Pavel Mamaev is the creator of Elka Palka Production. He was born in Russia and moved to Southern California when he was fifteen. He has a degree in Computer Science and over ten years of experience in software engineering, project management and data mining. His passions are his family, investments, computer games, and inventing something cool and unusual.
Elka Palka Production is a company that creates a place where art, magic, and technology are combined together to create visually stunning interactive stories and games. All of their original narratives revolve around Elfishkis, little fairy tale creatures, who live on the beautiful Rainbow Island in the middle of the Sparkling Sea, and who can fly like butterflies or swim like mermaids.
MO: Where did the inspiration for Elfishkis come from?
Pavel: Inessa Kiryanova, a friend of ours and one of the best book illustrators in Russia, created Elfishki characters 10 years ago. One day while trying to keep our 6 year old son engaged and away from “angry birds”, Elvira, my wife and a published author with over 10 books, showed him Elfishki drawings and came up with a quick story about the characters from the top of her head. Our son liked the story and characters so much that Elvira had to put something on paper and created a whole magical world around the characters. From that moment on, it was so easy to get our son to read and engage with anything that had to do with the world of Elfishki, that we have realized that we had something special on our hands and decided to share it with the world.
MO: Did you always have an interest in children’s stories and the levels of imagination and creativity they encourage? Or was it more about exploring the boundaries of design?
Pavel: It’s easy to have an interest in children’s stories when you’re a parent yourself. All three of us (I, Elvira and Inessa) are parents of elementary school age children. So all of our products are developed primarily for and tested by our own kids before they ever see the light of day. It is simply amazing to see how creative and imaginative a child can be given the chance and the right tools, and that is exactly what drives us to create our products.
MO: You’re products are only available for ipad and iphone at the moment. Do you have any plans to expand into the Android or PC market? Or even traditional books or toys?
Pavel: As we build the Elfishki brand further we are planning to expand into traditional books and toys. We are currently negotiating with a Russian sweets company to include a line of Elfishki toys with their products. We are also exploring the Android market to see how much demand there is for kids’ oriented content. Next step for us will most likely be Elfishki books in electronic format (iBookStore, Kindle).
MO: Your stories are not only pretty and engaging but also encouraging deeper levels of literacy. How hard has it been to create a product that complies with Core State Standards for English Language Arts?
Pavel: Having access to and consulting with educators definitely helped us in our story development. Since Elvira (one of the owners in our company) is a professional writer with several children’s books under her name, it was fairly easy for her to create the stories based on the input we received from educators we’ve engaged with. Finally, actually looking up and studying the Core State Standards for English Language Arts didn’t hurt either.
MO: You have a presence in over 83 countries. How have you managed to get such a large following? Do you have a marketing and PR company or has it all been word of mouth?
Pavel: As we are a lean start-up we decided not to go with PR or a Marketing firm, but rather to do everything in-house. Our visual content is what initially draws the audience to us, whether it’s through iPhone/iPad apps, our website or Social Media. So we try to showcase our art and videos everywhere we can think of. Once the people see our artwork and dig deeper to see an imaginative and engaging stories to go along with that, they are usually blown away and become our customers.
MO: What development are you working on that you’re most excited about?
Pavel: We have just finished developing our “Elfishki and The Giant Cake” iPad interactive book, and I must say it turned out much better than I ever envisioned. I am personally very excited to see the reaction our product gets, once we release it by Christmas time this year!
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