ALÈS “My cardboard labyrinth”, this new game that children love

Fabien Guezellou is in charge of the project “My cardboard labyrinth”. (Photo Corentin Migoule)

Former responsible for the communication of a community, the Alésien Fabien Guezellou, father of two small children, is about to give birth to a new game: “My cardboard labyrinth”. Tested and approved by those close to him, this novelty has yet to be the subject of a grant application.

Fabien Guezellou took time to consider commercializing what was then just an idea for entertainment. “A few months before the confinement I had collected boxes and offered my two children to build cabins”, rewind the forties. Charlotte and Nino, ages 5 and 8 at the time, approve and develop. “Just before Christmas, my son had an idea for a maze. We modified it by assembling boxes with duct tape. After that, for almost six months, they completely abandoned their usual toys to play in the maze all day.remember without difficulty the Alesian.

This new summary game that doesn’t have a name yet is being emulated. “After the confinement, friends came to the house with children who are more or less the same age as mine. They abandoned tablets and consoles to play the maze all night! », continues the one who was still responsible for the communication of a village north of Alès a few months ago. One night, while these same friends return the favor by inviting him, Fabien Guezellou is summoned by the couple’s children to “bring back the cardboard maze”.

a local production

Because the “I love playing with children”even doing “more than a philosophy of life”the father of the family complies. “I realized that it was not easy to transport. So I worked on the development of a case that has a double function: both for transport and for integration into the game»explains the one who lives in Méjannes-les-Alès. “My friends told me that it was great and that I had to market the game,” adds Fabien Guezellou. Building on this success with his inner circle, the latter is tempted to do some internet research to make sure an equivalent hasn’t yet been devised.

After realizing that it wasn’t, the father of the family is convinced to take the process a little further and contact the Alesian company DS Smith Packaging, which specializes in cardboard. For six months now, the neo-entrepreneur – who in the meantime has established himself as a web designer – has not received the slightest response. Until an unexpected call appears from the commercial director of the Alesian company. ” Very interested “.

Aimed at children from 3 to 12 years old

The latter informs him that DS Smith is in a position to guarantee the entire manufacturing process (cutting, folding and printing) of the cardboard sets. “I chose recycled cardboard, which is more expensive than traditional cardboard, for ethical reasons”, specifies the Méjannais. This time that’s all, the brand “My cardboard labyrinth” is registered. But although negotiations are well advanced with the company specializing in packaging solutions, the contract has not yet been signed.

“I would like the members of an ESAT (Establishment and assistance service through work, editor’s note) to ensure at least one of the production stages”, recognizes Fabien Guezellou. This should not be a problem to the extent that the DS Smith group already has a strong social responsibility, as the collaboration with ESAT Les Gardons demonstrates.

For his part, while creating a logo and a website, the father of the family is eager to promote his product. Because the latter, aimed at children from 3 to 12 years old, will not only be aimed at individuals. “In the maze, they can run after each other, hide, play an escape game, puzzle games, or search for items.”, boasts the creator. So many possibilities that they lend themselves perfectly to the early childhood sector and leisure centers.

“We ended up on all fours chasing each other”

With a first prototype, pending the final series, Fabien Guezellou has already produced several animations. A maternity care center, then a leisure center in Saint-Christol-lez-Alès acted as the first “clients”. “In Saint-Christol we spent two exceptional hours with the children. We ended up on all fours chasing each other. He was crazy! »laughs the one who does not hesitate to act as animators.

As his project intends to go beyond the borders of the department, he will soon go to a kindergarten in Perpignan. In contact with JouéClub Alès where it was created “very well received”the “pope poule” sees the realization closer and closer: “Every day we have little signs that make us think that we are right to believe in it. For example, several large toy stores have subscribed to our Facebook page! »

It is also on this same social network that the businessman plans to launch a solidarity kit in a few weeks through which the participants would pre-order a game kit. “It’s a ‘crash test’ to see how the public reacts”sums up Fabien Guezellou, who also sees it as a way to free up funds to be able to afford a cardboard cutting template and stencils to decorate them (almost 20,000 euros in equipment).

“Don’t forget dad that I was the one who had the idea”

Because the mazes of the first series will invite young children to choose the universe of their choice (fortified castle, jungle, space). While an application file has been submitted to participate in the next economic contest Alès Audace – the next edition giving a privileged place to cultural projects – the Méjannais is working on a marketing that it hopes to start “in the spring of 2023”.

A price range has already been set: 45 euros for the small 8-kilo model, compared to about sixty euros for the large 11-kilo model, more appropriate for very large playing surfaces. « the case fits easily under the bed »reassures the creator, who hopes to wet the shirt to defend his invention in the four corners of Occitania by making animators play on request.

“There will inevitably be hiring, because I won’t be able to do everything”, also projects that, in the long term, it plans to get down to work with the preparation of packages in a warehouse that it hopes to find in the vicinity of Alès. It all started thanks to Guezellou’s son, now 10 years old, who keeps reminding his father: “He often tells me ‘don’t forget dad that I came up with the idea’. » To Nino the copyright!

Corentin Miguel

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