Both Melissa and Doug were raised by child teachers, and their parents set them up in 1985. 3 years into their relationship, while Melissa was going to college at Duke and Doug was working at a marketing company, the couple decided to begin a children's company together. Their first endeavor was a production business that made fun academic videos for kids.
" Our aha minute was going to stores and seeing that something as fun as puzzles were dull, dull, and had no pizzaz," Melissa says. "They were simply flat, with no texture. We started thinking about our childhoods, and remembered that our favorite book was Pat the Bunny since it was so interactive.
It was an immediate hit in small specialty shops, therefore the pair ditched their videos, which had landed in a couple of shops but had not gotten much traction. Melissa & Doug adhered to puzzles for another decade prior to broadening into other wood toys, many of which are still best-sellers today, like the Pounding Bench, which has vibrant pegs you bang on with a mallet.
Toys were primarily made from wood and steel until after World War II, when a post-war housing boom implied these products were hard to get, according to the American trade group the Toy Association. Fisher-Price the one of the first toy companies to introduce plastic into its selection in 1950, and the debut of items like Mattel's Barbie in 1959 and Hasbro's GI Joe in 1963 formally made plastic a more popular toy product than wood.
It wasn't until 1953 that it started making interlocking plastic blocks. Melissa & Doug wasn't known in the mass toy market until 1999, when the now-defunct chain Toys R Us bought instructional toy company Imaginarium, which equipped Melissa & Doug. That year, the company also inked a handle Amazon, which was then a popular web bookseller about to expand into toys.
( Amazon concurrently signed an agreement to make Toys R Us its special toy vendor, a deal that Amazon breached by bringing on Melissa & Doug and numerous other suppliers, resulting in a 2004 claim in between the two retail giants.) Doug attributes much of the company's success to Amazon: "It offered us incredible availability and was a significant facilitator of growth.
Getting on Amazon early is most likely the factor why our older toys still offer truly well." Throughout the early aughts, even as the business skyrocketed, numerous alerted Melissa & Doug that it was headed toward failure. Doug remembers participating in a big trade convention and being informed, "It's been really good understanding you, but everybody is entering into tech.
On both fronts, the Bernsteins refused. These relocations, they believed, would be at odds with their approach of open-ended play that is, minimally structured spare time without guidelines or objectives. The American Pediatric Association considers this type of play essential for a kid's development, particularly in regards to imagination and imagination.
Television and motion picture characters, for example, already have names and characters credited to them, therefore toys including these characters determine how kids play with them; on the other hand, simple products like blocks or paint much better promote imagination. Free Shipping. Wood toys have actually long been connected with open play and are a favorite of teachers, especially those who credit the Montessori and Waldorf viewpoints.
( Although Melissa & Doug had no formal connection to either Montessori or Waldorf, both the business and these school motions saw major growth in the '90s and ' 00s). Today Melissa & Doug is among the biggest toy companies in the country, behind Hasbro, Mattel, Hallmark (which owns Crayola), and Spin Master (the company behind Hatchimals and owner of the Paw Patrol IP).
Reports have actually declared the company sells more than $400 million worth of toys every year; though the company decreased to share sales figures with Vox, a representative said the real number is greater. Melissa & Doug's sales might appear like peanuts compared to Hasbro's $5.2 billion or Mattel's $4.8 billion, however the business has had the ability to contend alongside these business giants.
Its products are economical, but not precisely low-cost - Classic Wooden Toys. Play food sets and wooden stacking blocks cost around $20, which is more than double what a brand name like Fisher-Price charges for similar items. The price includes to the exceptional appeal of the toys, which are all made in China and Taiwan. Buy A Gift Card.
" There's no moms and dad that likes toys that make frustrating sounds, and when you're gifted one, they feel really downmarket. But there's something really sophisticated and raised about wood toys." Still, the cost can be tough to swallow. "So stink 'n costly," one parent regreted on the Bump (Wood Toys For Kids). "A mama had this [toy] at a playdate and I believed it was great up until I saw the price!" Amazon customers have also called the company's toys overpriced, and kept in mind that they aren't worth the financial investment since children tend to "lose whatever (Wooden Toy Cars)." Melissa & Doug's toys are a favorite of millennial parents ready and able to pay not just for quality, however virtue in what they purchase their kids.
These moms and dads choose wood toys since they think the toys are better for their babies' brains, and likewise the environment. And unlike plastic toys, wooden toys do not come with risk of BPA exposure, though Melissa & Doug did have to recall near to 26,000 toys in 2009 because of soluble barium found in the paint.
" I love the toys since they are realistic-looking and creative for kids to have fun with, however are also aesthetically attractive," says Jodi Popowitz, a mama and interior designer living in New York City. "When designing nurseries, I utilize them for decorating because they're the perfect toys to go on a bookshelf.
David Hill, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and a program director with the AAP, states the move was substantiated of issue that kids' days are being crammed with school and after-school activities, leaving little space for unstructured time spent checking out yards and developing towers in living rooms - Wooden Toy.
Kids ages 8 to 12 invest approximately four hours and 38 minutes on screens a day, while kids 8 and under average two hours and 19 minutes, according to the safe technology not-for-profit Sound judgment Media. The AAP cautions that the overuse of screens puts kids at danger of sleep deprivation and obesity, and although it's still too early to identify the precise effects screens have on kids, there are researchers trying to obtain some preliminary insights.