The couple, owners of toy company Melissa & Doug, are succeeding in keeping a lot of “ bored” children of their Smartphones through their rapidly growing range of arts and crafts.
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Melissa and Doug Bernstein, have been the owners of the Wilton, Connecticut based toy company which they called simply Melissa & Doug for more than a quarter of a century, initially producing educational video tapes, and later transferring the production into wooden toys suitable for children of all ages.
However in recent years, with the arrival of the Smartphone and tablets on the scene, bringing with them a seemingly endless supply of almost addictive game applications, Melissa Bernstein decided that her company would make their contribution to returning the more traditional aspects of entertainment into the typical 21st-century child’s life.
That’s the reason why Melissa & Doug took the bold decision to introduce a range of what they described as user-friendly children’s arts and crafts kits, and with considerable success.
In their range of arts and crafts kits, Melissa & Doug have succeeded in finding and a happy medium in designing and producing interesting kits which are both sturdy and interesting to play with, and, especially appealing to parents, because they are generally silent and totally necessary free of messy ingredients.
Melissa & Doug, who manufacture a range of more than 2, 000 different wooden toys and have succeeded in introducing at least 200 new items annually, moving into arts and crafts has proved to be a wise move for them also. Since their foundation, the company’s turnover has increased by at least 10% every year, and is now expected to reach an estimated $350 million in 2014, employing more than one thousand people throughout the world.
Whilst wooden toys make up for around a third of the company’s sales, from a standing start arts and crafts averaged around 20% of total turnover, doubling what it was even five years ago. Currently, according to Melissa Bernstein, the company’s sales of sales arts and crafts have been outstripping that for wooden toys by more than three to one, in the last financial year, with anticipation being that sales of arts and crafts will have overtaken that of wooden toys by 2017, with that tradition backed up by Melissa & Doug’s plans to introduce about 60 new craft kits this year, twice the number of what was an average year not so long ago.
While children, even from the age of five and upwards, maybe still reluctant to give up on their applications and Smartphones, the initiative is coming from the appearance parents who look upon the traditional world of low-tech as a means of providing a productive, thought-provoking and healthier form of independent play that is eminently capable of keeping the children amused and the customer satisfied.