City of Toys presents: Melissa & Doug® conquers the market of toys
City of Toys, a regular participant in the exhibition, the exclusive distributor of the brand, has presented a fascinating story of toys that have managed to preserve their individuality and traditions in a rapidly changing market. The growth of new technologies could become a collapse of a company, which produces traditional, classic toys, but, in their case, the reluctance to use various devices brought the company to success.
Melissa & Doug, a new bestseller of Amazon, simple, colorful, wooden toys from an American manufacturer with a thirty-year history, appeared among the best-selling toys in this year’s Amazon Catalogue - Barbie, Hasbro, Play-Doh and Monopoly, and Lego sets. A toy train made of wooden blocks, a toy ice cream parlor with scoops and cones for making ice cream, and a mini broom and mop for toy house cleaning were presented.
The owners of the company are married couple Melissa and Doug Bernstein. They manufacture toys that do not require batteries and do not produce various sounds. Their toys need to be put together, push, pull, twist like gears. The company focuses on a creative game that imitates real life with the help of wooden typewriters and game sets. From the first days of the Bernstein business, representatives of the toy industry told them that they would fail if their products did not keep up with time and progress. Everyone said that the future was technology, but Melissa and Doug were fixed on their idea. In the times when children are sitting in front of the screens of gadgets and all sorts of technical equipment morning to evening, the company has retained its place in the toy market, despite the fact that their products do not have electronic components.
The Headquarters of Melissa & Doug Company is located near a busy road in Wilton, Connecticut. The walls of their office are covered with funny carpets and colorful pages from the catalogues of toys. There are also booths entirely dedicated to the demonstration of wooden mini-supermarkets, hospitals, and restaurants. Despite the fact that Melissa & Doug is best known for wooden toys, the share of the wooden toys is only 40% of the company’s total products. The rest of the toys are made of cloth (giant animals from the collection of plush toys), cardboard, and sometimes plastic. All the 2,000 articles, which are currently in production, are presented in the showroom of their Connecticut office: from costumes and coloring books to dollhouses, tools, and other wooden toys. A special corner is dedicated to the discontinued toys and the products that have never been produced. The company likes to keep them in sight for inspiration and ideas. The entire office can be easily mistaken for a giant classroom in a kindergarten, thanks to the positive energy of the kindergarten teacher Melissa Bernstein. Melissa is the Queen of Melissa & Doug, who comes up with ideas for her toy kingdom as a creative director, and her team of 30 people puts her ideas into reality. Doug manages the brand’s business, which is presented in 15,000 stores.
Their first products were carved wooden figures of rural animals covered with fur. This toy immediately became a hit in small specialised stores. The Bernstein family chose wood as the main material because it embodies classic children’s toys such as dollhouses, blocks and cubes, cars, and rocking chairs.
Doug connects most of his company’s success story with Amazon, “It gave us incredible opportunities and has become a major factor in the growth of our company. Cooperation with Amazon helped generate more than 100,000 reviews of environmentally friendly toys in the early stages, and it launched our “engine”. Our early entry into the Amazon market is probably the reason why our old toy models are still sold very well. ”
In August 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued an unprecedented resolution, recommending pediatricians start writing recommendations for playing games without predetermined restrictions for children. Medical professionals advise parents to buy simpler toys, such brands as Melissa & Doug. In the AAP report, Choosing the Right Toys for Little Children in the Digital Age, the medical organisation recommended parents avoid electronic toys because “the basic elements of such toys (for example, lights and sounds) distract from social activity.”
The success of Melissa & Doug shows that the demand for classic toys, in which there is no noise or new technologies, is still there. The company is an opponent of technological elements in the production of toys, conducting their research on the impact of digital technology on children. Last year, they collaborated with Gallup, conducting a study on how children do not have enough free time to play. “The research results demonstrated negative consequences of using new technologies in the production of toys. We already know for sure that the excessive introduction of technological elements into toys, especially for children under five years old, has negative consequences, and we want to help promote this research. ”
We look forward to meeting the new Melissa & Doug collection at the City of Toys stand in September!