Tejo Conejo (Spanish for “Tejo Bunny”) is a children’s game and supporting business model that allows disadvantaged women in the Soacha region of Colombia to acquire new technical skills, sustain a profitable livelihood, and take an active part in lifting their families and community out of poverty.
Designmatters at Art Center College of Design, United States
Faculty advisors: Daniel Gottlieb, Penny Herscovitch
Designers: Connie Bakshi, Timothy Kline, Rudy Rummel
Tejo Conejo is the only existing children’s version of the wildly popular Colombian game of tejo on the market. The game and business model was co-created with relevant stakeholders, builds off current resources, combines design with market driven solutions, and will generate sustaining revenue for scalability.
The game works as follows. Gameplay involves two or more players. Each throws a beanbag “conejo” toward a target on the game board. When the tension-set rubber target is hit, it pops and jumps to the delight of all players.
The impact of Tejo Conejo is broad. The business strategy cultivates market demand, process, and infrastructure for successful sewing micro-factories. On-site collective childcare allows for mothers to be with their children while pursuing their vocational aspirations.
Women of the Altos community have explicitly expressed aspirations to pursue sewing careers, many having previously enrolled in government vocational training. The design of the product is driven by the current skill levels of the women while considering the evolution of these skills. Families in Altos tested working prototypes and proposed their own ideas for the product and micro-factory model.
The impact on the community can be considerable. The sale of just 1,000 games increases the household income of 40 women by at least 10% with a target increase of 50%. As stated, on-site collective childcare allows for mothers to be with their children. Profits from game sales are reinvested in the business while continuing entrepreneurial training services for women.
End-users also benefit. The design of the game combines Colombian tribal and craft motifs with modern design and sustainable materials. Colombian parents can pass on a cultural tradition to their children in a safe and fun way. The game is designed with locally available materials that are either 100% recycled or 100% recyclable.
There are benefits for investors as well. The template nature of the game board and conejo design can be translated into licensing options for brand partners, fostering brand longevity. The cultural relevance and the story of the social impact helps to secure distribution channels with retailers. The light, flat-pack design of the game allows for optimal transport and shipping efficiencies.
Tejo Conejo builds off current NGO activity to provide a self-sustaining micro-factory ecosystem and a platform for manufacturing culturally relevant products. The cultural product and micro-factory model is scalable to other regions and cultures.