Women Studies 320

1. Timeline Factors

GoldieBlox “spinning machine” for girls ages 6+.

Goldieblox are here! The Goldieblox website describes themselves as a line of construction toys that come with a storybook, the female engineer character (Goldie) and some kind of device, such as the “spinning machine” with a pegboard, figurines, washers, cranks, ribbons, blocks, etc. to help the lucky girl (or boy) make their own belt drive. The belt drive is created when the ribbon is wrapped strategically around the cranks in any design the child chooses to create a certain affect, such as by making the dog figurine chase its tail. (2012).

A female engineer student, Debbie Sterling, from Stanford University created the toy after discovering that there were very few female students in her program. After seeing that 89% of her fellow students were males, she realized that there was a great need for female role models to get young girls interested in math and science careers. In response to this revelation Sterling founded GoldieBlox, Inc. in 2012. The goal of GoldieBlox is to “nurture a generation of girls who are more confident, courageous and tech-savvy, giving them a real opportunity to contribute to the progress made by engineers in our society.” (Goldieblox, 2013).

GoldieBlox tracked their progress from beginning to present on their blog (GoldieBlox, the blog). To get started, Sterling conducted research on gender inequality before creating her first prototype. It wasn’t an easy task, however, as she went to many toys stores to learn about what toys are already available, tried to find children to play with to learn about her audience. She even posted a craigslist ad for free babysitting, but didn’t get responses for it. She even bought toy after toy to learn about how kids play now. When she finally decided on what she wanted to design, she, with the help of her sister and her husband, created the product by first sketching it out with crayons. She went through multiple sketches and finally had her first prototype, which had to keep getting remade to make the holes in the pegboard just the right size. (2012).

Once the prototype was complete, Sterling and her team were ready to start marketing. Sterling attended entrepreneur conferences, such as SOCAP and StartingBloc where she spoke in a public forum and inspired many people to support her mission. Sterling also set up “family tests” in which she met with families to see how the kids played with the new toy. She also created a Kickstarter account, which is a website that launches people’s projects in order to get funding. (Sterling, 2012). According to Sterling’s profile on the Kickstarter website, this allowed her to find 5, 519 backers (supporters) that pledged (funded) a total of $285, 881 towards her project (2012).

Now, GoldieBlox is really getting started! According to their website, Sterling states that she has been published in over 70 publications so far, including Forbes magazine. She attended the World Maker Fair and won three awards. This gave the company’s marketing a boost, but they still had work to do. Since it is a brand new toy, GoldieBlox, Inc. had to work on establishing their credibility. They posted product videos on YouTube, created a website, a Facebook account, and a blog. They were invited for interviews on cable shows and attended the New York Toy Fair in 2013. (2012). In the spring of 2013, they were awarded the Parent’s Choice award for their exciting new product (Crawford, 2013).

Their journey continues on their blog as they venture onto actually mass producing and selling their product. After their development was finished in the beginning of 2013, toys began to ship in March, 2013, but this wasn’t without bumps in the road. They hired a local U.S. shipping company to ship their toys to 170+ retail stores nationwide and to the personal orders that were submitted on their website. The shipping company was well versed in sending large orders, but fell behind on individual orders, which lead to a lag in shipping time. Sterling and her team eventually began to pack and ship them out themselves. Luckily, all the production and shipping was conducted in the U.S. so they didn’t have far to travel. They are urging any customers to email them their address if they haven’t received their shipment yet. Currently, GoldieBlox, Inc. is developing more toys to add to their line and all purchases can be made on their website (goldieblox.com) and user support can be provided through email by contacting service@goldieblox.com. Because this is a brand new product, recycling strategies have yet to be announced. (2013). GoldieBlox is on a fast-track train to the future, so climb aboard.

This is the original prototype of the “Spinning Machine” created by Debra Sterling and provided on her Kickstarter profile.

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