- Craft Punch
- Craft Kits
no tie-ins. no touch screens. no apps.
I love these princess slippers!
\"Will you wear them to play costumes ? \"up?
Asked her mother. “Yes. ”Esther’s 9-year-
Her sister, Sidler, looked sad and offered to say she would not do so.
\"Well, Sidler, you\'re too old for this toy,\" her mother said . \".
\"You are not the target market.
\"It\'s a Sunday night, after dinner, in the informal
Melissa and Doug Bernstein\'s home testing lab, the toy companies Melissa and Doug, and the signature to decorate all their products.
Their company will have its 25 th birthday on August.
The wrong century of Times
In the era when big companies dominate the industry, make toys with a variety of batteries, digital gimmicks or film ties --
In ins, the Bernstein people have been making money in wooden puzzles, color mats, building blocks, trains and simple clothing (
Police, Princess, Pirate).
They hatch many of their ideas by watching the children play --
It\'s usually six of their own children.
They rarely do public relations and do not advertise in magazines, radio and television.
They don\'t put coupons on Sunday newspaper inserts.
Industry analysts say they don\'t rely on big shocks, but a steady stream of changes in classic toys, mainly for children under the age of 5.
Nevertheless, their business is growing in double digits every year, from $0. 325 billion in 2008 to an estimated $100 million this year (
And 650 of 200 employees)
According to a toy company executive familiar with the company\'s operations.
Such figures have made their toy business a medium-size enterprise, which analysts say is less and less today.
In this industry, three Giants
Mattel, Hasbro, Lego
Sales are about $14 billion, or about the third largest in revenue for toy companies around the world.
The Bernstein family is still a long way from their days of driving Chevrolet Malibu, which Mr. Malibu owns.
The father of Bernstein is responsible for the delivery of the product.
Grew up in West Port, Connecticut.
A rich community.
Bernstein, 50, thinks he lives in 900-square-foot house.
Now, their home has 36,000 square feet, one of the largest houses in the same township
Carved stone and antique ceiling beams
Not to mention the bowling alley.
Court gym and video arcade.
But as ladies, they are
Bernstein, 47, said he was very upset.
In such an industry, they face challenges, like many other industries, which are being rewritten in the age of technology.
Overall sales of toys declined.
Some professional retailers are closed. Low-
Cost manufacturing has commercialized many products.
But the surge in internet sales meant that after years of relationships with specialty stores, the Bernstein couple had to adapt to online sales and marketing.
It is vital that the rise of the top
Technology entertainment has changed the way children play.
The popularity of apps and video games has soared;
On Amazon, you can even buy an iPod stand to accompany the potty coach.
This phenomenon can cause conflicts between parents.
Should they satisfy children\'s desires for mobile apps or video games?
Or limit screen time and provide something simpler and more nostalgic that reminds people of real or imaginary childhood?
Traditional and high-end topics
Technology toys are especially annoying. Bernstein.
\"When you use a computer or an app, it gives you all the information you need,\" she said . \".
\"This is a completely passive experience.
But she thought she knew what the appeal was.
\"Parents are very afraid of the child saying \'I am bored \'.
It\'s synonymous with \"I\'m a bad parent\", so they never make the child bored, which is equal to frustration, so the kids don\'t get to the point where they have to dig deeper and figure out what to do.
Many toy companies have joined the market segment of Melissa & Doug, and the simple products of competitors are designed for entertainment --
But not too much.
Companies like Haba, making blocks and wooden toys from sustainable forests, or Alex, make art and crafts for \"active fun.
\"But few companies can reach Melissa and Doug without facing tough decisions: Do you continue to work hard to expand your business and move into bigger retailers, or do you sell to a major toy manufacturer?
A few years ago, the Bernstein family sold a majority stake to a private investment group to help them grow.
They have long been selling goods at toy \"R\" Us, but are expanding their business at other large retailers such as Barnes & Noble.
Some suppliers complain that companies can now behave more like a mass Company.
Not like a mother. and-pop operation.
It is a challenge to maintain a responsive atmosphere for small companies.
The other is how to satisfy their ambition to expand the old line.
In a world full of touch screens and interactive entertainment, old-fashioned toys.
One day in May, the Bernstein family visited their home.
On the back steps overlooking the vast backyard
Tennis court, pool, kids club-Mr.
Bernstein noticed a stone compass inlaid and they asked the contractor to dig and reinstall it twice, first because the direction was closed and second because the stone was not lined up.
The couple suffered from serious perfectionism.
Bernstein acknowledged this, and he talked happily in the usual full footage. Mrs.
Bernstein took a step.
Arms crossed, brows locked, mostly silent.
Then we entered the toy room and her mood suddenly changed.
There is a game kitchen in the room filled with products from Melissa and Doug.
Earlier, when she filled the kitchen with bins full of fake fruits and vegetables and strong pans pots of wooden pots, she saw no good fake cereal boxes or canned food.
So she started to do something, and the company recently launched a canned grocery store for Melissa and Doug with the label \"ketchup\" and \"peas and carrots\" on it \".
\"One of our hottest things is a group of cans,\" she said loudly, her eyes lit up and the creases of concern disappeared.
\"We really got it done.
She admitted that the trip made her anxious and her mood relaxed.
The couple has never been interviewed for too long.
Bernstein said she was worried that the wealth of their houses would make them look greedy or driven by money.
More fundamentally, madam.
She is easily anxious and doesn\'t like to feel out of control, says Bernstein.
When I was a child, I was in Boulder, Colorado.
Then in Westport, she said, she was in pain, \"too much loneliness to endure.
She described herself as \"Creative Maladjustment\", anxious without eating, and became a anorexia patient in the seventh grade.
In college, she said, she stopped eating and dropped to 82 pounds.
To comfort herself, she wrote poems, sewn clothes for her doll, worked in arts and crafts, played and created music.
She said creating things \"made me lose what I could have done \".
\"I should have taken serious medicine, according to all reports.
I might be upset.
She added: \"It made me very happy when I created it.
I can comfort myself. ”Mr.
Bernstein is more cheerful, but also nervous.
When he was a child, he played outside.
Tag and ball-dawn to dusk.
He is the son of a famous school director and guidance consultant, a class clown and a graduate speaker of his high school. Always hard-
Job and competition, he ran for student positions at the University of Connecticut bookstore board
Not even the student union.
Walk around the dormitory and distribute leaflets and give political speeches. Mr.
Bernstein said that he had never tasted so much wine, wanted to know his ingenuity, and was worried that he would enjoy it to the extent that he liked everything else.
\"It\'s hard for me not to do too much,\" he said . \".
They were Mr. by their parents.
Bernstein, 22, recently graduated from a marketing company, 20 years old Melissa Lando, is still a student at Duke University.
They succeeded immediately. Ms.
After graduating from college, Landao became an analyst at Morgan Stanley, but she hated it.
On June 1988, she and Mr.
Bernstein decided to start a company while traveling to Berkshire.
\"That\'s what we said \'. \"
\"We do our own thing, either perish or die.
\"They spent their $40,000 savings on their first product, a VHS tape on which they invited the children to sing, dance and play kazoo together,Bernstein.
They sell the tape store to the store and it\'s hard work to know that selling the product you have to show.
Their next product is a \"fuzzy puzzle\" of a farm scene with textures, like a carpet, designed to provide a tactile experience.
This is one of the most typical products of Melissa and Doug.
Their role has hardened and he has her thoughts on toys in terms of business and organization.
Push each other to support each other\'s vicious work habits.
Their philosophy is inextricably linked to technology, partly because their bread is cursed. and-Butter products.
Domestic retail sales of toys fell 15% to $21 from 2004.
According to Richard goldlieb, a senior toy industry analyst, it was 5 billion in 2012.
One reason is the rise of multimedia entertainment such as video games and mobile applications.
Analysts say it is almost impossible to link dollar numbers to the growth of this entertainment, as it covers so many categories.
It is clear that the time spent with these products is surging.
Even for Melissa and Doug\'s target markets, this is true for children under 5.
A 2011 study conducted by Common Sense Media found that 39% of children aged 2 to 4 used smartphones, tablets or other devices to play games and watch videos, 12% of the population uses computers every day, and 24% use computers at least once a week.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit and monitor the screening time of children under 2 years of age, and notes that \"in the first few years, the child\'s brain has developed rapidly, children learn by interacting with people instead of screens.
\"However, the proposal made in 2011 is less stringent than the organization\'s 1999 call for a real Ban on screen time for children of that age group.
This call has been softened because the organization believes that the widespread presence of screens makes a complete ban unrealistic.
There are also business side effects of using technology for children: it creates competition for their time.
\"Game oversupply\" is his point of view.
It\'s called out by goldlieb.
More choices now.
It\'s usually relatively cheap, like 99-cent apps.
Over time, he said, traditional toy manufacturers may find that as parents see their children spend more time on interactive media, while their toys pile up dust,
\"At some point this will catch up in dollars . \"Gottlieb said.
\"The parents say, \'Why do my children have these toys?
\"It\'s a problem for Melissa and Doug,\" he said.
At the moment, part of Melissa and Doug\'s appeal is as an antidote to all screen times, if not a replacement.
Parents can buy a plastic game table with buttons for their children to play songs or make miniature light shows, but they can also buy an old one
Jigsaw puzzles or wooden trucks on old-fashioned floors. Dr.
Lindy Fox, a dermatologist who recently shopped at the Ambassador toy store in San Francisco, has this impulse.
She likes Melissa and Doug toys.
Especially the puzzle --
Say they\'re good.
Can be a collector\'s item.
But they won\'t jump out when she\'s 3. year-
Old son Zuri thinks they are a bit boring and prefer \"fancy\" toys, she said.
\"He\'s not a child --
I have never seen a child.
When she talked about Melissa and Doug toys, she said, \"who went to the toy store and said, \'Oh, let me get it. \'.
She said she bought the toys almost to \"resist the digital toys\"for-
Like buying healthy organic food, you are a plaything.
\"The problem with Melissa and Doug toys is that they encourage you to be creative, which is great, but they are also great, specifically, it\'s relatively singledimensional.
\"Kids have to bring in extra dimensions, creative sparks, which is why Nicole Limburg is a place to stay --at-
The mother of four children in Akron, a suburb of Ohio, is a fan of Melissa and Doug.
\"You don\'t just press the button and hear the noise,\" she said . \". Ms.
The children in Limburg have different tastes: The youngest, 4 years old, likes simple wooden toys; the 7-year-
Old girl doll who loves Americaand the 10-year-
The old man likes to play outside. As for the 8-year-
Old, well, he doesn\'t know enough about the Wii and the iPod.
She said they watched more TV than she wanted.
If allowed, they will sit in front of it for a few hours.
Sometimes she will let them go if she needs to wash clothes or take care of the house.
The Bernstein couple talk about these challenges with their own children and the four of them live at home (ages 5 to 10)
Two more in college. ages 18 and 19).
For children, parents put a timer on the computer and they started in an hour.
But there are many apartments in their house.
Flat-screen TV including one next to the poolpool viewing. Still, Mrs.
The choices didn\'t stop her children from saying, \"Mom, we\'re bored,\" Bernstein said.
\"It\'s much easier to give up and give in,\" she said . \".
Her own childhood tells her that creativity is a pleasure.
\"They said, \'What do I do?
What do I do now?
They are almost in panic because they don\'t know how to appease themselves.
Toys are by definition a form of entertainment, and Melissa and Doug\'s items include many tasks --
Specific games and projects, such as coloring books with implicit rules, or including everything.
These are not toys that you must have imagination.
The Bernstein family said their primary motivation was to make compelling toys instead of building an empire.
But they have taken positive steps to build their market.
Over the past six years, they have made 22 acquisitions or joint ventures aimed at developing or expanding the toy market made by small companies.
In 2010, they sought and reached an agreement to sell most of the company\'s shares to Berkshire Partners, a private investment firm. Mr.
Bernstein declined to say how much money they received and did not say exactly how much they sold.
He said they took action to move into new areas like a new baby
Toy line and copy their efforts overseas.
Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of Time magazine.
The story of Melissa and Doug is notable because it shows \"you can take a company out of one place and plant only one toy at a time,\" Com said \".
\"They didn\'t come out with mutant turtles or Power Rangers in their teens,\" he said . \".
But he also said that the company could grow faster and faster if it authorized people or themes.
He pointed out that Lego had avoided the license, but in the end it accepted Star Wars and \"exploded.
\"You want to take this thing to a new level of $0. 4 billion or $0. 5 billion . \"Silver said.
\"You have to get active and do something you don\'t do.
You can\'t say: we don\'t do promotion;
We do not authorize.
But that\'s what the Bernstein family said.
They don\'t use licenses and treat them as short licenses
Rely on long-term growth strategies that are short-lived and popular for specific roles. E. J.
Whelan, managing partner at Berkshire Partners, said he \"fell in love\" with the Melissa and Doug brands, in part because he realized how many of his daughter\'s toys were
He said he and his partners had looked closely at whether the toy industry would move in another direction, towards high technology, and decided to provide enough space for simpler toys.
If they want, the Bernstein couple can go in another direction. Mr.
The company received multiple emails, Bernstein said.
Weekly Mail from major toy companies looking to work together in Melissa and on the road
Video games or other media.
\"Then it will be sold out . \"Bernstein said.
Located in Melissa and Doug corporate headquarters in Wilton, Connecticut. , Mrs.
There\'s an open one in Bernstein.
Air working spaces, rectangular areas filled with prototypes and other work in progress.
When she pointed to the shelf on the wall, her face passed another expression of contemplation, which was less worried and more eager than before.
\"This is the wall of shame and despair,\" she said.
There are dozens of toys on those shelves.
Puzzles, plush toys, wooden piggy bank, etc.
They have the look and feel of Melissa and Doug products, but they are one of the toys that compete 25% with consumers. Mrs.
Bernstein admitted that some people did not give much comment on the company\'s innovation.
After all, there were puzzles, sand toys and wooden trains long before Melissa and Doug appeared.
Even some retailers who don\'t want to be named because they don\'t want to break their relationship with the company say it\'s usually based on the idea of someone else\'s success. Mrs.
Both views are correct, according to Bernstein: companies do build on successful ideas and innovate.
The key, she says, is to find \"Classic Game modes\" and \"make them more attractive in a variety of ways \".
She described watching her children play in the sandbox, pretending to make food with Old Spice jars;
From this observation, a series of sand-baked toys, such as a cupcake making kit, appeared.
Clothing always exists.
Melissa and Doug\'s innovation is the role of development-
Like the costumes of the film director, she says, it comes with a megaphone and a script.
She said she asked herself: \"What are the things that kids really like to do, but there is no tool to make it a totally engaging activity?
\"Some professional retailers have also complained that the extensive distribution of Melissa and Doug has cut their business, but they are still the majority of the company\'s 15,000 dealers.
Other retailers are raving about the company.
\"People think that what they do is education, quality and long term,\" said Sharon dimineco, CEO and founder of Learning Express, a chain of 140 stores, melissa and Doug have been rated as \"suppliers of the year\" for the last 8 years \". Ms.
DiMinico has worked with the Bernstein people almost from the beginning and he has seen how they complement each other.
\"Doug is like a big kid,\" she said . \".
\"Look at the house.
His stamps are everywhere.
But \"Melissa is the driving force;
She\'s an inspiration for ideas. ”Mrs.
Of course, Bernstein is also helpful.
Morning after the market
Test princess slippers on daughter Esther and she comes to work with notes.
She made a straight line for product manager Donna Thompson, and her desk was filled with prototypes of crayons, headwear and clothing.
\"I know it\'s late . \"Bernstein said.
\"But the slippers look slippery.
Her daughter Sidler thinks they look like bedroom slippers, she added. ”Ms.
Thompson accepted the comments from her boss and explained that in terms of safety, her team felt that if it was placed on the sole that was too sticky, it could catch and cause the child to travel.
As for the look of the slippers, Madam
Thompson pointed out that they have received positive comments in the usual market --
Test: the product being developed is sent to the network of more than 20 families.
A family of graphic designer Heather candulo from Melissa & Doug.
In this growing company with about 2,500 products
Thompson\'s next observation seems to be the conversation.
\"Heather\'s children like them very much.