Reviews & Giveaways

Facts About Fisher-Price {Behind the Brand}

 

Facts About Fisher-PriceRecently I had the fantastic opportunity to visit Fisher-Price Headquarters in NY, with some fellow #FisherPriceMoms. Going into the trip, I had no idea that my experience would be as great as it was. Literally, I was blown away and in the process learned Facts About Fisher-Price.

The brand may invoke of memories of childhood, friends or toys which were passed down generations.

Yet, let’s go deeper behind that iconic logo, shall we?

Listed in no particular order, here are the highlights of what I learned about ‘Fisher-Price’. This might get long-ish, but bear with me, you’ll want to read this.

1) The Early Beginnings

In 1930 Irving L. Price was the mayor of East Aurora, New York. Looking for new business ventures for the village, he approached toy industry veteran Herman G. Fisher. With Irving’s wife {Margaret Evans Price} and a silent partner {Helen Schelle} they started one of the world’s most well-known toy companies. The first toys were made of all wood, and were sold around New York {the toy delivery truck driven by Mr. Fisher}.

Facts About Fisher-Price

“Fisher-Price manufactured 16 different toys during its first year of operation. This line included Granny Doodle and Doctor Doodle, brightly colored wooden ducks that, when pulled, opened their beaks and quacked. During this time, Fisher-Price made its toys out of Ponderosa pine, a splinter-resistant wood. The wooden pieces were then joined by heavy steel parts and decorated with non-toxic lithographs and finishes, resulting in a uniquely durable and appealing product.”

2) Nostalgia

It was jaw-dropping to walk the halls of headquarters and through the heritage center, and look at the entire toy-line of Fisher-Price – from the 1930 until today. I had the toys growing up, and so did you. Yet when you see them now, you are carried away to your childhood years….

… the smile on your 5 year old self on Christmas morning. Yours and your siblings’ laughter as you spot that toy you knew you had once, but had somehow forgotten over the years.

I went there remembering a handful of toys that I had when I was young, yet there was even more that I had forgotten I had, until they were again in front of me. Like a freight train, years came flooding back. And it was awesome!

All of us that visited HQ, were in constant “OMG, I had that!” or “I loved this toy as a kid…”. These phrases were heard over and over. And over.

Some of us stood there motionless staring, some smiled with fondness, some shared stories of years past. Some took it all in and had tears in their eyes.

It’s true that Fisher-Price has made toys for decades, ones which any person could recognize. Yet walking those halls made me realize just how many kids {and I mean millions} played, learned and made memories with a Fisher-Price toy.

Jaw dropping, yes. But also an experience that I will never forget.

Ok, and it also left me desperately wanting my old toys back **stomping feet**

3) Idea, Design, Production – the road to a new toy

This is one toy that will soon hit toy shelves {just in time for Christmas}. I introduce, The Ballcano.

Here we were taken from idea to conception and then to final production. It’s astonishing to see pieces of cardboard from the idea, how and why it was altered along the way – and then the final reveal of a new toy.

Taking approximately 18 months, so much is taken into account right down to specific colors chosen. Not to mention the astounding safety testing done {of which I have to keep secret though, sorry}. It’s truly remarkable!

4) It’s Child’s Play

The company tests new product ideas in its on-site Play Laboratory. Yet, it’s ordinary local kids that do the testing. In fact, many changes to toys or new toy ideas come from kids themselves. Since its opening in 1961, more than 50,000 children have been granted status as “Official Toy Testers”. Sorry, no photos for this one, there were kids at play!

5) Parents Have Their Say

Fisher-Price hosts ~1,000 parents {yet mostly moms} at headquarters each year, to ask them what they think about new toys and children’s products. Though they also seek other info from parents around the world, having them do live round-table discussions is priceless. We sat in on one ‘Mom Panel‘ and it was interesting and great to see that parents have their opinions heard.

5) ‘Made the Box’

Think of this next time you gaze upon a Fisher-Price package, and lay eyes on the child featured on that box:

Each child depicted is a local resident of East Aurora, and they are darned proud of this. When a child is needed ‘for a box’, whosever child matches the criteria can have a photo shoot – possibly earning a spot right in Fisher-Price history.

Talking with Mom’s of East Aurora, the conversation always gravitates to ‘making the box’, almost a tradition and goal of every parent in the area. A common phrase could be, ‘when my oldest first made the box…”, and it’s something that I had NO CLUE of!

Not just a ‘child model’, each featured child stems from a family dream passed down generations. And, many of those kids that do ‘make the box’ were/are also official testers in the Play Laboratory as well.

It makes me smile to see parents so involved with the company, and see a whole sense of community between the residents and the brand.

From hosting frequent parades with giant replicas of their original wooden toys to the nationally accredited on-site child care facility, I saw that Fisher-Price cares as much about the kids and residents in their area {and beyond} as much as they do about the toys.

The company started as a small family and friend venture, yet ‘family’ and community is still so much apart of the brand.

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Disclosure: I’m part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation
with being a #FisherPriceMoms. The opinions on this blog are my own.

 

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21 Comments

  1. I get nostalgic just looking through your pictures of vintage Fisher Price toys. I loved the telephone as a kid! I’m hoping to see them come out with more toys made of wood, just like their first ones were. Wouldn’t it be great if they came out with limited edition retro toys? I’d buy them!

    1. Ahhh, Diana – they have them!!
      You can find original-looking toys like the chatter telephone and record player in stores, made to look just like the originals.
      Isn’t that great news?!

  2. Oh my gosh all those wonderful toys!! I remember that blue chime ball from, well, too long ago:) Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I hope one day my girls look back at their childhood toys and have the same kind of fond memories that I do. FisherPrice Rocks.

  3. Incredible! I love this post and love learning more about Fisher-Price. I had most of those classic toys! Brings back wonderful memories!

  4. I used to live in East Aurora NY it’s a beautiful, small historic town and they are definitely proud of Fisher Price. It’s awesome at Christmas time when they take their giant vintage toys out and locals go by there with all their Christmas lights 🙂 its awesome. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Oh LIz, my heart just swelled, that would be an incredible time to be there!
      It really is a pleasant town, which just felt so comfortable and ‘homey’. Loved my visit!

  5. Fisher Price is a fantastic company. Crazy to look through the history of the company. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Love the post, and so happy to have you as part of the Fisher-Price family, Tammi!

    1. Thanks Riza, I’m extremely proud to be apart of it!
      And, I’m thrilled that you came – always a pleasure to see you!

    1. Isn’t it great to learn the ‘face’ behind the brand? I’ve always loved their products for babies and preschoolers, but now I have a deeper sense of ‘YES’ for the company.

  7. How fun! I loved our fisher-price toys as a kid and still do! That would be so neat to see the whole collection!

  8. I love that Fisher-Price is truly a brand that thinks of kids from safety to design to packaging. It’s not just about the price point but about the child experience!

  9. Those are some interesting facts, especially that local kids are on the box and kids are testers. Fisher-Price is an iconic brand associated with toys and I’m more impressed with them after reading this post.

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