GoldieBlox isn’t a household name yet … but it’s well on its way. Thanks to the Intuit Small Business Big Game competition, the toymaker will be seen by millions this Super Bowl Sunday.
The contest gave small businesses the chance to compete for the opportunity of a lifetime: their very own Super Bowl commercial, at an average price this year of $4 million. Four finalists were named in early November and on Friday, Intuit announced that America voted GoldieBlox the winner.
The two-year-old Silicon Valley company is trying to take over the “pink aisle,” or the toy store area filled with dolls and playthings aimed at girls. Founder Debbie Sterling, an engineering grad out of Stanford, is creating toys aimed at building girls’ interest in engineering and technology at a young age.
“[T]o be able to spark that interest in engineering and math at a young age – that’s why I started my company, and I just can’t wait to see the impact it’s going to make,” says Sterling.
The Finalists Come to New York
While only GoldieBlox gets a Super Bowl-sized ad, the three other finalists say just being near the end zone has helped their businesses.
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“Since we were named to the top four, it’s been a complete whirlwind. We’ve gotten lots of great media attention, and the brand awareness for Locally Laid has just gone through the roof,” says Locally Laid co-owner Lucie Amundsen, whose pasture-raised egg company is based in Duluth, Minn.
The other finalists, dog-treat maker Barley Labs and all-natural compost company Dairy POOP, say the contest itself brought them new business opportunities.
“We’ve seen so much growth since the contest blew up and we were named in the top four. Now we have 20 retailers pick us up in six different states around the country,” says Barley Labs co-owner Theresa Chu. Barley Labs, which makes dog treats from the barley leftover from the beer-making process, is based in Durham, N.C.
And while the runners-up would have loved to have their names in big lights, all of the entrepreneurs are staying positive.
“It would have meant the world to us. However, we know that just being a part of the competition with the work that Intuit has helped us with … seeing that growth has just been phenomenal for us,” says Dairy POOP co-owner Scott Den Hartog.
The Future for GoldieBlox
The finalists were coached by entrepreneur and reality star Bill Rancic, who made his name as the season-one winner of the Apprentice. Rancic, who helped develop the concept behind the Intuit competition, says the opportunity for GoldieBlox is truly Super Bowl-sized.
“I mean, this is a life changing event. And the amazing thing is: this could possibly have a generational effect. When you look at small businesses in America, a lot of times they’re passed on from one generation to the next to the next … I think if they use this momentum properly, it could have a generational effect on their family,” says Rancic.
As for Sterling, she’s ready to take advantage of the exposure – but she’s also savoring the moment.
“I felt like I was in a dream, I had to pinch myself. I started crying,” says Sterling, when she found out she had won.
"I felt this gravity of what this was. It wasn’t just about me and my company, but about girls around the world getting this message … It’s literally a dream come true,” she says.