MR.WOOD X CANDYLAB TOYS
You’re only as young or as old as you feel. And in some ways, some of us remain children forever.
Truth is, I still kinda am that little boy I used to be. As a young boy, growing up in a concrete jungle, I spent most of my spare time playing games. And we used to have A LOT of time. It was my universe. An imaginary world full of cops, Indians, cowboys, and car racers.
I recall having favourite toys, and some super-favourite ones, too. And then there were the truly special toys, toys with immense, incalculable value. They had their special place on the shelf, and I took superb care of them. Lending those toys had its strict rules: the Matchbox Kenworth truck model could only be borrowed for a week, in exchange for (at least) two toy cars. In hindsight I can see how these exchanges, all the lending and borrowing, playing together, and the trust have been forming my social behaviour and thinking.
When I’m trying to create something new, the little boy inside of me wakes up a little. Maybe that is why I got intrigued by the story of an American start-up company Candylab Toys. Candylab made a decision to follow the classic American tradition by making wooden toy cars. One of the things that got me the most was the fact that these people had no previous experience in toy production. These were just enthusiasts. Or grown-up kids with a dream. They did not inherit a factory, did not have a decades-long tradition to build on, they simply started from the ground, armed with a desire to create beautiful toys.
If you know a little something about production, you are well aware of how hard it is to make goods in large quantities. I also know – based on experience – that wooden toys don’t really attract a lot of big investors. That’s why the number of original toy producers in our country is close to a zero. But let’s get back to Candylab.
The boys crowdfunded their efforts via the famous online platform Kickstarter. Their first campaign with a promise of seven wooden cars was a success. A huge success. Here are the numbers:
Campaign dates: Aug 12 2013 - Sep 16 2013
Duration: 34 days
Target: 20 000 USD
Backers: 1219 enthusiasts
Amount raised: 102 924 USD
The production itself took place in China, which is not surprising. It was all well executed and finalised. All the backers got their toys in time. Designed in Brooklyn, made in Ningbo, China.
So the boys, energised by their success, tuned up the logistics and production process and started another campaign, with a slightly more ambitious goal and a promise of five new models. The numbers speak volumes:
Campaign dates: Apr 2 2015 - May 25 2015
Duration: 52 days
Target: 30 000 USD
Backers: 1177 enthusiasts
Amount raised: 118 781 USD
Again, a great success, everything runs smoothly, everybody’s happy.
And here we get to the third campaign, which piqued my interest the most. The guys decided to move the production from China to the US. Most of the funds raised in the campaign were used towards kickstarting their own production. I think the reasons for this are clear.
There is nothing inherently wrong with making stuff in China, assuming that you have complete control over the production process, or that you’re willing to accept some fluctuations in quality. Not that our Chinese brothers cannot produce high quality goods, but you simply have to pay handsomely for quality – even in China. So the company first made their calculations, and then they made a crucial decision: Lets make it at home! Home sweet home. “Made in the USA” was their dream. Boom! Here are the numbers:
Campaign dates: Jul 15 2016 - Aug 26 2016
Duration: 41 days
Target: 50 000 USD (see how the confidence grew?)
Backers: 1113 enthusiasts
Amount raised: 122 264 USD
Ok, that’s enough about the campaigns. I guess if you like the story, you can check out the current campaign for yourself.
Just a final thought. Imagine you want to produce something. Not something super techy and revolutionary; some cutting edge wifi bluetooth toilet paper holder/recycling machine with an operational system “Jupiter”. You just wanna make something simple, and this “simple something” miraculously becomes such a hit that which each new edition you make hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s beautiful. Admirable. The American Dream.
For me, a guy who not only sells products that I think are worth bringing onto our market, but who also makes his own things, this story is super motivational. It showcases that quality products still have their place, and people can appreciate them. They just need the right story.
Whether you decide to bring joy to your child or yourself by buying one of these beautiful cars at www.mrwoodshop.com you most certainly won’t regret it. The cars are really big, approx. 19 cm long, made of firm beech wood, with sturdy wheels. They have a special place at my shelf, just like in my childhood. They remind me of courage and perseverance, of a need of mutual help, trust, and a respect for a job well done.