Toy makers from across the globe attended the International Toy Fair this week in New York City, and some of the vendors didn’t have to ship their goods too far.
Many of the companies manufacture toys right here in the U.S. And while producing toys domestically hasn’t always been easy, business owners say it’s becoming an increasingly smart business decision.
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Here’s what 7 of the made-in-America toy companies had to say:
1. American Plastic Toys
Toys: Seasonal toys, play sets, plastic tricycles
Manufactures in: Michigan
“Today, I’m getting thank you notes literally from consumers across the U.S. who are shocked when they found out that the product is made here in the U.S.,” says president John Gessert.
Gessert says manufacturing in the U.S. comes with plenty of advantages – especially for a seasonal business. (American Plastic’s bestsellers include sand pails and plastic tricycles.)
“The beauty of it is [that] if you offer sand pails from overseas, the sand pails are coming whether it’s nice weather or bad weather. With us, you know if things get hotter faster, or there is better spring weather, they can call us and say, ‘Can we get some more?’ And we can usually react,” says Gessert.
2. Snapo Toy Company
Toys: Plastic building blocks
Manufactures in: California
“It’s a challenge with pricing. People are looking for great value. But the fact is if you use technology that is currently available, there are ways to keep costs down and keep jobs here in the U.S. It’s a nice way to support a local community,” says co-owner Jon Kemmer.
Kemmer says customers are very aware of the made-in-America label.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from retailers and parents. They really appreciate the fact we’re making every effort we can to keep the manufacturing in the country,” says Kemmer.
3. Little Pim
Toy: Language learning videos for children under 6
Manufactures in: Pennsylvania and Washington
“It’s really important to us to have high-quality products that moms can trust. Our products are going into the hands of very young children, and they might suck on the edge of that box. We want to make sure that’s a soy-based ink that doesn’t have any toxins in it. And we feel a high level of trust with American manufacturers,” says founder Julia Pimsleur.
4. Yamie Chess
Toy: Math-focused chess game and coloring book concept
Manufactures in: Michigan
“It’s actually more affordable for a new game to manufacture in the U.S. when you look at it in terms of international shipping costs. The costs of importing materials … it’s cheaper to source within the U.S. and it can be done affordably,” says CEO Tunde Reid-Kapo.
5. Maui Toys
Toy: Hula hoops, foam noodles
Manufactures in: Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina
“Across the board, prices are very important to my customers. They’re not going to buy just because they’re made in America … I can deliver at the cost they want [and] I can deliver when they want …I’m still the low cost leader even though I’m making it in the U.S.,” says Senior Vice President of Marketing Chad Gharring.
6. Buffalo Games
Toy: Puzzles, card games
Manufactures in: New York
“Our largest retailer is Wal-Mart, and they able to place orders on a weekly basis and we are able to manage them very nimbly,” says general manager Nagendra Raina.
7. Family and Party Games
Toy: Board games, card games
Manufactures in: Indiana
“[The made-in-America label] is something we didn’t really put on our boxes early on. And now we slap it on proudly, because we notice Americans caring more about buying American,” says founder Eric Poses.