Both Melissa and Doug were raised by kid teachers, and their moms and dads set them up in 1985. Three years into their relationship, while Melissa was attending college at Duke and Doug was working at a marketing company, the couple chose to start a kids's business together. Their very first venture was a production business that laughed at instructional videos for kids.
" Our aha minute was going to shops and seeing that something as fun as puzzles were dull, boring, and had no pizzaz," Melissa says. "They were just flat, with no texture. We began thinking of our youths, and remembered that our favorite book was Pat the Bunny due to the fact that it was so interactive.
It was an instant hit in small specialty stores, and so the set ditched their videos, which had actually landed in a few stores but had not gained much traction. Melissa & Doug stayed with puzzles for another years before expanding into other wood toys, much of which are still best-sellers today, like the Pounding Bench, which has colorful pegs you bang on with a mallet.
Toys were mainly made of wood and steel until after The second world war, when a post-war housing boom implied these products were hard to obtain, according to the American trade group the Toy Association. Fisher-Price the one of the first toy companies to introduce plastic into its assortment in 1950, and the launching of products 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 up until 1953 that it began making interlocking plastic blocks. Melissa & Doug wasn't understood in the mass toy market up until 1999, when the now-defunct chain Toys R United States purchased instructional toy company Imaginarium, which stocked Melissa & Doug. That year, the company likewise tattooed a handle Amazon, which was then a popular web bookseller ready to expand into toys.
( Amazon simultaneously signed a contract to make Toys R Us its unique toy supplier, an offer that Amazon broke by bringing on Melissa & Doug and a number of other suppliers, leading to a 2004 suit between the 2 retail giants.) Doug attributes much of the company's success to Amazon: "It provided us incredible accessibility and was a major facilitator of development.
Getting on Amazon early is most likely the reason that our older toys still offer truly well." Throughout the early aughts, even as the company skyrocketed, numerous alerted Melissa & Doug that it was headed towards failure. Doug recalls attending a huge exhibition and being informed, "It's been actually nice understanding you, however everybody is entering into tech.
On both fronts, the Bernsteins refused. These moves, they thought, would be at chances with their viewpoint of open-ended play that is, minimally structured spare time without guidelines or goals. The American Pediatric Association considers this type of play essential for a kid's advancement, especially in terms of imagination and creativity.
Tv and film characters, for example, currently have names and characters credited to them, and so toys including these characters dictate how kids have fun with them; alternatively, simple products like blocks or paint better promote imagination. Contact Us Shipping Returns. Wood toys have actually long been related to open play and are a favorite of educators, particularly those who ascribe to the Montessori and Waldorf approaches.
( Although Melissa & Doug had no formal connection to either Montessori or Waldorf, both the business and these school movements saw major expansion in the '90s and ' 00s). Today Melissa & Doug is one of the biggest toy companies in the country, behind Hasbro, Mattel, Hallmark (which owns Crayola), and Spin Master (the business behind Hatchimals and owner of the Paw Patrol IP).
Reports have actually claimed the company offers more than $400 million worth of toys annually; though the business decreased to share sales figures with Vox, an associate said the actual number is greater. Melissa & Doug's sales might look like peanuts compared to Hasbro's $5.2 billion or Mattel's $4.8 billion, however the business has been able to complete along with these business giants.
Its products are cost effective, but not exactly inexpensive - Blocks For Kids. Play food sets and wood stacking blocks cost around $20, which is more than double what a brand name like Fisher-Price charges for similar items. The price adds to the superior appeal of the toys, which are all made in China and Taiwan. Great Gift For Kids.
" There's no parent that likes toys that make irritating noises, and when you're gifted one, they feel really downmarket. But there's something really sophisticated and elevated about wood toys." Still, the cost can be hard to swallow. "So stink 'n pricey," one moms and dad lamented on the Bump (Handmade Wooden Toys For Sale). "A mommy had this [toy] at a playdate and I thought it was great until I saw the cost!" Amazon customers have also called the company's toys overpriced, and noted that they aren't worth the investment considering that kids tend to "lose everything (Coogam Wooden Lacing Apple)." Melissa & Doug's toys are a favorite of millennial parents prepared and able to pay not just for quality, however virtue in what they buy their kids.
These parents select wooden toys because they think the toys are much better for their children' brains, and also the environment. And unlike plastic toys, wood toys don't featured threat of BPA exposure, though Melissa & Doug did need to remember near to 26,000 toys in 2009 due to the fact that of soluble barium discovered in the paint.
" I love the toys because they are realistic-looking and creative for kids to have fun with, but are likewise aesthetically attractive," states Jodi Popowitz, a mommy and interior designer living in New york city City. "When designing nurseries, I use them for decorating since they're the best 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, says the move was substantiated of issue that kids' days are being packed with school and after-school activities, leaving little space for unstructured time invested exploring backyards and developing towers in living rooms - Toddler.
Kids ages 8 to 12 spend an average of four hours and 38 minutes on screens a day, while children 8 and under average two hours and 19 minutes, according to the safe technology nonprofit Good sense Media. The AAP alerts that the overuse of screens puts children at danger of sleep deprivation and weight problems, and although it's still prematurely to figure out the specific results screens have on children, there are scientists trying to glean some initial insights.