The team at educational building toy company Click-A-Brick say they are pleased to see startup toy companies using crowdfunding sites to create more toys that teach science, technology, engineering and math to children — especially girls — to fill a void left by the major toy companies.
In a recent Bloomberg article, Amanda Albright wrote that the push for startup toy companies to use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to get their toys on store shelves is being fueled by millennials who grew up with gendered toys, but who don’t want their own children to have to deal with rigid gender lines in toys. A spokesperson for Kickstarter said the site has seen a new campaign started nearly every week for toys that that are meant to encourage or teach young girls STEM skills.
The Toy Industry Association has also taken note, with spokesperson Adrienne Appell saying: “Crowdfunding is definitely a trend we’ve been seeing in the last couple of years. It’s allowing new ideas to permeate the market.”
This is all good news to the team behind educational building toy Click-A-Brick, who have been long-time advocates of small toy companies innovating to fill in the gaps in the marketplace that larger toy companies are unwilling to.
“We’re thrilled that small toy companies are finding ways to enter the market and shake things up,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder Jason Smith said. “It’s no secret that big toy companies can get pretty comfortable with just making small tweaks to their established product lines and relying more on licensing deals than innovation, so it’s great to see these small companies finding ways to get started and get their products to consumers. And we love that these new toys are addressing needs that aren’t currently being met in the marketplace.”
The pair concede that while innovation is taking place among the larger toy companies — such as the recent toys-to-life movement — there is still a dearth of STEM-related toys that are meant to specifically draw girls into the field and this is where sites like Kickstarter can help small companies at least get started.
“The beauty of what’s going on today is that people don’t have to be satisfied with what they see in the toy aisles or online,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder and Brand Manager Georg de Gorostiza said. “If they have an idea, they can take to a crowdfunding site and see if there are others who are interested in their idea. There’s that old saying about necessity being the mother of invention and for a lot of the toys that are being started via crowdfunding, they were started because they are necessary to get more girls interested in STEM subjects and the big toy companies are largely sleeping on this. The way we see it, the more smaller toy companies that start to fill this obvious gap, the better.”
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