How a Metro Detroit Mom Launched Fascination Factory to Spark Joy and Creativity

Lacey Foon recently celebrated the play space's first anniversary.

Lacey Foon paused her commercial real estate career in 2019 after giving birth to twin girls. Shortly after, the pandemic hit, and then breast cancer right after that. 

Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Foon felt the warmth of her community during this tumultuous time. 

“I have a big family, and we do so much together. And I have important friendships like family relationships. Nurturing those is just always something that has been in my values,” Foon said.

It is no wonder that in 2022, when Foon was ready to join the workforce again, she started looking closer to home. She wanted to give back to the community that had given so much to her.

“I looked for needs in the community. That is where I came up with Fascination Factory because there was nowhere really in the Birmingham Bloomfield area to take little kids,” Foon said.

Fascination Factory is a play space for children. It is full of natural light and has carefully planned play stations. The play stations encourage creativity and socialization through the availability of eco-friendly and sustainable toys.  

Q&A with Lacey Foon

Fascination Factory Lacey Foon
Photo credit: Melissa Douglas

What inspired you to create the Fascination Factory?

It’s a brainchild of all the things that I found missing from everywhere that I would take (my girls). Whether it was a cleanliness problem, overstimulating, or having too many people. And there was too much stuff that I could do at home, so that sort of led me to the idea. 

That, and not finding a good space for parents anywhere… or having amenities geared towards parents, grandparents, nannies…, or caregivers. So, I really considered all of those things when coming up with the concept for Fascination Factory.

Describe the space.

The first area is our building area. There are a bunch of different drawers that have all sorts of building toys. I should back up and start by saying that all of our toys have no batteries, plugs, or instructions. So it’s all play-based learning and pretend play. 

We have interchangeable bins, and we try to switch out the toys every couple of days. 

We have a different activity every few days, and it’s always pinned to the top of our Instagram so you can see what’s going on that day. 

And then in the back corner, we have our pretend play area. So there are a few little houses that have a kitchen, there’s a market, and, like, a mechanic shop.

And then we have our cafe. Which is also well-loved. It’s an area where we try to focus on parents and their needs. We want to make sure they get good coffee. So we have Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee, and a vending machine with all sorts of healthy snacks. We’re nut-free, too. Which is important too for any allergies. We also stock things like diapers, Tylenol or other little things that people might forget at home. We really try to think of it all.

Finally, the last area is our retail section. We sell a lot of our toys! We also wrap gifts and deliver them locally… for free! This is very nice for last-minute birthday parties.

What is your go-to birthday gift?

I love to gift costumes because, as a parent, I think that’s one of those things that you never really feel like buying for your kids.

But in terms of things that we have on the floor that I really like to gift… I love Pixios for the older kids. They come with an app, and you can build so many really cool things with them. They’re fun to fidget with for adults, too. And then, for the younger kids, Picasso Tiles makes a similar version. 

How do you envision this space expanding and growing as your girls get older and you become more established in the community?

My next goal is to work on franchising the concept and taking it outside of Michigan or wherever a space like this is needed.

The other thing we haven’t talked about is that we’re actually closing Open Play, which is our general business, for the summer. Instead, we are focusing on running summer camp. This will be our first summer running camp for all 12 school break weeks, and we’re really excited about that. We’ve added a lot of cool things that we haven’t seen in camps before, and we’re excited.

Every week, we have a different theme, and we have some really cute themes coming up. We are also taking the children to Goldfish, the swim school, once a week.

The whole camp is really based on Montessori learning. I know that a lot of kids are in preschools that are based around Reggio Emilio or Montessori, and being able to continue those styles through the summer makes it easy to transition back to school in the fall.

What is one thing that you are excited about right now?

The newest thing I’m most excited about is our partnership with Love Every. I think they call it a Community Ambassador. So, as I said, my whole interest in play-based learning came from them, and now, to be able to have their toys and let other people experience their toys in our space is really special.

Love Every is a subscription-based model pretty much, and once a quarter, they send you a box. That is full of several toys that are appropriate for your child’s age. It will come with a little booklet that teaches you about each toy and how to play with them or other ideas of things that you can do with your kids. 

What do you hope your girls will remember about this time?

I hope that one day, they look back and… realize that I did all of this for them so that they could see a woman and their mom work hard to do something on their own, find the courage and drive to do that and show them that there’s a place for women in the workplace.

Fast Talk with Lacey Foon

Fascination Factory Toys
Photo credit: Melissa Douglas

Your favorite word: 

Curiosity.

Your favorite place to vacation with the family: 

Nemcolin (A resort in Pennsylvania.)

Your favorite play space besides your own:

Sloomoo Institute (Slime Experience in NY)

Your secret obsession: 

Estate sales.

Your personal tagline:

Knowledge is power.

One word that your kids would use to describe their mom.

Busy.


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Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt brings over 15 years of experience in education, parenting, and travel writing for esteemed publications like We Are Teachers and LA Family Travel. Recognized for her commitment to advancing literacy and writing skills, Steffy is honored to be a Fellow of the National Writing Project. She collaborates with educators nationwide to enhance teaching practices and empower student writers.

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