team with offices in 5 countries and 4 global warehouses. She still designs many of our products and is the beating heart of the company. Her oldest and youngest children have followed in her footsteps and are proud to have contributed to the business' expansion, along side our 60+ employees worldwide.
We are a small but dynamic group of people (and dogs!) here at Creative Education of Canada, home of Great Pretenders. We have designers with a love of children, fantasy and fabric, complemented by graphic artists, painters, and pattern makers. Talented cutters and sewers bring designs to life, and our logistics team makes sure our products are held to rigid safety standards. Reliable shippers and a dedicated warehouse team manage to keep our orders all-straight (even in crazy months), making sure the right products get to the right places. Plus, an amazing administrative group who dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. We are a lot of things, but mostly, we are all incredibly dedicated to our jobs, and co-workers. Every part of our process is important and recognized.
We at Great Pretenders believe that “dress-up” is so much more than just putting on a costume. Through pretend play kids develop their imagination and creative thinking skills. Pretending develops communication skills and an outlet for expressing feelings and fears. We keep in mind the difficulties disabled children may face when finding dress up and strive to design products for all children. CANADIAN MADE
Our talented designers design all
our dress up in house. We source beads from all over the world, and work with metal designers to produce custom molds and pendants for our jewelry, specifying unique pan-tones and trend setting design. We manufacture over 80 of our products at our manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada. Hand made with quality fabrics, trims, flowers and accessories. From each bow to every bobble, we hand select and specify all components all to make sure our costumes are impeccably made. We are especially proud to produce dress-up that is machine washable, designed for continued and enduring play. Look for our Maple Leaf seal on all our Made in Canada
All of our products are easy to care for and often get passed down to younger siblings because of our quality! With maximum sizing flexibility and simple machine washing instructions, it’s easy to get the best value for your pretend play costumes. Our creative team also ensures value when designing. Our infamous reversible costumes make dressing up twice the fun and double the value. If ever we have a costume or product that does not hold up to our Great Pretenders promise of good value, please reach out to our customer care team (with proof of purchase!).
As a manufacterer of children's products, we take safety very seriously. We exceed the legally mandated expectations for self-monitoring, and all our products are tested and held to Canadian, European and American standards (which can often mean sending the same costume to multiple test standards!). At Creative Education of Canada we have our own in-house safety team who work around the clock to make sure everything from our fabrics, to our beads, to the Velcro on our garments all get tested to the appropriate standards. In addition, we we also batch test our raw materials between the annual required certifications, in order to be sure our ongoing production adheres to our safety promises!
Great Pretenders is dedicated to preserving the planet through environmentally responsible business. We are dedicated to preserving the planet by seeking greener ways to conduct our day-to-day business, and are also very open to ideas for how to improve. Sustainability means keeping the well-being of our company, customers and community at the forefront, without compromising the ability for future generations to prosper on the planet we share. Recently, we have partnered with One Tree Planted, in order to partake in an aggressive reforestation strategy to help contribute to different reforestation projects around the globe. Read more about this project here