Young North Van entrepreneur creates healthier, educational birthday goody bags

Katelyn Chu, 23, sits among the games and toys available on her newly launched website.  - Michaela Garstin
Katelyn Chu, 23, sits among the games and toys available on her newly launched website.
— image credit: Michaela Garstin

A young North Vancouver entrepreneur is striving to single-handedly revolutionize birthday goody bags.

Instead of unhealthy candy and poorly-made trinkets, Katelyn Chu is making ready-to-go goody-bags with toys that encourage imagination and organic lollipops.

She orders directly from toy distributors, packages the bags into different themes  — "Magic," "Dinosaur," and "Batman" for example — and sells them online.

The dinosaur goody bag, for instance, has a tiny fossil embedded in clay that needs to be carefully dug out, a small triceratops that grows in water and a viewfinder with scenes from millions of years ago.

"I've seen a lot of goody bags and I wanted to make something different. Not just candy, but something kids can play with their family and friends," says 23-year-old Chu, who has worked as a party hostess at the West Vancouver Rec Centre and Park Royal mall.

She's a firm believer that kids can have fun by using their imagination with simple well-designed toys as opposed to battery operated gadgets and video games.

To stay competitive, her goody-bags are priced between $5 and $8 on her website,, and she will deliver them for free on the North Shore and downtown Vancouver.

"I have some specifically for for boys and girls, but others are unisex like the magic-themed one," says Chu, sorting through a bunch of tiny toys on a table.

"I have a sister who is a lot younger than me and I see which toys she likes. I have to make excuses so I can play with them myself."

One of her favourite toys is an aquarium with three miniature fish inside that grow when water is added.

Chu also sells board games that often aren't easy to find.

"Most of them have won parent choice awards," she says, holding the box for Pengaloo, a memory game where youngsters go on an "eggs-pedition" by rolling dice and lifting up penguins to find hidden matching eggs. It's won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio best toy award and ranked in Dr. Toy's 10 best games.

Launched in November, parents from the Lower Mainland have opted to order Chu's  goody-bags online.

"I've even had someone from Ohio purchase a game," she says proudly, with a laugh.

"A lot of toys, especially goody bag toys,  are to play with alone. But mine are all about interacting with friends and family."


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